Civil rights

At the Texas convention, the Democrats presented the 2022 election as a new battle for civil rights

Democrats Julián Castro and Beto O’Rourke used their speeches at the Texas Democratic Convention in Dallas on Friday to point to former Texas political leaders like Governor Ann Richards, Congresswoman Barbara Jordan and President Lyndon B. Johnson as evidence of what awaits them if they can break the stranglehold Republicans have held on the state for the past 30 years.

O’Rourke, who is running for governor against Gov. Greg Abbott, said those leaders of the past must fight for civil rights, women’s rights and other freedoms that are now under attack from Republicans.

“My fellow Democrats, we are the heirs of their service, their sacrifice and their struggle and what we do with that legacy will determine our future,” O’Rourke told a crowd of several thousand convention delegates. “Everything we care about is at stake.”

O’Rourke said poll numbers have been improving since December — several recent polls have shown him about 6 percentage points behind Abbott — and the energy he’s seeing as he campaigns in the state indicates that the Democrats have a real chance of winning in November.

“I feel it traveling in this state and I see it in everything we can measure,” he said.

Just before O’Rourke took the stage, Castro reminded Democrats of what it was like to have Richards as governor in the early 1990s. He spoke of the state’s legacy of Democratic leaders who want help all Texans, regardless of background.

“I remember a time when we had leaders in this state who actually cared about everyone,” said Castro, who recalls meeting Richards when he was a teenager.

Castro is not running for office this year but remains a top draw for Democratic activists due to his 2020 presidential bid and tenure as the former president’s housing and urban development secretary. Barak Obama.

But while most Democrats spoke confidently of their victory in November, the national mood paints a different picture. With President Joe Biden’s approval numbers falling and inflation top of voters’ minds, Republicans are confident they’re in for a big November, especially in Texas.

At the Texas Republican Party convention in Houston in June, Abbott made it clear that he believed the strong economy in Texas under his leadership, coupled with the wave of border migration, would help him defeat O’ Rourke, whom he tried to link to Biden. at every opportunity.

“Working together, we’re going to beat the hell out of Beto and we’re going to keep Texas red up and down all the way through the Lone Star State ballot,” Abbott said in a June appearance.

Early voting in Texas is just over three months away from the start of midterm elections, which feature races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Republicans haven’t lost a statewide office in Texas since the 1990s.

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