The Democratic Party 2002
Thirty years ago, one could count the number of Texas Republican legislators on one's fingers and toes. Now it appears that the Democrats are heading in that direction.
The erosion of the Democratic Party began with the corruption that was associated with Ben Barnes and has continued nonstop for thirty years: having the greatest momentum in the 1990s.
The Democratic Party gained dominance in Texas after the Civil War. The Blacks were Republicans like Abraham Lincoln. In order to keep the Blacks subordinated, the Whites took over the Democratic Party and held a tight control over it until the 1970s. The odd thing is that the Republican Party has generally been the Party of business and if it not been for the Civil War business would have been associated with the Republican Party. But after the Civil War business had to become Democratic in Texas. For almost 100 years, the real elections in Texas were held in the Democratic Primary because Republicans could not win in the general elections.
During the last 10 years, the shift to the Republican Party has been dramatic. In 1994, the conservatives in Texas gravitated to the Newt Gingrich revolution. It was a reaction to Clinton's win over Bush in 1992. Many elected officials seeing the writing on the walls changed parties as opposed to retiring: Rick Perry, Phil Gramm being two of the most notable.
Since 1994, the Democratic Party has faced a steady and persistent erosion. Texas business is now solidly in the Republican Party and therefore in harmony with the way things are in Washington. Liberalism is basically dead for now in Texas and nationally people seems to be just a little to the left of center as reflected by the popular vote in the Presidential election last year.
In 1994, the Ann Richards leadership failed and George Bush took the governor's office in part due to his father's good name and in part due to the Gingrich revolution. In the subsequent elections, the Democrats have continued to suffer defeat after defeat and have not been able to capture any of the statewide offices. The Democratic Party has been unable regroup and reassert itself because there has been a lack of leadership. No one surfaced in the Democratic Party who had the strength of character and determination and a plan for stopping the Party defections.
In how many battles in the Civil War did a general stand firm or charge forward as his soldiers retreated and turn a battle around? The answer is more than a few. The Democratic Party has lacked a general or anyone with the necessary qualifications or determination to lead the Democratic Party since Ann Richards was defeated.
As a result of this lack of leadership, the ranks of the Democratic Party has been decimated year after year since 1994. The net result has been that after the 2000 census the Republicans redrew the legislative districts in their favor. This was nothing but a readjustment to six years of erosion in the Democratic Party. Texas has undeniably made a shift toward the Republican Party and the fault lies in six years of confusion and chaos in the Democratic Party which can only be attributed to a lack of leadership.
The best and the brightest that the Democratic Party had in 2000 was John Sharp. But John Sharp who emerged from the 1998 Democratic Primary 14 points ahead of Rick Perry in the Lt. Governor's race, lost the general election by 3 points; a shift of 17 points in six months.
In 2000, John Sharp was the best leader the Democratic Party had but he had suffered a huge loss to Rick Perry. When George Bush left for Washington, Rick Perry became governor. John Sharp had no chance of beating Perry in a governor's race as evidenced by his defeat at the hands of Perry in the lt. governor's race.
A plan emerged to find a Hispanic and run him for governor to shift the down ballot races. The theory was that a Hispanic Democratic candidate for governor would increase the Hispanic turnout and that turnout would be Democratic. This idea was first announced by John Sharp at the Hispanic caucus at the 2000 Democratic Convention.
The basic flaw in this theory was that it assumed Hispanics were like Blacks and would vote race over Party. The reality is that Hispanics unlike Blacks have merged into the White political system in Texas and so the upper income Hispanics vote Republican and the lower income Hispanics vote Democratic. If you bring 2 million Hispanic voters to the elections, you will not get 2 million Democratic votes.
The September 2001 Scripps Howard poll showed Perry with 37% of the Hispanic voters and Sanchez with 41%. In December the SH poll showed Perry with 25% and Sanchez with 31%.
The reality of these numbers shows that out of a million Hispanic voters you would only pick up 50,000 more Democrats than Republicans.
In addition, everyone refuses to talk about the fact that if a Hispanic is the Democratic candidate for governor, many of the White (other than "yellow dogs") Democrats will cross Party lines and vote for Rick Perry because he is White. So the net effect of running a Hispanic for governor will be a net loss of Democratic votes in the governor's race.
There are a few other things of note in the SH polls. The total Hispanic votes that went for Perry or Sanchez went from 78% in September to 56% in December. This is a 22% drop. Also the overall vote in September was 53% Perry to 23% Sanchez. In December it was 48% Perry and 18% Sanchez. This was a drop of 10% overall. The poll placed these drops in the undecided column.
The reality is that these voters did not become undecided, they went to WorldPeace. The May and September polls reported on a WorldPeace and Perry match up. In September it was Perry 53% and WorldPeace 17% just of point short of where Sanchez was in the December poll. Also, Marty Akins, who was included in the September poll, dropped out of the governor's race. Where did those Akins votes go? All to the undecided column? Hardly
The December poll took 12 days to process while the May poll took 7 days and the September poll took 8 days. Why the extra days?
The December poll would have the readers believe that WorldPeace disappeared off the map and in addition all the Akins votes and 10% of the Perry Sanchez September votes all went to the undecided column. THIS IS JUST A RIDICULOUS LIE. The December poll was deliberately skewed to cover up the fact that WorldPeace is even with Perry and two to one ahead of Sanchez. I do not care how you work these numbers, you can't help but coming to this conclusion.
If John Sharp's belief was true regarding the Hispanic voters, there is still a question as to why would the Party recruit a Republican Hispanic to run as a Democrat for governor; especially a Bush "Pioneer" Republican who gave Bush $350,000. Why not find a Hispanic Democrat.
The second prong of Sharp's two point theory about Sanchez was that he was self financing and would spend $30 million of his $600 million net worth to finance his campaign. So far Sanchez has spent virtually nothing. It has been 15 months and he hasn't spent anything to speak of to get his name out. In addition, he is collecting campaign donations from Democratic Party supporters. Why is he doing this when he promised to self finance his campaign? Why is he taking money from the other Democratic candidates? The reason is that he is a liar and he never intended to use his own money to any great extent.
Consider what Sanchez has done in the last 15 months with regard to cutting into Perry's lead. The answer is nothing. In May it was Perry 55% to Sanchez 17%, in September it was Perry 53% to Sanchez 23% and in December it was Perry 48% to Sanchez 18%. The reality is that Sanchez can't cut into a 30 point lead that Perry has had for over a year.
In addition to everything else, Sanchez has a huge amount of negative baggage that has just begun to come out during the two weeks before Christmas. And this negative baggage came out after the December polling period ended on November 26th. So Sanchez numbers now are worse than a month ago.
Sanchez has laundered $25 million in drug money through Tesoro S & L which he owned, he bankrupted Tesoro and cost the taxpayers $161 million to bail out his fraudulent loans, and he paid $1 million to avoid prosecution in the matter. In addition, he did not mention the federal investigation into Tesoro in his application to be appointed a U. T. Regent. His attorney is Tony Canales who defends drug lords like Juan Abrego who brought 16 tons of cocaine into the US, who was the corporate counsel for Tesoro, who dreamed up the as yet undisclosed Henry Cuellar "death threat" letter and it was Canales' agent who spread the rumor that Cuellar was a homosexual. Sanchez fought federal legislation to require investigations of large bank depositors like those who deposited $25 million of drug money into Tesoro. His IBOC bank failed to file its campaign contribution reports for the last two years. Sanchez is hiding his involvement in the Enron fiasco by refusing to supply his personal income tax schedules or his mother's $1.5 billion trust tax return which he controls and of which he is the beneficiary. He is a Viet Nam era draft dodger, a user of illegal drugs and an employer of illegal aliens.
I do not know how much more negative baggage a candidate could have. And yet the Democratic Party in their insanity is still at this late date supporting this person for Governor.
Twelve very prominent and long serving Democrats have retired in the last six weeks. The excuse given is that their redrawn districts have all been changed such that they either must run against another Democrat or they are now in a predominately Republican district.
The real reason for these retirements is that these elected Democrats see the Democratic Party in chaos and being led by a corrupt cadre of Party officials who are determined to kill the Democratic Party by endorsing Tony Sanchez for governor. I have no doubt that redistricting had a part in these elected representatives decisions not to run but the bigger influence was the fact that the Democratic Party is about to self destruct. No way are they going to support Tony Sanchez. So they are getting out. What surprises me is that none of them became Republicans. There are still eight days left to file for office and it may well be that some of them or some other Democrats may go ahead and switch Parties in order to stay in office. I do not believe that all the bad news regarding who will and will not run and in which Party they will run has surfaced. The next 8 days are going to be interesting.
The coming 2002 elections have two major undercurrents that are going to significantly affect who becomes governor. 1) People are sick of corruption and it appears that Rick Perry will vote money first and what is good for the majority of people second. In a word, Perry and Sanchez are both one in the same. They are Siamese twins. They are both dirty. 2) There is a concern about terrorism and consequently about WorldPeace.
The Democratic Party must tell Sanchez to withdraw and then immediately get behind WorldPeace for a full blown assault on Perry who is vulnerable due to his corruption.
Tony Sanchez is corrupt, he lied about financing his own campaign, he refused to campaign for any Democratic candidate in May or November, he refused to meet with the rank and file Party members, he has in a word done virtually nothing for the Party in the last 15 months. He has stayed 30% behind Perry in the polls all year. He can't beat Perry in November.
The citizens of Texas are not stupid and the rank and file Democrats are not stupid. People are not going to vote someone as corrupt as Tony into the governor's office. All that is happening right now is that the cancer that is Tony Sanchez is continuing to destroy the Party. He is not a leader. In fact, the last major newspaper article on Tony repeated over and over that he is a "work in progress". The truth is that either you are a political leader of you are not. You either define yourself or others define you. Tony is not a political leader. Either you want to be governor over and above everything else or you don't. Tony doesn't.
The Party waited for Tony to step into the leadership role in the Party and he never did. He refused to even declare his candidacy until September 4 and two hours later Phil Gramm announced his retirement and removed Sanchez from the news. Then 911 happened and Sanchez announced he was taking a break until January to let people heal up. Well, if you do not care if you are elected governor or not, one excuse is as good as another.
The Democratic Party is on its death bed. The clock is ticking. The Democratic Party has lost its heart and soul. There is no enthusiasm. There is only a defeatist attitude.
I have worked hard this year to pump some life into the Party. I have irritated a lot of people by speaking the truth. I have been ignored by the press and labeled a minor candidate even though I have made over 20 million telephone calls statewide. The press has lied to the public in printing the December Scripps Howard poll which they know for a fact is an out and out lie. The Party has clung to Sanchez knowing more and more each day that he is poison.
People hate the truth which always makes a bloody entrance. Yet despite this I am undaunted. I will not quit and in a few days I will file for the governor's race. The question is what is the Party going to do. Are they going to follow Sanchez right to oblivion? Right now, I think that is very possible. Right now, I think that even after I win the Democratic Primary, the Party is still going to try to ignore me. This will make for an interesting convention this summer.
In the end, I will win the governorship next November. But if the Party does not dump Sanchez and rally behind me, I think I will be the last Democratic governor of Texas for a long time. The Party is at a fork in the road; one fork leads to rebirth and rejuvenation and one fork leads to oblivion. Time is running out. The Democratic Party cannot survive a Tony Sanchez candidacy.
The next governor of Texas
December 26, 2001