Editorial note: Texpatriate applied for press credentials to both the Democratic and Republican conventions, but was only approved fort he former. Accordingly, we did not cover the GOP convention in detail earlier this month, but we will cover the Democratic State Convention in Dallas later this week. This will include the speeches and internal squabbles, such as the leadership election.
Statewide political conventions serve as coronations of the party’s slate of candidates, but it also serves a vital function in determining the leadership of the party. Specifically, each and every delegate present at the convention, spread throughout all 254 counties of the State, must select a Chair of their political party. For underdogs as extreme as the Texas Democrats, a delicate line must be walked at the convention, selecting a Chair who can both appeal to the base but remain pragmatic enough to be an advocate for the party’s principles in the leadup to the general election.
Two years ago, the Texas Democrats took a good step forward in selecting Judge Gilberto Hinojosa the the helm of their party. Hinojosa served in countless judicial and administrative positions in his native Cameron County before being first elected in 2012. By doing this, he has experience as both a politician and government official, thus ensuring his expertise does not begin and end with the full time partisans ever-present on the convention floor. Furthermore, Hinojosa maintains a pragmatic relationship with Statewide officials and has partnered rather seamlessly with Statewide candidates whose public political positions may be more centrist than the party base wants to hear.
For this board, however, the choice of Hinojosa over his opponent, local activist Rachel Van Os, is a rather easy one. Van Os is neither pragmatic nor experienced. She has served in absolutely zero elected or appointed positions beyond precinct chair and her rhetoric is not right for a political party looking to get back on its feet after 20 years in the wilderness. She is like the Tea Party wing of the Democratic Party, something we strongly urge the party to stay far, far away therefrom.
Recent campaign emails to delegates have simply spoken of broad platitudes such as “building from the ground up” or “grass roots.” We do not know what this really means, and we get the feeling that she doesn’t either. As such, this board would be much more comfortable sticking with the leader that we know, and respect.
Certainly, the Texas Democratic Party has not been without its fair share of disappointments. Not filling half the slots up for election this year to Texas’ two highest courts has been particularly rough, as has the plethora of vacancies for judicial posts in Harris County. But the Texas Democratic Party is not responsible for ineptitude at the local level, or even the unwillingness of local personalities to put their money where their mouth is, so to speak.
We have been particularly impressed by Hinojosa’s ability to consolidate and unite progressives throughout the State. While previous leadership in the State has been alleged as wholly owned subsidiaries of outside interest groups, Hinojosa allows for the party to stand on its own two feet. Still, we believe there is more to be done. While we have been impressed by the strides made by groups such as Battleground Texas, we believe the TDP must still assert its supremacy. Only with Hinojosa do we feel comfortable enough to trust that this will be done.
Accordingly, this board endorses Gilberto Hinojosa for re-election as Chairman of the Texas Democratic Party.
The Texas Editorial Board is comprised of Noah M. Horwitz & Olivia Arena of Austin, Sophia Arena of Houston, George Bailey of Boston and Andrew Scott Romo of New Orleans. Editorials represent a majority opinion of the board.