…and I say that with love. [Because I love you, Austin, I really do.]
The single purpose of this post is to eradicate the phrase “Oh yeah, Austin is a blue dot in a sea of red” from the vocabulary of anybody who cares about turning Texas blue.
I am so incredibly sick and tired of hearing this refrain. It’s part of the Austin mythology. And it needs to die and get buried six feet under because it is not helpful. Every time someone says “Austin is a blue dot in a sea of red”, a voter in a swing district registers as a Republican.
Battleground Texas just set up shop and they have the incredible, sisyphean task of convincing people that Texas can go blue. We all have that incredible task. In fact, I had that task last week, when trying to convince my partner, a native Texan, that we can go blue. I made him listen to me rant while cooking, which involved a lot of banging of pots and pans. It was pretty dangerous.
Anyways, perpetuating the myth that Austin is a blue dot in a sea of red is not helpful because it isn’t true.
But this one is better, via Gawker. With my own edits. Thanks Paint!
Let’s zoom in a little.
See? NOT the only dot of blue in a sea of red. And it’s not even that red. It’s more of a lovely fuchsia shade.
Let’s go over this. My favorite (mostly anecdotal) talking points when ranting about how Austin is not a blue dot in a sea of red:
- It’s completely non-scientific, but let’s just all step back for a moment and think about the fact that the mayor of Houston, Annise Parker, is a lesbian. You know, the ultimate persona non grata to the stereotypical homophobic bubba Texan that lives in the psyches of Americans across the land. Sure, she’s somewhat of a centrist Democrat. But let’s just marvel at the fact that the mayor of the 4th largest city in America is having her civil rights debated in the highest court in the land and she is the boss in Houston.
- Also, Houston is the most diverse city in the country. And what’s that phrase that political operatives love to throw around? Demographics are destiny? I actually hate that phrase too, but I’ll stick to one rant at a time.
- Houston is also the home of some kind of OK legislators, I guess. You may have heard of them. Jessica Farrar (swoon…) and Ana Hernandez (double swoon…).
- Beyonce is from Houston. This is not entirely germane, but I’m including this anyways. It must mean something.
- DFW. I don’t have really great anecdotal points for this one. Just look at the data. Better yet, friend Michael Li on Facebook and let him astound you.
- Pretty cool legislators from Dallas, most of the time: Anchia, Marc Veasey. Cooler: Angela Hunt, because she’s a lady.
- Here’s the part where I get really riled up. A blue dot in a sea of red, you say?! Take a drive down I-35… Have you heard of these guys in San Antonio called the Castros? One of them, Julian, is the mayor of San Antonio. You may have heard of him. I’ll jog your memory: He was the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention. He talked a lot about menudo cookoffs. He had the cojones to put out a citywide measure to ensure all kids in San Antonio had access to pre-K. He also had the gall to green-light a plan that would put in motion the retirement of an entire freaking coal plant and incentivize the relocation of an entire solar company to the tune of 800 jobs in one fell swoop. Right. That’s what I thought.
- He’s got a twin, Joaquin, who just took over the district formerly held by Charlie Gonzalez, former head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. So this, except identical.
- And can I get some love for my people in Nueces County, Corpus Christi? They’ve been working for years to stake out some ground in the land that was once the uncontested territory of McCarthy enthusiasts, and they’ve finally got some. Talk about a swing area.
- Despite the machinery of the politics and the rather mediocre nature of the delegation, South Texas IS BLUE. There is no discussion.
- There are progressives in the Rio Grande Valley, and they’re getting organized. I know them. I love them. Watch out, institutional political party machinery!
- And last but certainly not least, how about El Paso? When Bill Clinton visits Texas, he doesn’t miss an opportunity to go to El Paso. He loves El Paso. It’s probably because of Chico’s Tacos. And the Miners. And the fact that El Paso has been reliably democratic since before the Seven Kingdoms (that’s a Game of Thrones reference, y’all. Look it up). That’s some dark blue right up in there.
- Mary Gonzalez. I’m not even going to say anything. I’m just going to insert this GIF:
IN CONCLUSION. Stop saying Austin is a dot of blue in a sea of red. We’re not. We’re a progressive city and we pilot a lot of new things and ideas. But we aren’t the only ones. Martyrdom is annoying.
Please don’t get all weird and nationalistic about this city vs. this city. I really don’t care. I care about turning Texas blue. We’re one state with a ton of electoral votes, and that’s the big prize. If we deliver, we will change this country’s political landscape for a hundred years…and I love the sound of that.
We need to start perpetuating a new narrative – we are many, many dark blue dots. And we need to work together.
Rant over. Back to phone-banking.