Discover more from LoneStarLeft’s Newsletter
Demographics, Democracy, and Determination: The Texas Equation
The potential for political change is in our hands. All it will take is the unleashing of the power of the people.
Yesterday a friend told me about Texas’s political situation, “It feels so hopeless.” The legislature only meets once every two years, and with less than two weeks left of this session, we’re currently being hit with a barrage of bad legislation aimed at hurting the most vulnerable among us. It can be disheartening to witness the rapid enactment of harmful measures in moments like these, leaving a sense of frustration and powerlessness in their wake.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and I promise it’s not a train. One of my favorite quotes by Martin Luther King Jr. is, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
These trying times may make it seem like progress is stagnant or regressive, but history has shown that change is constant and inevitable. The resilience and determination of those fighting for justice throughout the ages have consistently propelled us forward. It is important to remember that setbacks and obstacles often catalyze renewed activism and unity. While the current wave of harmful legislation may cause frustration and concern, it also mobilizes communities to organize, resist, and strive for a better future.
The forces of justice and compassion are always present, and by standing together, advocating for what is right, and engaging in the democratic process, we can shape a more equitable and inclusive society. Though the road may be long and challenging, hope remains alive, and the power to effect positive change is within our hands.
Amidst the turbulence of the civil rights era, some stories remind us of the indomitable spirit of the people and their triumph over evil.
One such story is that of the courageous individuals who stood against wicked men determined to inflict harm and oppression. However, their unwavering resolve, unity, and commitment to justice ultimately prevailed, proving that even in the darkest times, the collective power of good can overcome the forces of hatred and discrimination.
1963 was a pivotal year during the Civil Rights Era. Violence was prevalent, as was the resistance all across the South. The growing contempt from white Southerners towards the Black communities and their fight for equal rights were nearly identical to the attitudes seen in the years following the post-Reconstruction era.
In Mississippi, the Welfare Department removed over 22,000 Black people from the welfare rolls because of Black civil rights activities. Dr. Martin Luther King sent out a nationwide plea for people to send food to the people in the Delta, as many of them were starving.
Mississippi received over $59 million from the Federal Government in 1962 for health, education, and welfare. Yet, Mississippi Conservatives were willing to starve their citizens to ensure Black people didn’t get equality. They used food as a weapon to maintain white authority, disrupt Black food access, and impede civil rights activism.
The Greenwood Food Blockade illustrates a critical moment where the white power structure used food as a weapon to oppose the advancement of Black civil rights.
The same white power structure in 2023 has weaponized healthcare to impede transgender individuals' right to exist. Just as in 1963, when Mississippi Conservatives used food as a tool of oppression, today we witness a similar pattern of those in power manipulating gender-affirming care to deny marginalized communities their fundamental rights.
The deliberate obstruction of transgender individuals' access to proper healthcare treatments echoes the same oppressive tactics in history. In both instances, the wielders of authority weaponize essential services, be it food or healthcare, to maintain their dominance and hinder progress toward equality and justice.
We can make change when we unite and take action with conviction and compassion.
According to the 2020 Census, Texas is 39.8% white (non-Hispanic), 39.3% Hispanic, 11.8% Black, and 5.4% Asian. Of course, that doesn't include the half-million Texans who were undercounted. The only states/areas less white than Texas are Washington, DC, New Mexico, California, and Hawaii. All blue states.
Although white (non-Hispanic) people only make up 39.8% of the population in Texas, during the 2022 election, they made up 62% of the vote. Look at what happened:
More registered voters stayed home in 2022 than people that voted. Despite that, Republicans didn’t flip any seats. The changing demographics in Texas are happening fast. Republicans know this, and the gerrymandering that was done last session was done to keep the white Republican incumbents, but they didn’t draw themselves any new districts.
Republicans could gerrymander the maps any way they wanted last session, but they didn’t take gains for themselves because they couldn’t. Texas is only 38% white. So they can crack and pack only so much of the pie for themselves. Many of these Republican districts are 51% Anglo, 54% Anglo, or 55% Anglo.
While watching the legislature this year, I noticed something I’d never seen before.
The people testifying against the Republican priorities vastly outnumbered those who testified in favor of them. We outnumber them. There’s no hiding or denying it. We outnumber the right likely in the millions.
Texas is a non-voting state. That’s by design. It’s the only way Republicans continue to hold on to power.
In 2024, there are flippable seats, Conservative Democrats can be primaried, and we CAN win the Senate seat to oust Ted Cruz. While Texas has historically been a state with low voter turnout, recognizing this disparity and actively engaging in the democratic process is critical to overcoming intentional suppression.
Although the Texas Democratic Party has largely been absent, other groups are forming and organizing to work around them in 2024. Lately, I’ve been part of discussions about how we will organize ourselves out of this mess and turn Texas into the inclusive state it’s meant to be. (I’ll have much more to tell you about after the legislative session is over.)
So, right now, things can seem daunting and even hopeless. But never forget that the arc of the moral universe is long but bends toward justice.