Some thoughts about the May 29th Texas primary election. Can’t feel too bad about being a week late with this after the election itself was delayed ninety days while the state disputed the court’s rejection of the latest GOP gerrymander. Funny, might Rick Perry’s campaign have turned out differently with a big Texas win back in March? Maybe we should be thanking the legislature and Attorney General Greg Abbott.
I would say that the biggest disappointment was in the turnout. Only some five hundred thousand Democrats voted the primary, demonstrating why they haven’t won a statewide race in eighteen years. This paltry 4% turnout allowed Kesha Rogers, a member of the Lyndon LaRouche cult to win the nomination for the 22nd Congressional District for the second time in a row, and perennial candidate Lloyd Oliver, who admits that he only runs to drum up business for his law practice, to beat a respected young Assistant D.A. running for the Harris County District Attorney. This last is a pity as voters in the GOP primary turned out the present D.A, Pat Lykos, who though prickley, showed herself willing to reform the abuses of her ethically challenged predecessor and turn from the ‘hang-em-high’ scalp-hunting mindset that has been a costly embarrassment to Harris County and the State of Texas. Harris County voters have been deprived of a November choice between being tough on crime and being smart on crime.
Of course that doesn’t mean that they would make a smart choice. With one hundred and fifty or two hundred contests on the ballot, nobody can be informed on every race, leading to odious straight-ticket voting or folks voting slate cards somebody pushed on them. Texans could probably elect the Unabomber and still not stop voting in races they know nothing about. I love to leave blanks on my ballot. I hope some candidates are insulted by the ‘undervote’ in their tallies.
Here’s a letter the Chronicle ran last week:
“Regarding "Primary picks" (Page B13, Sunday), for years I have taken your recommendation list to the voting booth with me. There are a few races that I understand well enough to make my own judgements - president, governor, U.S. Senate. But Railroad Commissioner? Criminal Court Judge? County Attorney?
“I want to help elect good candidates, but how can I know a lot about all the candidates for all these offices?
“Clearly, there are too many elective offices in Texas, but that's another issue. I just appreciate your staff giving me the benefit of their knowledge.” - Dan Fox, Houston
-Well, I look over the Chronicle endorsements too, before I vote, but I remember that the Chronicle is a Hearst newspaper, the guy who brought us the Spanish-American War. That paper endorsed the GOP candidate at the top of the ticket eleven times in a row between Lyndon Johnson and Barach Obama. The Editors that make the endorsements do have the advantage of getting to meet and speak to all the candidates, but, I’m not always ready to take their word for it. And they only endorse candidates in a fraction of the races. This time some of them didn’t even get published until the week-end before election day, after more than half of the votes were already cast in early voting.
Darn, is that my gripe? ‘People vote stupid, and not enough of them vote at all.’ That’s like “this food is awful, and such small portions!” –No, I’ll go with ‘better turnout should bring better candidates and better results.’ I hope so..