Dems show signs of life

Could Democrats’ short-lived victory at state capitol last week start a revival?

By Ken Esten Cooke— In the 1980s, Texas Democrats held every statewide office and a young political consultant named Karl Rove had what were considered far-fetched dreams of turning the Lone Star State red.

Rove steered the state toward Republican domination, taking over the Texas Senate and House by 2002 and following his number one client to the White House for two terms.

Democrats may be hoping that last week’s rowdy debate over Senate Bill 5 was their own turning point after two dismal decades.

It was good to see this comatose party, which hasn’t won a statewide race in 19 years, get excited during last week’s filibuster by Sen. Wendy Davis. And it was healthy for our state politics and national image to see some diversity of thought in the state house.

Senate Bill 5 was presented disingenuously as a bill to protect women’s health. It did so by closing all but five facilities that oppose abortions in the state. Women in rural areas who elect to have that emotionally painful procedure will look at days away from their work and home to have the procedure done.

The bill also seemed to be designed to enhance the political aspirations of the governor and lieutenant governor, not to mention that of the bill’s author, Sen. Glenn Hegar of Sugarland, who has an eye on statewide office.

Probably not a lot of Democrats are reading this, as Gillespie County is solidly Republican. But everyone has to admit that, at the very least, competition is healthy for democracy, keeps the party in power on its toes and steers moderation into the debate.

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