Bob Stein at the BAND and BAAD Women
Went to see Rice poli-sci guy Robert Stein last night. He spoke to the local Democratic clubs about the last election and elections to come; upcoming state and federal legislative sessions, and the Hispanic Vote.
The Professor talked about Spring Branch, where a lot of us used to live. The population there is now 68% Hispanic, but barely half of them are voting. The candidates they see on the ballot are picked by what Stein calls “the selectorate,” the 74% of Primary voters that are old and white. He pointed out that this situation falls short of democracy, and made me wonder if evolution applies to politics.
Dr. Stein said that it’s unlikely that any Democrat will be elected to replace Kay Bailey, but noted that the Republican leading in the polls for that race is ‘Dr No,’ Ron Paul. If voters in the GOP primary nominate Paul it could be a Sharon Angle or Christine O’Donnell situation; turning over a previously safe seat to the Dems.
He predicted that if the state cuts funding for primary and secondary education; that school districts will pass tax rate increases; that a coalition will emerge with older voters supporting the issues because school quality is the single best predictor of property values. Besides, lots of them have tax rates already frozen.
The new GOP-majority House is not veto-proof, he pointed out; and warned us to watch the rule changes, saying that new Budget Chairman Paul Ryan now has a line item veto and absolute control; and new Speaker Boehner promises that nothing much will come out of this Congress, thereby threatening things like health care, mass transit and NASA.
Anyways, I enjoyed the ‘inside baseball.’ I say if people watched more politics and less, say, football or wrestling, the entertainment value wouldn’t fall off none. As an added benefit, might lower the odds of their being exploited, oppressed, or even vaporized.