Opinion: Columnists

Lyndon LaRouche-allied Senate candidate gives Texas Democrats the wrong kind of blues

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Opinion,David Freddoso,Columnists,Texas,2014 Elections,Wendy Davis,Magazine

If you follow politics, you've probably read at least two articles in the last year on how Democrats hope, expect, and/or are working to turn Texas from a Republican-dominated state into a Democratic one.

It's a legitimate story based on the state's rapidly changing demographics. Texas' population is becoming more Hispanic over time thanks to immigration and higher birth rates. Although Texas Hispanics tend to vote more Republican than Latinos in all other states but Florida, Republicans have a lot of ground to make up with this fast-growing ethnic group — if they're going to remain dominant – or even viable – in the long run. It's a reality acknowledged by most Republicans, even though no Democrat has won a statewide race in 20 years.

A constellation of Democratic groups has sprung up to raise money and organize to change the Lone Star State's politics. These groups have names like Battleground Texas, Turning Texas Blue and The Texas Future Project, whose formation was reported on this week by the Houston Chronicle.

But one symptom of a healthy, vibrant, growing party is that it fields candidates – even underdogs – that people can be proud to vote for. Think how many people became Republicans because of Ronald Reagan, or Democrats because of FDR or President Obama.

In this department, Texas Democrats are having some serious trouble in 2014.

In the case of Sen. Wendy Davis, the outspoken abortion advocate who will likely win the gubernatorial nomination, there's some debate about her viability. Despite her already having 85 percent name recognition, a new poll from the Texas Tribune puts her 11 points behind her Republican foe and at 36 percent - closer to the Democrats' modern floor in governor's races than to their ceiling (42 percent in 2010).

But if there's debate about Davis' quality as a statewide candidate, there is none about the Democrats' leading contender for U.S. Senate. No one expected them to make too serious a run at Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, but it will be pretty embarrassing if Texas Democrats nominate someone who favors Obama's impeachment and once called him a “genocidal narcissist” in a campaign-generated musical video (to the tune of a Mary Poppins song).

Yes, that candidate, twice a Democratic nominee for the U.S. House in the Houston area, leads the Democratic field for Senate in next week's primary election and is very likely at least to make the runoff.

This week's Tribune poll has Kesha Rogers, a member of the left-wing Lyndon LaRouche movement, in first place for Tuesday's election at 35 percent. The LaRouche people are best known for unhinged rhetoric, anachronistic campaign tactics (in 2004, they drove a car with a mounted megaphone through my D.C. neighborhood blaring LaRouche speeches) and for exceeding the Tea Party in their hatred of Obama. They favor a single-payer health care system and unabashedly call Obamacare a “Nazi Health Plan.” Rogers once said in an interview that it was “explicitly modeled” on a 1939 plan by Adolf Hitler.

Innocent (and by comparison, Obama-loving) Tea Partiers have been repeatedly and wrongly blamed in the news media for the LaRouche people's well-produced Hitler/Obama signs, one of which Rogers has been spotted carrying around proudly in Houston.

This is a silly story, to be sure, and people will be laughing Tuesday if she finishes first – but it's a lot like the story we hear so often about Tea Partiers.

More to the point, it's a sign of a state party with more pressing problems than how quickly they can turn a red state blue. If you're looking for that story, come back in a few years and ask again.

DAVID FREDDOSO, a Washington Examiner columnist, is the former Editorial Page Editor for the Examiner and the New York Times-bestselling author of "Spin Masters: How the Media Ignored the Real News and Helped Re-elect Barack Obama." He has also written two other books, "The Case Against Barack Obama" (2008) and "Gangster Government" (2011).
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