The Hill: Dems Could Take Texas

Texas Logo 294x300 The Hill: Dems Could Take TexasBrent Budowsky, a columnist for The HIll, writes today that Texas Democrats are in position to upset Republicans in 2010. He has especially hopeful words for Bill White. and a keen sense of why national Democrats should be and will be paying more attention to the Lone Star State.

The coming election for governor of Texas could be a surprisingly tight race with the real possibility of a Democratic upset. The result could determine whether a future Congress is controlled by Democrats or Republicans, with a reapportionment that will give Texas a number of new seats and a potential gerrymandering swing that could move from five to seven seats from one party to the other.

For Texas Democrats, it is only a matter of time before Texas turns blue because of game-changing demographics, especially the huge wave of Hispanic population growth.The odds still favor Republicans keeping the governorship of Texas, but Democrats now have a fighting chance to achieve a stunning upset.

White, Budowsky says, has the kind of character that made Lloyd Bentsen a successs. Budowsky once worked for Bentsen.

Houston Mayor Bill White leaves office as one of the most popular Democrats in the state. He is one of the most interesting political figures in Texas and may have the ideal qualities for the political moment. He is reminiscent of my former boss and mentor, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas), with a can-do style, the ability to unite Democrats and strong appeal to independents.

As mayor of Houston, White attained great popularity across the political spectrum. He is backed by the Democratic base, respected by moderate Republicans and admired by an entrepreneurial business community that makes Texas unique. This is the formula for a Democrat to win in the Lone Star State.

Budowsky thinks Texas has become more important in the eyes of influential national contributors because of upcoming Congressional redistricting. Texas stands to gain several House seats after the 2011 redistricting, while Democratic states in the north and east will lose seats due to shriking populationss.

The Texas battle intersects with a major national redistricting following the census. Texas will gain a number of new House seats, including districts with surging Hispanic populations.

The last redistricting was “fixed” by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas). If Democrats elect a governor and lieutenant governor and control either house of the State Legislature, there could be a party swing of five to seven House seats, especially with a Justice Department friendly to the Voting Rights Act.

Watch for the White House and the House Democratic leadership to take a major interest in Texas. Watch for a surge of Democratic donations and activism as this high-stakes election approaches.

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About Glenn W. Smith

Glenn W. Smith has spent the past 30 years in journalism and politics, where he’s made a name for himself as a writer, campaign manager, activist, think tank analyst and, as Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas says, a “legendary political consultant and all-around good guy.” “There’s no one like him,” says author George Lakoff. CNN commentator Paul Begala says, “He has unmatched experience, a graceful pen (or pixel nowadays) and deep insight into the best and worst of us.” Novelist Sarah Bird speaks of his “lucid and lyrical” prose. And, she says, he’s fun. Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington says Glenn writes with “grace and abundant humor” and “uses his colorful experiences in Texas to enlighten us all.”

Smith led Ann Richards’ successful 1990 campaign for Governor of Texas. He worked for former Texas Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby and U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen. Earlier, Smith was a political reporter for the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Post. He’s coordinated national campaigns for groups such as MoveOn.org. In 2004, he authored the highly acclaimed book, The Politics of Deceit: Saving Freedom and Democracy from Extinction. He also wrote Unfit Commander, a book that detailed George W. Bush’s mysterious disappearance from military service.

In 2004, Smith was featured in the film, Bush’s Brain, a documentary about Karl Rove. Smith provided commentary on Rove’s role as then-President Bush’s senior advisor. He has made numerous media appearances with Chris Mathews on Hardball, Joe Scarborough, Brit Hume, and many others. He writes a regularly for top national web sites, including FireDogLake and Huffington Post.

As a senior fellow at George Lakoff’s prestigious Rockridge Institute in Berkeley he studied, wrote and taught on the power of metaphor and narrative in political communications. He also lectured on religion and politics at the Starr King School for Ministry in Berkeley. As a sponsor and organizer, he has pulled together numerous national events with progressive religious leaders. He also organized a celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King at Riverside Church in New York City as well as “Freedom and Faith” bus tours, which was a nationwide campaign for social justice and progressive values.

Smith’s play, Double Play, which explored American Western myths and legends, was held over to sold-out audiences. He’s even written and performed songs in the Americana tradition, such as his best-known song, “Helping Marty Robbins,” a tribute to his hometown, Houston.

Most recently, Smith is the creator of DogCanyon, a political and cultural web site covering state, national and global issues from a Texas perspective. DogCanyon is an exhilarating and unique site that gets the connections between politics and culture and explores both the personal side of politics and the ups, down, craziness and beauty of “life its ownself,” as humorist Dan Jenkins would say. DogCanyon offers heartfelt personal essays, hard-hitting political analysis, and, most importantly, laughs.

As Paul Begala said, Smith writes in “the finest, firmest, fearless tradition of Texas essayists like Molly Ivins.”