Looks Like the Tea Party's Gonna Elect Cruz Fair and Square. So, Let's Change the Game.

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ted cruz.jpg
Ted Cruz. Wait ... how did that happen?
Texas will elect it's next senator today. Odds are, you won't vote for him. In fact, a good number of you, even if you're registered to vote, can't vote in the truly decisive race going down Tuesday, because you were dumb enough to vote in the Democratic primary in May.

Suckers.

So, let's all clap our hands and welcome newly minted U.S. Senator Te ... Te ... Ted ... Cr ... Cr ....

Yeah. Him. Don't make us say it.

OK, technically Cruz might not be elected to the Senate today. After all, GOP runoff opponent David "I Am the Anointed" Dewhurst is on the ballot too, but a weekend independent poll from Public Policy Polling shows the Tea Party darling leading Dewhurst by 10 percent. Yeah, yeah and technically whoever wins the GOP runoff (Cruz) will face a Democrat in the general election in November.

Hah! Right. Try this: Without using Google, name the two candidates competing for U.S. Senate in today's Democratic runoff. Take your time. No rush.

Time's up: They're former state Representative Paul Sadler and Grady Yarbrough, a 75-year-old retired school teacher. In a state that hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994, you can just call them Snowball's Chance 1 and Snowball's Chance 2.

You know, there must be something wrong with a system in which a good, honorable voters (namely, me and people who agree with me) are essentially disenfranchised. Consider this:

The most recent GOP primary runoffs for Senate were won by Kay Bailey Hutchison, whom Cruz or Dewhurst (Cruz) is likely to replace. Voter turnout in those runoffs, according to the Texas Secretary of State, was 2.24 percent in 1994 and 2.41 percent in 2006. Early voting numbers in today's election show turnout is running slightly higher than typical for a statewide runoff, but in all likelihood, the next Texas member of the U.S. Senate will for all intents and purposes be sent to office with the votes of something less than 3 percent of the electorate. (If you voted in the Democratic primary in May, you're not allowed to switch parties now, even if you've suddenly developed a hankering for David Dewhurst. Sorry.)

Now, there are two reasonable responses to this situation. One is to congratulate the Tea Party members on their commitment, organization and grasp of the electoral process and say they played the game well and won fair and square. The other is to say Texas elections are broken and, obviously, there ought to be a law to fix this mess. The latter would appear to be kind of small-minded.

So, what exactly are our options for a new system? (I ask merely out of curiosity, not small-mindedness. Much.)

They're not good. Unfair Park spoke with Rob Richie, executive director of FairVote, a nonpartisan think tank the promotes election reform. Chiefly, we wanted to know if there's any system going that would have allowed a reasonable, non-Tea Party Democrat to cast a ballot that's worth diddly in this race. Or even squat. Maybe by requiring the parties to fully open up their primaries.

"There's a certain logic to coercing major parties into [opening] their process," Richie said, "but it does come at a certain cost."

Chiefly, Americans are guaranteed the right of free association, so forcing political parties to allow outsiders a say in who represents the party is constitutionally tricky.

While it would be fun to crash the Tea Party and piss in the punchbowl, what if we were were talking about the Sierra Club here, instead of the TP? "When that group gets powerful, do we get to tell that group they don't get to nominate who they want?" he asked.

Um ... depends. Is the Tea Party about to take over the Sierra Club?

California has a sort of work-around system in which the top two vote-getters in an open, nonpartisan primary are automatically placed on the general election ballot. The problem with that system, which was aimed at producing more "moderate" officeholders, is that studies suggest it hasn't really had that effect. (Plus, no one can argue with a straight face that California is well governed.) Conservative communities still elect conservatives and vice versa. Meanwhile, a TTVG system makes it difficult for small, third parties to gain traction or access to the general election ballot.

A better system might be "instant runoffs," in which primary voters essentially rank their candidates in order of preference on primary day -- for example, in the GOP primary, you might have voted 1. Dewhurst, 2. Tom Leppert 3. Ted Cruz . If no one got at least 50 percent of the No. 1 votes, then the canvassers start adding in the No. 2 votes and so on until someone gets to 50 percent. This prevents a long runoff campaign, during which many voters lose interest, allowing the candidate with the most devoted -- or radical -- followers to claim the prize, as we're arguably seeing in Cruz's case.

Unfortunately, it also seems like something dreamed up by the BCS. Make things that complicated, and next thing you know Hugo Chavez is sitting in the governor's office.

Of course, none of the various primary systems used in other states -- open, closed, semi-open, top-two-vote-getter etc. -- have much more chance of becoming the rule in Texas than Grady Yarbrough has of becoming a U.S. Senator. So, chances are the uber-conservative revolutionaries have won, God bless their tricorn hats, at least until the rest of the electorate wakes up and starts thinking elections really matter, or the statewide Democratic party stops sucking so much.

You can call that prospect Snowball's Chance III.


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81 comments
nyokadavis
nyokadavis

Like you want people to welcome Cruz to the senate, theses people need to welcome the President and stop talking about sesesson and so tired of this racist bull if thoses who want to leave the union go ahead find them a country to go to they aren't the only people who live here and have a right to be here we all are Texans and they need to stop  making Texas look stupid why don't they go and shut up because we aren't going along with this mess or the mess talking about impeaching the President he won get over it and move on we are all Americans live with it we made our voices heard we as Nations will not the select few speak for us our voice will be heard from now on 2014 is just around the corner and we will be heard again!

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

Why is is that liberal democrat writers focus on the Republican runoff and the silence about the Democrat runoffs were overwhelming?

rufuslevin
rufuslevin

why would any intelligent person vote democrat?

MisterMean
MisterMean

 

Time for a change-time for Paul Sadler-I may be pissing in the wind but at least I will not vote for someone who has relations with a barn yard swine.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

these comments indictae that people don't read what they are commenting on.

 

"in all likelihood, the next Texas member of the U.S. Senate will for all intents and purposes be sent to office with the votes of something less than 3 percent of the electorate."

 

IOW, a very, very small amount of voters are engaged enough to actually get off their ass and voice an opinion on the best direction this country needs to take.

 

is it pessimism? is it just plain laziness? is the reason people are comfortable and just don't think they have any worry? is it they agree with the very, very small amount who do vote so they believe it's all OK?

 

I definitely don't believe it is the later. I do not believe the majority of americans support the angry, selfish, draconian positions of the tea party.

 

I believe it is just plain laziness. That means as the positions of the tea party are brought into the public spotlight, voters will become motivated to actually take the effort to vote, and vote against those tea party bots.

 

unfortunately, we as a nation will have to endure a few more tea party bots first before the american public becomes disgusted enough to rise to the ocasion and toss them out.

PerryMoore
PerryMoore

Well, I was all primed to disagree with you, but if I were sitting in your chair, I'd write the same thing. Harken back with me to a time when those same pointy hats were sitting on your side of the rail--1960's Texas. Still sucked, like that Who song says. Maybe the problem is with the two party system. At least we all know where to send our money.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Such a tsimmes!  You have one republican asshole replacing another republican asshole in the Senate.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Just got back from voting for Cruz.  I went over to the Republican polling place for my precinct at Exall Park on  Gaston across from Baylor Hospital but guess what?  The Dems moved it and the public park people inside said they would not tell them where it was moved to.  Man-o-man - how cheesy is that to shift the Republicans from primary to runoff.

 

I searched on my smartphone and viola! The Dems had it moved to Gaston below White Rock Lake 4 miles away.  Now, the Dem Primary is still over at St. Ed's Catholic Church on Elm near where the Repub polling place used to be.

 

After all, we would want to disenfranchise the nitwits among us.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Congratulations Patrick, you've just dropped yourself into the "I'm not winning so I don't want to play anymore" category of loser.

 

As for the rest of this thread, do you people really think there is any difference at the State or National level between the two parties.  There is no right and left, there is no conservative or liberal in high level politics.  There are Whores for the big dollars who pander to a left-thinking audience and Whores for the big dollars who pander to a right-thinking audience.  Their initial goal is to GET ELECTED.  After attaining this goal, their one and only purpose in life is to hang on to power as long as possible.  This is one reason big corporate dollars were sunk into co-opting the Tea Party movement.  The big corporate pimps needed to keep their whores in office. (by the way corporate whores come in both flavors; democrat and republican.  Some (Leiberman) even come in a sort of political smoothie, palatable to both ends of the spectrum, digestible by none.)

 

I think with Occupy, their radicalism had the opposite effect.  They scared the shit out of comfortable, lifelong democrats (1%'ers).  They really couldn't be co-opted by the left because they had no coherent platform other than "we want to camp in public space indefinitely rather than go get jobs".  Also, I think Occupy was mostly younger 20-somethings, not as likely to vote as the esteemed blue-hairs of the TP set.  There was less potential reward for considerable risk, politically, in trying to co-opt the occupy movement.

 

What it boils down to is: You live in a democracy.  If you can't handle losing, move, do something about it, or shut up.  Get politically active, run for office, hand out leaflets.  Stop whining about it in UP.

Rixdanger
Rixdanger

You are aware Texas is one of the few states that do not require you to declare your party affiliation? You can vote in either party's primary. Feel free to cross over to the enlightened side. Recent arrivals to the state may not realize that 40 years ago, Texas was a Democratic majority state. Whoever won the Democratic primary for any state-wide office was the guaranteed victor in November. What goes around comes around. Lastly, no one appreciates your whining.

WatchingSouthDetroit
WatchingSouthDetroit

It is called democracy - people can vote for who they want, not for who YOU want them to vote for.  Would you be bitching if your favorite candidate won?  I don't like how some elections end up.  For example,  it would be an embarrassment if someone who was once named as one of Texas' worst legislators and who doesn't even live in congessional district 33, Domingo Garcia, got elected to congress.  But if those people are that stupid, then let them get what they deserve.  The people who keep electing Eddie Bernice Johnson and John Wiley Price, then complain about how nothing improves, get what they deserve - nothing (meanwhile EBJ and JWP are getting wealthy).

Metroplexual
Metroplexual

Patrick, some random comments:

You can go to a tea party meeting, I don't believe they are closed to the public. But I don't understand why you want to pee in the punch bowl, besides, it's a tea party.

 

There were many other candidates to choose from:  Leppert, James etc.  Did you contribute

to anyone's campaign?  Offer to volunteer to get your guy elected?  At least talk your candidate up to your friends and neighbors?

 

Dewhurst is a very qualitfied and well positioned candidate who I thought should have been a shoo in.  However, he is running (ran) a pathetic, amateurish campaign.  He will probably  lose today but lose or not, he certainly will be damaged by this poor effort and so will the consultant firms who ran it.

.

The Democrat candidate will get a lot of votes in the general elections as both Republicans

look very sorry in their petty mudslinging ads.  Even Domingo Garcia's campaign.is more dignified.

 

Democrats and public employees, teachers, unions NAACP, LULAC etc....plenty of organizations working for their party. They have been around a lot longer than the tea party.  Democrats just need better candidates if they want a chance.

 

This article basically sucked but I'm commenting anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

Just to clarify discussion, isn't this exactly what is happening in the district where Domingo Garcia is in the runoff?  Just on the Republican side instead of the Dem side?

MattL11
MattL11

I just don't understand the mind of the voter who thinks that David Dewhurst isn't quite conservative enough for them. I don't get it. As for the system, well, there's no fix. As long as the far-right sees a bogeyman behind every government initiative, there will be some opportunistic politician willing to debase him or herself to stoke those fears to get themselves into power.  

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

This is just part of a long march.  In 2008, the Radical Left fluked into power as a result of a backlash over Bush and the economic collapse that resulted from years of borrowing and spending.  Reminiscent of the 1930s, a grass roots tax revolt spontaneously developed when it became apparent that this new leadership were social democracy ideologues who had no intention of reducing spending through more debt issuance.  Just the opposite - it was debt pedal to the mettle time.  YEEEEE-HAWWWW!

 

In 2010, the TEA Partiers rolled over on them and ejected 70 congressmen and flipped 19 state legislatures.  It would have been worse however, there was no one "left" up at bat to kick out.

 

Now, it's time to thank the rest of these Dead-enders for their service and put in people who WILL begin the long slog toward extricating ourselves out of an economic hole the size of the Grand Canyon.  

 

 

xdarkridex
xdarkridex

This article is funny.  I'll sum up for those who didn't read the whole thing: 'WAAAAAA!  I live in a state that votes Republican and I don't like it and those meanies won't let us mess around with their primary system WAAAAAAA!'  Seriously.  Buy a helmet.  Move to New York.  Something.  

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Face it - Cruz was better organized and had a more coherent message to the Republican base that turns out for primary voting.  He may be another bullshit lawyer who will end up selling out to the highest bidder but he had a better game plan and better endorsements than the anointed one.

1morereason2carry
1morereason2carry

Why can't liberals just accept losing and change their own game instead of trying to rig the system in their favor?

 

MisterMean
MisterMean

 @rufuslevinWith all the "Tal-i-ban-Repub-li-can" whack jobs out there are you kidding?   You know that one of the biggest issues that I have championed is the issue of rising property taxes-two Republican Primaries had a non binding referendum on capping residential property value increases (the amount that the appraisal district can increase the value of your home for tax purposes) from 10 percent per year (which one former republican thought was too low-wanted a higher potential increase per year) to 5 percent or as “Rick the Prick Perry” called for 3 percent increase per year.   It passed over 98 percent-the voters wanted a lower residential property value cap   What did we get?   “WHY SEX!  BOTH TAXES AND SEX HAVE AND X IN THEM SO THEY MUST BE REFERING TO SEX!” said the republicans in control of both the governor, senate, and house.   The Republicans (by their own admission –long standing members of the party) think that the present social nut cases will hurt the party big time.   I agree-use to vote republican (and don’t give me this RINO crap) but they are too extreme for me.  To the "Tal-i-ban-Repub-li-can" whack jobs out there-stay out of my wallet and stay out of my bedroom (and my private affairs)

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

 @mavdog One possible bright point, a Cruz victory is seen as damaging Little Ricky's power.   Maybe we can move on from the Perry hegemony

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

 @RTGolden AMEN - Just look at the average term in office for incumbents for both parties.  The sheep bleat but still march to slaughter.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @Rixdanger That was back when we had fiscally conservative democrats.  Then the 1960s New Left Radicals took of the national party, and the fiscal Dems crossed over.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @Metroplexual The Left is going to suffer the cruelest cut this time around.  Hopefully, it will be fatal.

 

All that you list on the Dem activist side rely either directly or indirectly upon the private sector and job creators (to produce wealth and income in order for it to be taxed).  You cannot order me to the tongue of the wagon.

 

You see, your activists stand too far from the Sun, the source of sustenance - Free Enterprise.  And we have laden our magnificent engine with too many governors and we now carry such a mountain of debt we've had to run the ship up on the beach so it will not sink.  But this can and will get A LOT worse.  This the ordinary prudent man knows well.

 

Your rank and file are not ideologues like the activists you list.  They are mercenary and practical.

 

What I am asserting is that some cohort of your legions will break ranks come November. Your troops lack your blind dogmatism.  They are mercenaries. Practical people. Some segment of your voter blocks know you cannot hammer the golden goose like that.

 

And while I do not expect those who either work for the Public Wagon, have retired from it, contract to it.  ride in or hang on to the side of it will vote Republican . . . some percentage just won't vote.

 

Because they are practical in the sense that some largesse is better than none, which they see is where we are heading.  And they are mercenary in the sense they are not driven by allegiance but largesse.

 

So we will put the adults back in charge long enough to save the nation.

 

And as they say in the Navy - stand by heavy rolls as the ship turns.  But first we must pull it off the beach.  That means, everybody except the elderly, the lame, and minors have to get out and help pull.

Albert
Albert

 @MattL11 

 

There was a time in this country when suspicion of government motive was seen as a great thing, question authority and all that. Even the press was devoted to this great notion.

 

But then we found Hope, and now it's just, well, different.

 

But have heart, this American trait will be back in  force after November.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @MattL11 It is not the far right that is in play.  It is the center that has become disaffected by the Radical Left.

 

For it has been the Radical Left that has been in power since 2006.

 

Whether you like it or not, realize it or not, or just refuse to recognize it . . . The Left owns the predicament we are all in.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

@holmantx

In 2010, the TEA Partiers rolled over on them and ejected 70 congressmen and flipped 19 state legislatures.  It would have been worse however, there was no one "left" up at bat to kick out.....

True!

Now they are holding the GOP types feet to the Fire.because they expect the Party to do as they have been saying they were going to do  for years .

To bad for them even  the elected GOP are really beholden to the ones who are paying the real election / reelection  with campaign contributions and Lobbying cash to BRING HOME THE BACON  .

 

 

 

MisterMean
MisterMean

More like ignorance can be fixed (if you keep an open mind) but stupidity is forever. I had one rabid republican acquaintance tell me that if he had to accept facts that he would not be my friend.  “Oh I have to put my head in the ground because thinking makes my brain hurt.”   The "Tal-i-ban-Repub-li-cans” are usually ignorant and close minded social zealots who would fit well over in the Middle east.  Ted Cruz would be an excellent mullah.

CocksuckerHat
CocksuckerHat

 @MisterMean  Your dumb affectation of typing out "Taliban Republican" as "Tal-i-ban-Repub-li-can" every time makes you look like a fucking retard.

Chiggers
Chiggers

 @holmantx Would that there were such mythical adults as you so Biblically describe in your flowery prose.

 

Douche.

MattL11
MattL11

 @Albert It's not the questioning that bothers me. It's the crazy answers those questions always seem to generate. 

MattL11
MattL11

 @holmantx What "radical left" are you talking about?! The "radical left" has never been in power. Even the more liberal wing of the Democratic Party has been pushed to the right over the past 15-20 years. You're imagining things, trust me. 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

 @oakclifftownie our economic engines are flagging, we are losing altitude, and the airship can either land on a freeway or into the side of a hill.  But this big bad bitch is coming down.  Hopefully, somewhere we can offload all the debt in an orderly manner (declare chapter 11), and pull all the loopy governors off the engines so they'll run good.

 

Beats slamming it into the side of a hill.

Albert
Albert

 @Scruffygeist 

 

You're aware who dominates state legislatures and governorships, right?

 

Suddenly, the grassroots adage "all politics is local" seems so ominous.

MisterMean
MisterMean

 @CocksuckerHat 

I know that readers some readers (with limited intellect)  need the syllables spelled out so that they can get the association between the right wing nuts known as the Republican Tea Party vs their idols the Taliban.   If the shoe fits wear it.   By the way are you a Koch Sucker (a supporter of the Koch brothers)?

Albert
Albert

 @Chiggers 

 

Yes, they did, but somewhere along line the theory that rising tide lifts all boats, i.e. trickle-down, was misinterpreted by the left to mean that it trickles down from government.

 

And it does. They take in a dollar, and you get $.03 back.

Chiggers
Chiggers

 @Albert Actually, Al, it's more like the past 30 years. Ronnie Raygun and your beloved Maggie got the ball rolling, didn't they?

Albert
Albert

 @Chiggers 

 

I guess the past three years kind soured you on the "Hope" stuff, eh?

EdD.
EdD.

 @Bremarks  @Lorlee Ronald Reagan didn't have a state-issued birth certificate until 1991. He wouldn't even be able to vote for himself in that hypothetical primary today.

Bremarks
Bremarks

 @Lorlee

 Lorlee, Ronald Reagan couldn't win a Republican Primary today.

Lorlee
Lorlee

To give you some perspective.  Richard Nixon was more liberal than the three you name.  For goodness sakes he invented the EPA, opened China and tried to get national healthcare. 

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

 @MattL11  @holmantx Matt, you know better than to engage lunatics. Step away from the keyboard before he spills his Koolaid on yours.

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