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Tarrant County And The Future Of America
Tarrant County is facing a battle for democracy in Texas and needs a strong Democratic victory in 2024.
This last weekend, Allison Campolo, the Chair of the Tarrant County Democratic Party, abruptly resigned. This means there will be a special election for the TCDP within 30 days, and Tarrant County Democratic precinct chairs will elect that person.
In a statement to the Star-Telegram, Campolo said her decision to resign came with a realization that “there were people in this county who were ready to run for this position who are highly qualified and would continue to grow and diversify our party.”
The importance of Tarrant County in both state and national politics.
In 2022, Christian extremism watchdog Jenny Cohn brought light to the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). This global movement promotes dominionism, which is the belief that Christians have a mandate from God to control all aspects of government and society. Lance Wallhau is an apostle of NAR and a right-wing evangelist who proudly declared himself as a Christian Nationalist and, in 2021, urged Trump to hold Christian-based rallies.
Wallhau has ties to the Big Lie, Michael Flynn, Steve Bannon, Kari Lake, and all of the worst of the worst. However, this article isn’t about him as much as his recent social media post.
If you’re familiar with some of the counties in other states, you probably understand why they are on his list. But this is the Lone Star Left, so we will talk about the only county on this list in Texas—Tarrant County. Which also happens to be the county I live in.
These are the 14 counties far-right Christofascists are targeting to undermine democracy and have a complete makeover.
In 2024, Democrats in Tarrant County must have a massive blue wave, or we’re completely fucked.
It’s important to note that Anglo-Americans are not a majority in Tarrant County, making up only 43% of the population. Hispanic/Latino count for 30%, Black 18%, and AAPI over 6%.
Tarrant County is a highly diverse area. Anyone that lives here will tell you that. It’s essential to understand the overlap of the Christian nationalist movement and white supremacy. Some people will even cut the fat and refer to it as “white Christian Nationalism.” Underlying ideologies of racism among the Christian nationalist movement connect them to white nationalist groups who rely on old tropes to promote white supremacy.
And while Christian nationalists are not exclusively white, Christian nationalists look a lot like this picture:
You get the point. These white Christian nationalists target a county of 57% people of color.
How does Tarrant County compare to other major counties in Texas?
Harris County - 4.7 million population - 72% non-Anglo
Democratic County Judge
2020 turnout: 66.15% - Biden won by 13 points
2022 turnout: 42.92% - Beto won by 9 points
Dallas County - 2.6 million population - 72% non-Anglo
Democratic County Judge
2020 turnout: 65.75% - Biden won by 32 points
2022 turnout: 44.03% - Beto won by 27 points
Tarrant County - 2.1 million population - 57% non-Anglo
Republican County Judge
2020 turnout: 68.84% - Biden by 0.3 points
2022 turnout: 46.9% - Abbott won by 4 points
Bexar County - 2 million population - 74% non-Anglo
Democratic County Judge
2020 turnout: 64.81% - Biden won by 18 points
2022 turnout: 43.94% - Beto won by 16 points
Travis County County - 1.3 million population - 51% non-Anglo
Democratic County Judge
2020 turnout: 71.21% - Biden won by 45 points
2022 turnout: 51.99% - Beto won by 47 points
Tarrant County is more competitive in the political landscape than the other major counties, mostly because Republicans have fought tooth and nail to hold on to it for so long.
Here are the results for the 2022 election:
The large areas of blue are Fort Worth and Arlington. These two cities have a combined population of 1.35 million and are reliably blue. The other 800,000 residents live in red suburbs.
Now, look at voter turnout in 2022:
The urban “blue areas” voted much less than the suburban red areas. This is why Tarrant County went to Abbott in 2022 and got Tim O’Hare as the county judge.
It is imperative to have a blue wave in Tarrant County in 2024.
The political landscape is more competitive than other major counties in Texas. While traditionally leaning towards the Republican Party, the close results in the 2020 presidential election indicate a potential shift towards a more balanced environment. Given the diverse population of Tarrant County, with non-Anglo residents making up 57%, ensuring that their voices are represented and that policies reflect the needs and interests of the entire community becomes crucial.
Moreover, the overlap between Christian nationalist movements and white supremacy in Tarrant County raises concerns about the potential influence of extremist ideologies. The county’s diverse population, which includes a significant percentage of people of color, is a target for white Christian nationalists seeking to undermine democracy and promote ideologies of racism. Countering this influence requires a strong and mobilized Democratic presence in the county.
While the urban areas, predominantly blue, had lower turnout rates, the red suburban regions exhibited higher participation. This disparity resulted in Tarrant County favoring Republican candidates in the 2022 election, highlighting the importance of increasing voter engagement and mobilization efforts to ensure a more representative outcome.
Tarrant County has a significant role in shaping the future of Texas politics and positively impacting state and national levels.
So, what is a new Chair to do?
First and foremost, there must be precinct chairs in every precinct. Currently, the county party is lacking precinct chairs. This is a problem county parties are experiencing throughout the state. However, the Republican Party uses its precinct chairs to leverage community-level engagement, which is needed more than anything.
They cannot put all of their focus on Fort Worth. Arlington is a major city, and there hasn’t been a lot of civic engagement. That has to change. But there must also be boots on the ground in H-E-B and the redder suburbs of Grapevine and Colleyville.
There are THREE flippable House District seats in Tarrant County in 2024: HD93, HD94, and HD97. There needs to be a big push in those districts with stellar candidates who can win.
Even though the Senate and Congressional districts are majorly gerrymandered, they cannot be ignored. Plus four House seats that probably can’t be flipped, but Democrats need a candidate in each of these positions because it will ultimately push that district further blue.
One of the best things that Allison Campolo did as chair was set up District leaders like team leads. Not only should that continue, but it should also be expanded on.
Voter engagement needs to happen year-round. Not just block walking and phone banking. The Tarrant County Democratic Party must show up at parades, city events, host meet and greets, town halls, and whatever it takes to ensure their presence is known and seen.
There are a handful of grassroots organizations working hard in Tarrant County, the County Party should partner with them and leverage the work they are already doing for better results. We’re in it together, and we have to work together.
A new chair must ensure a presence on UTA Fort Worth and UT Arlington campuses. These campuses are full of young people who don’t know how to vote and need to be engaged.
It’s a tall order. It’s a big county. And it will take a lot of hard work. The right leadership will be able to pull it off.
When Allison Campolo announced she was leaving, I said it was sad, and that she would be missed. Here is what she responded:
At times I was a thorn in her side because I haven’t hesitated to call out any county party for missteps. I’ve called out other county parties besides my own and bashed the state party plenty of times. But I’ve been like a dog on a bone when calling out the fascist Republicans in my county. (See: My Strange Relationship With Nate Schatzline)
Texas is a huge state, and it will take all of us to get out from under the thumb of fascism, but I believe it can be done.
I don’t typically endorse county chair races, but I will endorse someone for Tarrant County Chair by the end of the month. They have a mountain to conquer, and the election in Tarrant County in 2024 is one of the most important in the nation. It is imperative to address the challenges posed by the Christian nationalist movement and white supremacy ideologies that target this diverse county.
While the task ahead is significant, the right leadership can overcome the challenges and pave the way for a transformative election in Tarrant County in 2024. Stay tuned.