A Post-Election Analysis with Texas Political Strategists

[ Silence ]>>I’m Evan Smith. I’m Editor-in-Chief and
CEO at the Texas Tribune. On behalf of the Tribune, and
the Texas Politics Project at the University
of Texas at Austin, and Professor Jim Henson,
who is our partner on this. I want to welcome you to this
program of panel discussions that will be a big debrief of
the 2012 Election, tied directly into a preview of the
2013 legislative session. Yes, it is almost here. The best free entertainment
going when the Capitol
rolls back into town. We look forward to
it very eagerly, and we know that to some degree,
what will happen from January to May of next year
will be driven by what we just saw
happen on Tuesday. And if you think
that 2012 elections and 2013 session don’t augur
something for the 2014 Elections and the 2016 Elections, well, you’re not really paying
enough attention, and we’ll try to help you link all
those things together end to end today. I want to tell you first and
foremost that we are here for the second election cycle
with the Politics Project, a very great partner of the
Tribune’s, the University of Texas, Texas Tribune
Poll is effectively managed out of the Texas Politics
Project, and Jim Henson and his partner in crime, Daron
Shaw, who you may have seen in a small cameo role
when Karl Rove was mad at the decision desk
on Fox the other night. Daron Shaw was in a corner there
trying to avoid being on camera. Daron and Jim have done the
Texas Tribune University of Texas Poll for
three years now. We’re very pleased to be
in partnership with them. Some of you, I know, were at the Kirk Watson-Dan Patrick
conversation, no tension at all between those two today. [ Laughter ] And no disagreement
at all on issues. Over the Austin Club, let
me tell you about a couple of Austin Club events that we’ll
be doing in the weeks coming up, whether you are a regular
attendee of those events or not, we welcome– we welcome
you to those events. Next Thursday morning,
November 15th, we have State Representative,
Bryan Hughes of Mineola, a declared candidate
for Texas speaker. These are all at
the Austin Club. They’re all 7:30 doors,
8:00 conversation. And you can RSVP on
the Tribune’s website. On the 19th, Monday,
one week from Monday, three incoming members of the
Texas house, Cecil Bell, Jr., Mary Gonzalez, and Giovanni
Capriglione, together as part of our Meet the New Guys series. On December the 6th,
we have Chairman of the Senate Higher
Education Committee, Kel Seliger at the Austin Club,
and in the following week, on December 13th, Barry
Smitherman, the Chairman of the Texas Railroad
Commission. Welcome at all of those. Please silence your
phones completely, although if you elect to
tweet and you can somehow get on the internet here
in the fortress, we ask that you use
the hash tag TribLive as we are collecting those
tweets in a feed and a stream, and we may very well storify the
tweets later today on our site. This conversation,
like the others today, will last for about 60
minutes, and then we’ll open it up for questions
with the audience. We may end up going
a little bit shorter on the conversation among
the five of us and longer on the Q&A, depending
upon how it goes, but please think
of good questions. We love to bring you
into the conversation. Later, the entire
thing is, of course, being video taped this panel
and the panels later today. All of that video will be
available on the Tribune site, and I think on the Politics
Project site as well. By the way, if you’re not aware,
if you’ve not received one of these later this
afternoon, my pal, Jim Henson, will be moderating two panels. At 1 o’clock, a panel
on policy issues and the next session featuring
Former Education Commissioner, Robert Scott, Former Transportation Commission
Chairwoman, Deirdre Delisi, Former Health and Human
Services Executive Commissioner, Albert Hawkins, and Former LCRA
General Manager, Tom Mason, on education, transportation,
health, and water, four big ticket issues
in the next session. And then finally, the last thing
that you want to hear, I’m sure, reporters guessing on. At 2:30 today, Jim
will moderate a panel, Tim Eaton of the
American-Statesman, Ross Ramsey of the Tribune, Patti Hart of the Houston
Chronicle, and Gromer Jeffers of the Dallas Morning News,
and we welcome you to come back after lunch for all of those. Now, it’s my pleasure to
introduce our panelists, four distinguished
consultants, political thinkers, people who played a significant
role in the way so many of the races on the ballot
this cycle played out. And I think they’ll mentally
talk about what happened and why, but I think
they will also be asked to look ahead they know and
try to predict what it means for Texas, not just
in the next sessions but politically and beyond. To my immediate left is Jordan
Berry, one of the big stars of this last election cycle, who managed the successful state
house campaigns of Bryan Hughes, Charles Perry, Scott Sanford,
David Simpson, Drew Springer, James White, and Bill
Zedler this session. I think his record, we
determined, was eight and two. Eight and two which in baseball
and other sports is pretty good. Only in the case of
Jim Landtroop and– in the primary, and David Pineda
in the general did Jordan come out on the losing side. The founder and principal of five-year old
Berry Communications. He offices out of the
Starbucks, the 10th in Congress. [ Laughter ] Or, at least, that’s
how it seems to me. He began his career as an
intern at the Capitol in 2003 and served as vice-chair
of the College Republicans at Texas State University where he earned undergraduate
and master’s degrees. On his left is Carolyn Boyle
who is the volunteer chair of the Texas Parent PAC, which says it had its best
election cycle ever in 2012, endorsing eight incumbent state
lawmakers who won on Tuesday, along with 19 legislators,
including Wendy Davis, J.D. Sheffield, Philip
Cortez, and Chris Paddie. Only nine challengers
the PAC endorsed lost. Ms. Boyle is a veteran
education advocate and activist having
served as a PTA leader in the Austin Independent School
district and a coordinator of the Coalition for Public
Schools and Anti-Voucher Group. A former staffer in
the communications and marketing department of
the Texas Education Agency, Ms. Boyle has undergraduate and
master’s degrees in Journalism from the University
of Texas at Austin. On her left is Ed Espinosa, a
long time democratic consultant who produced direct
mail this year for State Representative Elect,
Mary Gonzalez of El Paso, and US Representative Elect
Joaquin Castro of San Antonio, as well as the successful
Proposition 1 initiative here at the medical school,
which passed with nearly 55 percent
of the vote. He also ran Nick Lampson’s
unsuccessful campaign for Congress. In a career in politics spending
20 years, he has also served as the Western States
Political Director for the Democratic
National Committee. And I think very relevant in
the discussion we’re going to have today, helped coordinate
Latino mobilization and outreach for Harry Reid and Michael
Bennet’s senate campaigns. Ed has an undergraduate degree
from UCLA and studied as well at the London School
of Economics. Finally, Jason Johnson,
who is chief strategist of Ted Cruz’ campaign
for the US Senate. We have a pinup of
Jason’s likeness above Jay Root’s
desk in our office. [ Laughter ] As the chief strategist
of the Cruz’ campaign, Jason is thus credited fairly
or not for masterminding– with masterminding his headline
making, earth-shaking victory over David Dewhurst in
the Republican Primary. As chief stra– he– pardon
me, he formally served as chief of staff to Atty. Gen. Greg Abbot, who will
perhaps avail himself of Jason’s services in a
governor’s race at some point. I suspect your rates will
have gone up by then. And as communications
director for them, State Senator Todd Staples, please join in welcoming
Jordan Barry, Carolyn Boyle, Ed Espinosa, and Jason Johnson. [ Applause ] Let me begin by asking each
of you, beginning with Jordan and we’ll go down the panel, to characterize this
election cycle. It is easy for some people
at the national level to talk about what happened with
the presidential race, very close race, that the
president built what Ron Brownstein calls a collision
of the ascendant, Latinos, African-Americans,
Asian-Americans, young people, gays, and lesbians, to carry
him over the line in many states that quite frankly I
and a lot of people in this room suspected
the president might have a problem winning. But in Texas, it was not a
terribly competitive cycle. The Cruz-Dewhurst fight
in the Democratic– pardon me, the Republican
Primary, the Davis-Shelton race in the Texas Senate, the Gallego-Canseco
Congressional Race notwithstanding, we’re
pretty much where we started. So, Jordan, try to do your
best in making this exciting and characterize what
happened in Texas this cycle.>>I think overall,
conservatives– the conservative movement
in Texas clearly won and the Primary kind
of set that in stone. We saw plenty of seats where
folks were either paired or you had conservative
challengers, or anything else like that, even moderates
challenging conservatives, and the conservatives
clearly came out on top. I think, as a movement,
we were organized. We felt good about it. It’s something that we
knew that had to happen. We had to draw line in the
sand, and we got out and did it. Nationally, I mean,
I’m severely depressed. There’s a lot of soul-searching
and I think also, as a movement, we have to go to the
mountain top and we have to decide among ourselves
what was our argument and where did we fail on that?>>Right.>>And, I think that that’s
not going to happen overnight. We have to really sit down
and have that discussion.>>We’ll come around
to the presidential.>>OK.>>I promise you we’ll talk
about that, but with regard to Texas, you say
conservatives did well at beating back challenges
from moderates, did well at– essentially, you didn’t say
this, but I’ll put these words in your mouth, reaffirming
the victories that you made, the gains you made in 2010.>>Exactly, I mean,
specifically, you have Charles Perry where he
took on Delwin Jones and he won.>>Yeah.>>Delwin came back, he did it
again, even at a bigger margin. David Simpson took
on Tommy Merritt.>>Tommy Merritt.>>Tommy Merritt came back. David, he did it again, and
we did it about bigger margin.>>So the fact that the
democrats, to some degree here, if they have anything to
crow about are crowing about being plus seven
relative to the party breakdown in the house, let– what
has been the case now, going into next session,
it’ll be 95-55. Do you think the
democrats are wrong to think that that’s a victory
for themselves?>>Well, I mean, you
have to start somewhere. And if they can continue
to chip away.>>Right.>>We have seen this before
where they chipped away.>>Right.>>And the next thing we
knew was a tight house.>>Yeah.>>So, you know–>>Right.>>I certainly don’t
mind them realizing that they did something and
the receipts that we went after David Pineda was a good
example that we couldn’t guess.>>Had been a republican
seat before and now, we’ll go democratic.>>Correct, yeah.>>Carolyn, the Parent PAC
obviously supported a bunch of the moderate candidates. What used to be called
moderate before that became a cussword in Texas. You all supported many of
the moderate candidates to whom Jordan referred,
you won a bunch of races, lost some races, but I
mentioned there’s no way that you characterize the cycle
the same way that Jordan did.>>So, do you think I could
kind of counter a comment, it’s like early on, you said that it truly wasn’t a
very competitive cycle.>>Yes please, attack
me, I’m fine– great– I’m great with that, honestly. It’s not a problem.>>Yeah, I’m still kind
of stuck on that comment that it wasn’t a
competitive cycle. It was very competitive
because there were so many seats open, you know. There were many,
many open seats. And really good people
chose to be candidates. And because there were so many
seats, so many people talking, you know, it was a real
conversation in Texas. And there was so much discussion about public schools
and public education.>>Which I know is a huge
issue for your group.>>Yes. And so it was really
good for the people of Texas that there was so
much discussion about public education. And it was because the
cycle was very competitive, there were so many people.>>But it’s like–
Carolyn, by the time you got down to the general election
when you had more than 200 races on the ballot, there are
probably about a dozen that were truly competitive
party to party, most of that you’re referring to
happened in the primary, right?>>No. No, there were just tons of extremely competitive
people that– you know, that were
campaigning very hard. And it was interesting
talking with the candidates. So many of the candidates
did a lot of canvassing, and truly learned what
the people care about. And everybody told me, public
education is the top topic and it came about because
of this competitive cycle.>>Ed, you obviously
were involved in a race that we all thought
if there was going to be another congressional race
that would be competitive other than Canseco and Gallego, it
would be Lampson and Webber, it turned out not to be as
competitive as all that.>>Yeah, it was a
heartbreak loss. Right, if 2010 was a way
of election, you could say that 2012 was a bit
more competitive, maybe not statewide. But the difference between the
1994 wave and the 2010 wave is that the 2010 wave was
right before redistricting year [phonetic]. Now, there weren’t that many
competitive races this year because the system
has been gamed to benefit the party of power. Now, no doubt, Texas is
a conservative state. And we’re going to see
about 60 percent mark for republicans in some years. But by that same–
but on the other hand, you should see 40 percent
democratic representation. We don’t see that. And with alliance the way
they are, we can’t see that. So, in the places where we can
pick and choose those battles, we can find the candidates,
we have good candidates, we have good structure. Gallego is a good
example of that, look, there were two competitive
congressional races and we split on those races.>>Yeah.>>There was one
competitive senate race and the democrats won it and the
democrats didn’t lose a single seat in the house. So, in those places
where we could compete–>>Yeah.>>– we did compete. But we still have
some work to do. Now, in the senate race, you
know, the issue we have there is that everybody thought
that Dewhurst was going to be the nominee and if–>>Well, not everybody. You’ll look to your
left, in a second. [ Multiple Speakers & Laughter ]>>And when you see
someone who has that type of name recognition in
those relationships, but more importantly, that
type of funding, that’s– it’s tough to draw any
candidates in that race who were willing to
go up against that. So, Cruz was successful
in managing that through the primary, but
we weren’t equipped to be able to compete with that in general.>>Can I challenge that before
I go to Jason, you know, the old line from the
poker tables in Las Vegas. You cannot win if you do not
play, seems operative here. The democrats chose not
to run serious candidates or any candidates in a stunning
number of races in the cycle, you know, the Lampson and the
Gallego examples I think are the exception that prove the rule, that when you recruit
good candidates, you are potentially competitive. And again, you split
that but look, Lampson was a good candidate
regardless of how he ended up. But in a lot of these
races and a lot of the congressional races, and
a lot of the legislative races, and in the US senate race, the democrats did not do
an especially good job of candidate recruitment and
I wonder if you would speak to that as it relates to
whether the democrats are going to truly be competitive in
the next couple of cycles.>>The work we have to do
is more than cycle to cycle. Realize, the republicans in
Texas have a decades at least, maybe two decades’ worth of
organizing an infrastructure. We have to build that
almost every cycle. And until we can
get to a point– you have to have three things
to run a successful campaign, you have to have
a good candidate, you have to have good
funding, and you have to have good structure. It’s like a stool
with three legs. Well, if you don’t have
one of those elements, then the stool doesn’t stand. But it’s a chicken
and an egg argument.>>Right.>>Which one comes first?>>Candidates say I can’t run
if I don’t have the money, but you can’t get the money if
you don’t have a good candidate.>>Right.>>So ideally, a self-funder
who’s got organization around the state would be
a great place to start.>>Right. Michael Watts for
US Senate would be the– is–>>It would be a dream.>>Jason, watch out
for that, 2018, it would be a dream,
maybe for you, right? OK, so speak to me, Jason, about
the success that you all had in defeating Governor Dewhurst
which really up until March, April, to a lot of
people looked like, it was never going to happen.>>Sure. I think the
takeaway from the Cruz primary and runoff campaign were
in conventional wisdom, I suppose we could say, was
defeated is also the same as by and large what we saw
on the national level and here’s what I mean. Money still matters, obviously, it is one of the three
stools of the leg. But by and large and
I would say starting with our senate campaign, up
and down the ballot, the reality and I think this
is a very positive, this is a very healthy
thing for our republic. The quality candidates who
could best make the argument and who were willing to
communicate with the voters with money, without money
anywhere in between, those who won the arguments by
and large won their elections.>>Yeah, regardless of
whether they had a disadvantage on resources.>>Yeah, you look at
the presidential race, I don’t know what the count is, but how much money was
spent by the Super PACs? I mean, I think at the end
of the day that, you know, if you look at all of the republican money spent
behind the presidential, Romney may have and I haven’t
caught up on the numbers, probably had a funding
advantage. It really didn’t
make a difference. President Obama made
the better argument, was the better communicator.>>Was that it, Jason,
or was it the case in the presidential race
as in the senate case where the challenger who was
ultimately defeated with someone who was viewed as insufficiently
conservative, fairly or not. I mean, I think that there
are interesting similarities between Governor Dewhurst
and Governor Romney.>>How about you make–>>Well, in that, the attacks
against them were very similar, what you heard about one, you
often heard about the other. And that maybe, there
was not enthusiasm on– in the part of the party that
is most energized right now for their candidates.>>Well certain,
I’ve seen that– you probably know the exact
number but I think I’ve seen that three million
pure republicans turned out and voted. And if that’s the case,
that’s certainly something to follow up and study on.>>Right.>>But I’m not going
to sit in judgment of how conservative
Mitt Romney is or isn’t. But what I can say is that
he did not make the argument, he did not convince a lot of folks based upon
their definition of what is conservative, which
I think is a real question go forward, what is conservatism
and what does it mean in the year 2012 and forward? But he simply did not
make the argument. The money without
question sustained him with the way the republic and presidential
primaries were set up–>>Yeah.>>– and he made it through. But at the end of the
day moving past that, even assumed there was some
of that republican enthusiasm, the reality is with one
exception in that first debate, that the chief communicator for the republican ticket
was a B minus next to one of the greatest communicators that I believe we can
all agree we’ve seen in the history of
American politics.>>Is there a lesson
for Texas as– I’ll stay with you for
a second here on this, a lesson for the Republican
Party or a lesson for Texas with regards to the Cruz
candidacy beyond the idea that the guy with the
better message or the one who could articulate it
better is going to win.>>Well, I still think that’s
a piece of it and let me– but yes, but I want to say why. And that’s probably
where we’ll head.>>Yeah.>>We have some very
serious challenges. Not just at the federal
level but as Carol knows, you know, at the state level. And there are no easy answers. There are no easy solutions. Some of it is not cut and dried. There aren’t binary choices. And that’s going to require
that both sides have the ability to truly communicate
with their constituents and truly have a discussion about what are the
policy options that are on the table outside
the typical labels of that’s a simple liberal idea, that’s a simple conservative
idea. And therefore, I truly do
believe that the quality of the candidate, the
quality of the officeholder, the willingness of the
officeholder which by the way, I think this is a big piece of what has motivated the
Tea Party, the willingness of the officeholder to
have an actual dialogue about what it is
they’re considering. Not assuming that because I
have the title with senator or state representative,
or governor, or lieutenant governor,
I just know. And I’ll make that decision, and then I’ll package
my commercials, and I’ll package my
press conference, and you guys will
just be happy with it.>>So Senator Cruz is
planning on working with Democrats in compromising.>>Without question I will
give you his quote exactly. I’m not speaking
on behalf of him but I’m sure you’ve heard
him say that his position on compromise is no different
than President Reagan’s, what do you do when
you’re offered half a rope? You take it and you
go back tomorrow. And recently, I believe on
election night and in a couple of interviews the day after
the election, he sincerely said that if the President means what
he said in his victory speech, he’s excited and absolutely
willing to work with him. [ Inaudible Remark ] We’re beyond the point of who gets political
credor– credit at this point.>>Yeah.>>And I’m sure that Ed
would argue that, well, republicans are in
trouble anyway because of demographic shifts.>>We’ll get there. Believe me.>>I’ve heard that a lot.>>Yeah, right, yeah.>>Let’s assume that’s
true for the purpose– these problems are
sufficiently critical–>>Yeah.>>– such that we have to move
forward with some solutions. And, you know, President
Obama can’t run again. I for one don’t care
how much credit he gets. We need to solve some
problems and that is going to take working with
republicans, democrats, and independents.>>Jordan, let me ask you to
pick up on something Jason said about the Republican
Party and the degree to which there’s a war going
on within the Republican Party. The Republican Party is going
to have to have a conversation with itself about
what face it wants to put forward going
down the road. Do you think that there’s
an issue here where some of the defeats that you all
sustained at the national level, particularly, where a reflection
of how that wars is keeping you from winning, you know, the Tea
Party candidates who may be– beat establishment candidates,
in Missouri, Indiana, I know those were extreme cases
for the obvious reason but as in the cycle previously,
Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, the woman in Delaware,
Christine O’Donnell, you know, democrats’ won senate race is
in North Dakota and Montana that I suspect a lot
of people thought going into election day were going
to be real stretches for them. Is this a manifestation of the Republican Party
at war with itself?>>I think it’s a
multifaceted answer. First of all, the Republican
Party just isn’t this party that everybody signs up ’cause
they all agreed to 10 points. People join the Republican
Party for different reasons. I was raised a democrat my
whole life in East Texas. I joined– I initially was
attracted to social issues, I stuck around because of the
fiscal issues even more so, once I learn that debate. But I think it depends
on regional and the Republican Party, sure,
it’s certainly much stronger in certain parts
of Texas versus–>>Yeah.>>– the urban where
we’re slipping away. But I mean when it comes
to like the Indiana race or the Missouri race,
it didn’t matter if you’re Republican
or Democrat. If you’re going out
making stupid comments, and then you’re double-down– doubling down on them,
you’re going to lose. And those guys certainly
made stupid comments and they had no clue how
to back away, I mean, the idea that you can look at
old female and tell her, “Well, if you were raped,
just– that was your plan, and it’s all planned
out according to plan.” I mean, if you’re
going to do that, it doesn’t matter
what party you’re in, you’re going to go
down in flames.>>So the conservative win
of the party right now would like to have Dick Lugar back. If they can build
a time machine, they like to put Dick Lugar back
in the senate if they could.>>Well look, I have no
regrets of standing on principle and going and taking people
out in the Republican Party because they’re not doing
what they were put in to do.>>Yeah.>>And so, I have no regrets that they elected a
more conservative person to put in the primary–>>Yeah.>>– and the primary
for the general election. But they just fumbled
the ball later down–>>And in Texas, your side seems
to be winning that fight anyway. Conservatives are winning.>>I think we’re
winning the fight. And the thing I’m most proud
of is when I came on in ’03 and started interning and
volunteering for campaigns, as I said, “Wow, this
is such a small turnout. 6,000 voters for the
Republican Primary and there’s really
no general election? Why aren’t we expanding
the playing field?” And I kept hearing,
“You can’t explain– expand the playing field. The people who are going to show
up, they’re already showing up.” And I just– from my experience
as a child in East Texas, I knew that well, there
were certain people who are never being communicated
with about the arguments. And one thing that I’m
really proud to say is just that we’ve expanded the number–>>Right.>>– of people who show up
in the Republican Primary. And I feel like nearly ever
race I get involved in, we figure out a way. We’ve already broke some
records two years ago and we did well this
year in the primary. But we’ll continue to
reach out, we’ll continue to build coalitions,
and we’re making sure that our message is being heard.>>Ed, on the flip side of that for the democrats is the
robust Latino turnout during this cycle. President won 71 percent. That’s the statistic
I’ve seen is 71 percent of the Latino vote
nationally other than President Clinton in ’96. That’s far and away the most– the highest percentage
of Latino vote that a Democratic
candidate president has won. Governor Romney, I
think, was a 27 percent down from Senator
McCain at 31 percent, down from George W.
Bush at 40 percent. If there’s– you know,
there may be many things that you take away
that are positive from the overall campaign in
this cycle, but one seems to be that the Hispanic community
is with you all and not with the republicans into
the degree that it’s growing, that may give you some optimism
in even a place like Texas.>>Well, absolutely. And when you communicate
with the Latino community, the voters will show up.>>To get in the flip
side of what Jordan said about communicating
with conservatives, it might not have
turned out before. You’re making in-rows and
getting people to turn out.>>Well, that’s right. And this is part of the
hurdle that we see in Texas. People always talk about the
sleeping giant and that one day, it’s going to wake up and
it’s going to vote in numbers. But it’s only going to wake
up if somebody pokes at it and somebody stirs it, and
there’s an organization, and a candidate, and
a financing structure to actually facilitate that. We saw that in the 23rd
Congressional District. And the results went our way. We saw that in Nevada. We’ve seen it in
California for years.>>Of course in the 23rd, Ed,
you had two Hispanic candidates who had a Hispanic Republican
and a Hispanic Democrat.>>You did. But the issue that
I’m getting to is that it’s not always about– sometimes, it goes bigger than
that and it goes down to brand because when it comes to, well,
what is it Latinos care about? People say to me, “Hey, we want
to put together a soccer team and we’re going to do an
event with the pinata.” And I’m like, “Come
on, all right?” We care about the same things
everybody else cares about, economy, education, better
way of life, strong future. But, it’s the tone that makes a
difference in how people react. You can say– you
can be with people on the same issues all the time. But if your rhetoric is
perceived as hostile, if your candidates come across
as ones that just don’t connect with the community, that’s
going to be a problem. And, if you have another
candidate that it– who is not only identifying
more with the community but engaging them to participate
in the electoral process and has the ability to do that,
then it’s going to make gains. And I think that the 23rd
is a good example of that.>>And so you’re
hopeful as the population of Texas hurdles inexecrably
toward majority status that it’s not overstated, you
think to say that that’s going to benefit the democrats
in the–>>It’s not overstated, but
it won’t happen by itself. And we– again, we–
it’s those three things. We keep having to come back to. We have to have a good candidate with a good structure
that is funded. And if we have those three
things, then it will come along. It’s not easy.>>Right.>>There’s no silver
bullet, right? There’s no one solution to it.>>Right.>>Carolyn, the issue of
education that you have been so active in promoting is not
really a partisan issue, right? This is one where democrats and republicans see the
world in a similar way. And of course, coming out of
the last session with the cuts to public education
that were sustained, a lot of people thought that
would be the big rallying cry. If one issue was going to be a
driver in this election cycle, they thought it would be that. How do you see that
issue playing out going into the next session–
coming out of this election, going to the next session?>>So I do think that it’s good
that so many candidates talked about public ed as
a part of the– a campaign, and it truly was
a top issue all over Texas. And fortunately, parents
really spoke up, you know, the parents of children in
public schools were angry, cutting 5.4 billion dollars
last year was a terrible action. So I do think, on
the campaign trail, so many of these
winning candidates, whether they were liberal,
conservative, moderate, heard from those parents. And probably, will be
coming with marching orders. Take care of our kids. Take care of our public schools. It’s the key for a job
creation and prosperity in Texas to have good schools.>>But, of course,
we had rallies at the Capitol during
the last session, 20,000 or more people come
marching on the Capitol in support of public education. But it didn’t seem,
to my eyes, at least, that policy inside the
building was impacted as much as you all hoped it would be by
those numbers coming together.>>Some places, it was a
really big issue, you know, in terms of protecting a real
advocate like Wendy Davis. You know, that was a– you know, it was the top issue
in that campaign.>>Do you think education
was what saved her?>>Yes. I mean, it was
extremely important. People just rallied. The parents rally
to support to Wendy and there also were
just a number of key truly competitive races
where a person who was perceived as being anti-public
schools lost. People like John Garza,
Sid Miller, you know, there were a number of
very important races that the public school
supporters came together and kicked out a person.>>Jason, I wonder if you would
comment on the Davis race. You and I had an exchange
this morning by email in which you reminded me that
you’d actually worked on some of Mark Shelton’s
campaigns previously. Do you think, as Ms. Boyle does, that education would carry
Wendy Davis over the line?>>I don’t know much about
Senator Davis’ campaign or race but I think it’s a safe
assumption that the role that she played in the education
debate would have certainly helped to motivate her
natural base in constituency. And that’s a very
important part of a campaign. However, I think and I give
this very important disclosure in caveat, I have not
kept up very specifically with the state legislative
races district by district. However, I think it is
true that with regard to senate district 10 that she
ran essentially in the district that she drew with
the core of those map.>>Right.>>And I think that
the real lesson across the legislative races
is essentially when you look at how those districts
were drawn, the republicans won the
republican districts and the democrats won
the democrat districts.>>Of course. Jason, I’ll very politely push
back on you and point out that in that district, she had
no libertarian this time to take votes away
from the republican as she did four years ago. President did significantly
worse in Tarrant County and in that district specifically
than he did four years ago.>>Certainly.>>And she was running
against somebody–>>That district four years ago.>>Well, she was running
against somebody from Fort Worth as opposed to somebody
from Arlington, you know. She actually had many more
reasons to lose this time and yet even though this
was her district or the district that they drew–>>I think the numbers
certainly benefited her. However, it was conventional
wisdom in this town that she would be defeated.>>That she would
probably be defeated.>>And again, I didn’t
follow the campaign closely.>>Right.>>But again, just from the
outside and I certainly don’t like it when people will come
in after with the benefit of 20, you know, hindsight 20-20
and throw the bombs. [ Multiple Speakers ] But again, as a side
by side comparison, simply the commercials I saw
posted on y’all’s website, et cetera, it certainly looks like Senator Davis ran
an excellent campaign.>>Ran the better campaign.>>She ran a better campaign and she’s a very
attractive candidate and an articulate officeholder.>>Come back around, Jason,
to what Ed said, obviously, one of the reasons that
Senator Cruz has gotten so much attention, if you
were Senator Schwartz coming from Texas, I’d suspect
he might not have gotten as much attention. But there was a lot of
discussion on the fact that he has Hispanic origin,
you know, Cuban-American. And at a time when
the republicans as we’ve said have
had some challenges within the Hispanic community
and especially in Texas where the old Xavier
Rodriguez rule or the Victor Carrillo rule
was said to be in effect that repub– Hispanics couldn’t
win a republican primary overstated of course but
there was some germ in history that maybe spoke
to the challenges that republican Hispanics had. Is he now going to
be the flag carrier for republicans among Hispanics and does his success maybe give
you some counterpoint of view to what Ed said about the
challenge of ethnicity in part?>>First and foremost, he’s
going to be the flag carrier for any and everyone who truly
wants to tackle this debt and deficit that we have.>>He will be a senator
who happens to be Hispanic as opposed to a Hispanic
senator in that respect.>>There’s no doubt that the
population, demographic trends that we see not only in
Texas around the country but especially in Texas are
very important to the future of politics but frankly, as a
side note, it is who we are.>>Yup.>>I’m– As we discussed a
little before this panel, you know, I for one am
very careful about offering up these simple labels and
characterizations about what is “the Hispanic community.”>>And that’s not
any more monolithic than the anglo community.>>No, and Ed made a comment a
moment ago about the, you know, parties and however
you characterized it and he followed by, you
know, we care about X, Y, and Z. And I found
it very interesting, we did do a little
survey research and when you ask the
open-ended question of likely general
election voters of what’s the most
important issue to you? There was essentially no
difference based upon ethnicity. And by the way, immigration
hardly even registered, either with Hispanic,
likely Hispanic voters, or likely general election
voters regardless of ethnicity. It was jobs, the lack
of jobs, economy. So– But yes, I mean,
it’s recognized that I won’t challenge your
characterization too much though I do believe that now a senator like Cruz would probably still
get some attention given the fact that it was a huge–
perceived huge upset–>>Right.>>– in the state of Texas against the then
perceived establishment.>>And you’re right, we
care about the same issues. But it’s the way that
the parties are branded within a certain community. You know, the interesting
thing about Ted Cruz is– you’re also right, he didn’t
run as a Latino candidate, he ran as a conservative
republican and that’s what really
elevated him passed Dewhurst. Unlike say Marco Rubio,
for example, who also ran as a conservative candidate but
had a much stronger connection to the Cuban-American
community in Florida and showed up to Washington as a
conservative republican but somebody who’s also well
known among Hispanics-Latinos in political circles. Cruz is probably– would probably benefit
if he developed more of a relationship there
but I suspect that he will over the next six
years, organically.>>Let us not– you mentioned
the Xavier Rodriguez example and so obviously stating the
obvious, it is a fact that “the Tea Party” in
the state of Texas did in fact elect the first Hispanic
senator from the state of Texas. And so there’s no
question about whether or not republicans are
conservatives, you know, place some– you know, have– they will vote for the
candidate regardless of the color of their skin. There is a legitimate question
go forward about that branding that Ed mentions and this
is whether or not regardless of the part– you
know, your party or if your last name is
Hispanic, or Latino, or Anglo, whether or not republicans and democrats will
be able to compete–>>Yeah.>>– competitively amongst that
community when it comes to vote.>>Jordan.>>Just been a few
years younger, I just have a little
different perspective and I think there are other
things that are going on.>>Not that much younger.>>That’s right. [ Laughter ] Jason. There are other
things that are going on that I don’t even think
the folks older than me get but my generation sees, I
mean– it’s just a fact. The Hispanics are assimilating
so quick in our culture, I don’t think that they’re
going to view themselves as necessarily Hispanic,
or this, or that, people– my generation, we’re
all marrying each other. I mean, the idea that we’re
just going to have this group of Hispanics over here, whites
over here, blacks over here, folks– everyone is getting
together, it’s changing. And I think that it’s
going to continue to make people vote their values
and not look at themselves as I’m a part of a racial
group or a tribe and I think that that’s just
wishful thinking on some democrat organizers’
parts that Hispanics are going to continue to come
here and their children and their grandchildren are
going to view themselves of having much of any connection
to Mexico more than I do to Ireland except if
a soccer game is on. And I just think that the
changes are happening so quick and that’s something I’m
personally looking forward to is that my generation does not
care, will not view themselves as that, and it’s
all going to change.>>Let me roll this
into the next session. So, taking what we
just talked about, so here’s how we’ve
characterized what the results are, what they mean. We have a session beginning
in just a couple of months. I visited with Senator
Watson and Senator Patrick at the Austin Club this
morning and I asked about whether specifically
on the issue of Latinos and republicans, where
republicans talking about, you know, inclusiveness
in the Big 10 but then putting issues
forward whether it’s voter ID, redistricting, sanctuary
cities and state tuition. The– many members, at least
of the Texas senate are talking about kicking in state
tuition to the curb from a policy standpoint in the next session
whether it actually happens. Is there a disconnect
between on the one hand, the new inclusiveness of the
republican party with regard to Hispanic candidates
and on the other hand, the legislation put forward
and Senator Patrick said, “I actually think that a
very big issue for Latinos in Texas is education.” Obviously, as chair of public
education, he’d say that. He said, “I think that– that’s not an issue that is
really related to ethnicity so much, it’s just opportunity.” Carolyn, let me start
with you on that because you’re an
education advocate. What do you think about that?>>So in terms of this– it
to being a top priority to–>>Yeah.>>– parents in general.>>Yeah.>>I mean, clearly, the
people of Texas want to have strong public schools. And it’s really job one
for the Texas legislature. And so probably,
it should just kind of a jump up as the top issue. And in the past week, I’ve been
talking with a lot of parents about what’s coming up. And what they’re telling me is that it’s important
not to get distracted. Not to get distracted
by privatization schemes and using public money for
private school vouchers, you know, that the folks at
the Capitol need to concentrate on strong public
schools all over Texas.>>Yeah. So you’re expecting
to hit back against any plan for choice for vouchers
that Senator Patrick or others may promote
during the session?>>Truly because in Texas–
I mean, clearly, you know, if you look at the children of
Texas currently, it’s about– 94 percent of them all
go to public schools. And job one is to be
sure that everyone of those schools
is a great school and it cannot be a great school
if you’re cutting, you know, huge amounts of money,
5.4 billion dollars.>>Senator Patrick’s
argument, Ms. Boyle, is that some schools fail and
parents shouldn’t be locked in to failing schools, they should have other
options, you know. You reject it.>>Typically, in Texas, schools
can turn around very quickly. All it takes is a
terrific principal, teachers who are really
good, and the resources. And so, you know, in the
past 10 years, we’ve proven with the Texas accountability
system, a school can turn around very, very quickly.>>Jason.>>This is fascinating
to me because I think that herein lies maybe a
predictor for the democrat party when we talk about
“blocks of voters.” When we first started, I
mentioned, you know, my belief and my experience and part of the passion behind
the Tea Party is, “Don’t tell me what I believe. Don’t tell me you’re
voting a certain way just because you have a title. Let’s sit down and talk about–>>Yeah.>>– accountability.” And you mention– you let
off the segment with voter ID and now, you’re talking
about school choice or–>>Right.>>– Carolyn’s preferred
term, vouchers.>>Yeah.>>And it’s very
interesting if you look at honest survey research
in the State of Texas and I’ve seen a lot of it
on both of those issues.>>Yeah.>>That on both issues in
the Hispanic community, in the partisan labeled
democrat, lower socioeconomic ladder, school choice has tremendous
support among democrats, among Hispanics, among Texans
with income under 50,000, among Texans with
income under 25,000.>>Yup.>>And voter ID, 70 plus
percent of Texans regardless, slice it anyway you want
to slice it, support it. Yet, the political leaders for
whatever reason, used that– those issues as a rallying cry
about partisanship and pro– you’re for schools, you’re
against schools, et cetera, and it’s clearly successful. But there are two issues wherein
I can show you where the leaders in Austin are lock step– are out of step with their
natural constituencies.>>So your expectation,
Jason, is that the push by Senator Patrick and possibly
Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst and the governor
has been quite vocal on his advocacy for choice. That’s going to be a big
issue in the next session.>>I have no clue. I’ve worked on some of those
issues several years ago and I would suggest that
there is no more challenging, no more complicated, no
more passion-infused issue, if you will, when the
legislature is in session. The education– education
funding in policy–>>Right.>>– and I would never try to
predict what’s going to happen.>>Of the folks who
you worked for, many of the conservatives
you elected, are these folks who are likely to be
supportive of the school choice?>>I think there’s
a major disconnect between the Austin education
leaders, and the local teachers, and the districts
that I’ve been too. And I’m known as a
consultant who actually goes into the district, I
attend several meetings, I just sit there and observe, I
get on the ground and I’ll talk to teachers, and I think, David
Simpson is a good example. David Simpson voted against
the budget, gave a speech, wrote an op-ed “I did
it because I did not like the budget cuts,
the education. I did not think they were fair.” And then, the education
community from Austin goes after David Simpson
in his campaign. And I would wave up and down
and say, “Hold on, you’re going after David even though he
voted against the budget.” Because he said– and he says,
it’s because of education cuts, he’s going to talk to the
teachers, he stood with them but you’re still
going after him? Why are you really
going after him? How are you really
going after him? He is clearly a good advocate
and like him, hate him, love him, whatever, you get
them on your side on something and rest assured you can sleep
a little bit better ’cause you know he’s working on the issue. And for them to go
after him, and I saw it with the other people, with the
education community in Austin, I wanted to go after
Charles Berry but he clearly had all the
local teachers’ support.>>But– And so, are they likely
known to support some move on choice in public ed? Or are they– you know, ’cause
there are some discussion that this may be an
issue on which democrats and some rural republicans
actually have common ground and even if it’s not the case
in the Senate, in the House at least, they maybe
able to stall or completely block an effort
to get some voucher bill or a choice bill pass.>It’s hard to say, I mean, I work for several
different individuals who have different districts–>>Different points of view.>>– who have different
points of view and–>>What are you hearing?>>– it’s hard to say
but I think conservatives in general do believe in
not holding a kid hostage in an underperforming district. And they say, “Well, we can turn
this school in five or six– you know, we can turn around the
school in five or six years.” “OK, well the kids in the
6th grade now, by the end, they will have graduated,
we’re just going to send them out into the world unprepared.” I do not think that’s
fair to young children who only get one chance to get
it right in public education.>>No, so–>>Jason quick and then Ed.>>Yeah, as you know, there
has long been a debate even within the conservative
community about school choice and it falls on the line tool. If with that, if with that
voucher comes, you know, all of the regulation that comes
from the state, aren’t we– I mean, do we really
get anywhere? So there is some divide
within the conservatives.>>Ed, where is education
going to fit into the conversation
we’ll be having next year?>>It’s a huge issue. And if school choice is popular,
it’s because anything is going to be popular compared to
what we’ve got right now. And if the– you can say we’re
going to hold the kid hostage on a bad district but
doesn’t cutting off funding to that district
keep that kid there and make the district
even worse? I mean, that’s a product
of No Child Left Behind.>>Not when they’re rich
white kids who are going to great schools one
mile down the road, I don’t think it’s fair, I
don’t think it’s fair to do that to certain children
because you come from a certain neighborhood
or your parents are stuck in a certain socioeconomic
status to tell those kids, “Well sorry, that’s just how
it’s going to play out for you.”>>I don’t even understand
where you’re going with that. But what I’m trying to say is
if you’re going to cut education and to complain that
the system isn’t working and then school choice
has been popular, it’s like you’re
forcing a choice which then doesn’t
make it a choice. So, that’s part of the problem
we’ve got with public education. The other thing is
that the whole issue with standardized testing
which I’m careful about getting into because I don’t have
kids and I haven’t had to take these standardized
tests, but I know it’s something
else people don’t like. I probably shouldn’t
have gone down that road. [ Laughter ]>>Throw it out there.>>Well, it is an issue that’s
likely to be on the table on the next session
given what seems to be quite significant
opposition to it again, cross party. I want to ask each of you as you look ahead before
I go beyond this session to the next election
cycle on what the politics of this year tell us
about what’s coming. Let me ask each of you to say
what you think we’ll be talking about in four or five months in
the middle of that session based on what we know about the
composition of the House and Senate, based on what we
know about the leadership coming out of this election cycle,
what are we likely to be talking about as the big issues in
the next, let’s say, session? Ms. Boyle, of course, you’re
going to say education. I understand that but what
else do you see beyond that? What do you think is
on the horizon for us?>>So, I do think
probably talking about budget issues will be
extremely important, I mean, because it will be
a tight budget.>>Yeah.>>And there should be some
discussion about sources of maybe some extra money and–>>For instance?>>Well, I mean, people
talk about their problems with the Texas business
tax, I mean, there really should be some
discussion about that tax and how that impact of
having a structural deficit.>>Right.>>And truly coming
to the capital and governing, it’s a tough job. And there are some
very tough topics that need to be addressed. And my hope and my prayer is
that these candidates will come to Austin and tackle
the tough topics. How to pay for, you know, a
growing population in Texas. And poverty, you know, I personally hope there’s
a lot more discussion about the poverty in Texas. And so I’m hoping that four
months into this session, people will be talking about
what’s really important.>>Jason, what do you think? Carolyn is talking about
the question of revenue. Obviously, the governor,
when he came back from the presidential campaign
trail, put a flag down, said, “No new taxes, no
increases on existing taxes, no accounting tricks.” I believe he said no fees. I mean he has basically
said we have a revenue– we don’t have a revenue problem,
we have a spending problem. So–>>I’m going to make
a bold prediction, there will be no new taxes–>>That is a–>>– legislative session.>>But I think–>>You’re a smart man.>>Yeah, yeah. I do think that Carolyn
is correct when, I mean, she mentioned funding, I
mean it’s clearly, I mean, the parts of the budget that
if you look at those pieces of the budget that sort,
you know, enrollment growth, if you will, in schools, health
and human services, I mean, what will that actual,
you know, doing– going back, what will the
emergency preparations bill actually, you know, be at
the end of the day, you know.>>Right.>>I’ve seen the headlines that sales tax revenues
have continued to increase month to month.>>Economy is getting better.>>Economy is getting better. But at the end of the day, where
do we end up with the budget when health and human
services has taken into effect if in fact, as I assume that the
Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare, you know, begins
to be implemented. I think that’s the
safest option now. You know, what does that
mean, this going for the state of Texas in education clearly.>>Yeah.>>I mean, it’s huge.>>And on the Affordable Care
Act, obviously big discussion on ones already taking place,
but we’ll continue to take place about whether we
should expand Medicaid. The opportunity to do so,
the governor so far said, and other state will just
have said, “No, thank you.” There are some local leaders
in the counties who are trying to figure out if they
can wire around the state and do it on their own. But obviously, this is an
increasing portion of our budget and we’re going to have
to figure that out. You expect that to be a big
topic in the next session.>>Well, yeah. In addition to education
and budget which I expect– I agree, I think will
also be huge issues. Let’s not forget that
redistricting is going to come back and to the
extent that that drags out another big issue. But, yes, healthcare,
definitely a big issue. What will be interesting to see
is even though Perry has come out against the Affordable Care
Act, let’s see if he decides to take it the same way he
came out against the stimulus but decided to take
stimulus funds to balance the budget in 2009. Be interesting to see how
that plays out in this session because they really could use
the matching funds from the– the federal matching
funds for healthcare. Prop 1, which just
passed here in Austin, part of the motivation
behind that was to capitalize on federal matching funds
that are available now because of the Affordable
Care Act. So, it may not be something
that happens right away but I think it’s definitely
something that start– we see start to emerge in 2013.>>And Jordan, you
know, Ed is referring to the medical school
proposition in the ballot here in Austin. Both here in Austin
and in San Antonio, voters were given the
opportunity, the great tradition of local control that we all
talk about how much we love, given the opportunity to
vote on whether they wanted to increase taxes
to pay for things that they felt were important,
and that the state was not going to provide resources
for both passed. I guess that’s a good thing. Well, I have to give
people a chance.>>I certainly believe
in local control.>>Right.>>And let people be in
charge of their own destinies.>>People can go up or down. So will you expect– as
Jason does, this is going to be a very limited revenue,
no new taxes, we’re going to– very tight budget, that’s going to be a defining
aspect to the decision.>>Yeah. And I think that
there’s a lot of folks who were sent here with
a mandate to do something about the margins tax. They’re certainly–>>You believe that?>>Yeah, absolutely. I mean, when I went
out in the communities, that’s one thing I was
surprised to hear so much about was business owners
showing up to events who were very upset
with the margins tax.>>So the go– you know,
the governor last session, after Senator Ogden, who I would
still describe as no one’s idea of a liberal, Senator Ogden
was heard to be, you know, calling for a tweaking of the
margins tax, both the governor and Chairman Pitts on the House
side both said, “If we do a redo of the margins tax, ultimately,
someone’s taxes are going to go up, that’s a tax increase,
therefore, this is a nonstarter. So, your folks, the folks who
you work with who are coming in, they will actually challenge
the governor on whether or not we should do
something with the margin tax.>>And maybe not even
my folks necessarily. But I think several members were
sent here from across the state by small business
owners, who they want to see the exemption
raised or something. They need change, it
hit them pretty hard. I think that when it comes
to Medicaid, as we’re talking about Medicaid, there is
certainly tons of fraud in the Medicaid budget. I think getting in there and
cleaning that up, I mean, if the legislature wants
to be responsible depending on what party of the state you
live in, water is a major issue. And it would be interesting
to see if they start to come up with more solutions for that.>>53 billion dollar water
plan, totally unfunded. Where do we get the money from?>>No se. [ Laughter ]>>Yeah. Well, you and everybody
else say the same thing as far as that goes. Before we open it
up for questions, what does this election cycle
mean for the 2014 elections? We have the potential in the next election
cycle to have status quo. Governor runs again,
lieutenant-governor runs again, all the ambition of
the Republican Party which has been pent up for more
than a decade remains pent up. Or we have the opportunity
potentially to see both the governor
and/or lieutenant-governor not run again. And all of a sudden, we have
more open races on the ballot than at any time since 1990. I’d be interested to know
what you all think about that. Jordan and Jason on the
Republican side, and Carolyn and Ed on the Democratic
side, is there any hope at all of the Democrats being any more
competitive statewide in 2014 than they’ve been in
the last 20 years? Jason, first, with
regard to 2014. What do you think?>>Yes, I do think
there is more hope. But, you know, when
you hit rock bottom, you have two places
to go, sideways and–>>And up.>>– up.>>Right.>>But I do genuinely believe
that there is more hope of it being competitive
for Democrats in 2014 depending
upon what happens with this pent-up example.>>So what will happen? Do you think– you know, the governor said he’s
looking very hard at running, he hasn’t said so definitively, can Owen Brewster–
notwithstanding? Lieutenant-governor
said he’s running again. So what do you think is
really going to happen?>>I think it totally
depends upon their reactions. Each of those elected official’s
reactions to the challenges that they’re facing coming into
the session, how they interpret to what happened in the Ted
Cruz-David Dewhurst race and how they govern,
and how they– what is the motive behind
their running for reelection? What actual vision are
they going to articulate? I have no clue obviously
who’s going to do what. But what I do believe will
happen is there will be an accountable primary process
on the Republican side for our statewide
elected officials. The days of anointing just because you’ve been
around longer–>>Yeah.>>– and you have the name
ID, I truly believe are over in the State of Texas. The only question is,
you know, I’ve been– it’s always been won the
state the size of Texas, well, it wasn’t a question, it was a
statement, you just can’t do it. Well, you can do it. You can’t do it just by running
against someone, you have to, again, articulate a vision,
and those days are over.>>You were Chief of
Staff to General Abbot?>>Yes sir.>>Do you believe General Abbot
might challenge the governor in the primary?>>I have no clue.>>Would you want to see
him challenge the governor in the primary?>>I have no comment. [ Laughter ]>>That was– Ted, at least, he says I occasionally
pulled a manhole cover away from the manhole and
guide people into it. I was attempting
to do that there. I want to say–>>Very–>>– good for you for
navigating around the manhole. What do you think about
the Republicans in 2014?>>I’m hopeful, I really am.>>In what respect?>>Like you said, the
primary system is holding people accountable. I think it’s healthy
to have a turnover when turnover is necessary. I’m not sure if it’s
necessary right now. This can be interesting
to see who really is even up for the task after
this legislative session.>>Yeah.>>I mean, we saw a couple of
first-timers since last year, just pack up and go home.>>Yup.>>I know clearly, we have
several ambitious house members who have been cashing
away money. It’s going to be
interesting to see if they really think
they stand a chance in the Republican primary
statewide, or if they want to continue to move
up to the house.>>Is there a greater chance
in 2014 on the Republican side of status quo relative to the past couple
cycles or lots of change?>>I am planning on
a total bloodbath.>>You think it’s going
to be a bloodbath?>>Yup. Because I think
that folks are now looking at Cruz going, “I’m in.” And they’re no longer–>>Right. That the lesson
of Ted Cruz is we can so challenge the establishment.>>Well, and even more so,
folks are no longer going to set aside going, “Oh,
I’m just going to wait for this to clear out. Then I’ll come in and, you
know, when I’m introduced, people are going to just show
up and file, and they are going to be an aggressive
primary system.>>Ed, what do you
think about 2014? Is there any reason to
be more hopeful of– Julian Castro was on
Morning Joe today. I happened to hear him a
little bit on that show. And that he was asked
specifically, “Do you think that the Democrats
will be competitive in Texas any time soon?” And he said, “Six
to eight years.” He was even foreclosing
on 2014 as a– so, should you follow the
mayor’s lead and say, “Well, Democrats should just
not even bother in 2014.” We’ve–>>No, I don’t think that
we should in that sense. I mean, I respect the
mayor, and I agree with him on most positions he takes. But two years is an
eternity in politics. I mean, just ask Obama
in 2008 and ask him if– any Democrat if they can foresee
what would happen in 2010. Or for that matter,
any Republican, what would happen in 2012. A lot can happen
between now and then. But we’ve got good candidates. Mayor Castro is one of them. We have a couple of people in
the state senate, and who knows that sometimes you have rising
stars like Ted Cruz did, and he’ll rise–
come out of the– they don’t come out
of the elected bodies that we have here.>>Yeah.>>And, you know, I don’t
like to count us out. We have– it is– I like
to say they’re hurdles, they’re not walls. But we still have
challenges in front of us but we have good candidates,
we have good ideas–>>Yeah.>>– and if we have the money and the structure
behind it, we can do it.>>Few of the democratic
Nostradamuses, maybe that should be
Nostradami, more appropriately, have suggested that the
Democratic candidate for governor in 2014
will be Wendy Davis, what do you think about that?>>I like Wendy. I think she’s really dynamic. I think she’s got a lot
of crossover appeal. I would love to see more women
run for public office in Texas, whether they’re Democrats
or, well, mostly Democrats. [Laughter]>>Carolyn, let me get– let
me let you get the last board on 2014 before we open
it up for questions.>>You think I could speak for just people being a
little more bipartisan? Texas Parent PAC is
a bipartisan PAC.>>Sure.>>And so, our PAC
was formed in 2006. And during that time,
we’ve supported so many wonderful candidates.>>Both sides?>>Parties.>>Right.>>And now it seems like
at this point in time, what Texas really needs is
good people coming forward. You know, people who truly
want to work hard for Texas. And–>>Regardless support?>>Yes. And the people
are out there. And it’s important for all
of us to go forth and try to talk good people into
being good candidates.>>So Parent PAC endorsed
Governor Perry for reelection?>>Fortunately, we keep
out of the governor’s race. We’re just focusing
on the legislature. [ Multiple Speakers & Laughter ]>>Man, I am trying but
I’m not getting there. All right, well, OK. I’ll let you have that one then. Let me open it up for questions. We’ve got about 10 or
15 minutes at most, and just raise your hand,
use your outside voice, we don’t have a microphone
to walk around the room and we’ll go– oh, we do. OK, well, you want to run
directly to the opposite side of the room to Mr.
Bear [phonetic]. Yes sir?>>So, I understand from your
perspective, you’re talking about as far as the Hispanics
in Texas and, you know, possibly helping move this
forward as far as demographics, the demographics are there,
the message may be there but the biggest problem
has been the turnout. And, you know, while
the rest of the nation, Hispanics are turning out
in large amounts, in Texas, it seems to be anemic. I mean, what’s going– to
your point, you were saying in two years, if Hispanics
are not going to turnout, do you really still see two
years or what’s it going to take to make that happen?>>Yeah, what will– and what
will motivate greater Hispanic turnout, Ed?>>Well, you’ve got to
have a program that– any program, whether
it’s Hispanics, or women, or African-Americans, or young
people, or senior citizens, you have to have a program that has paid communications
to that community. And when that community
is engaged, they will then participate. We haven’t been able to fund a
program like that and as such, we haven’t been able
to turn the vote out. Now, if we had more
competitive districts drawn such as the 23rd
congressional district, we would see that activity. But when we have safe
districts that are drawn one way or the other, then you stifle
a voter’s ability to think that they can affect change. And if they think they can’t
affect change, they won’t.>>Gentleman over there?>>I will just use
my outside voice.>>Thank you.>>You’ve touched on this at the
very beginning, at 2010, 2012, we saw in very red states
Tea Party candidates lose. Do you think Texas is just
more conservative than Montana or North Dakota, or is it that we’re not challenging
the candidates to the point where they sometimes
say a personal belief that suddenly paints them, that
cause them to lose the election? And this is where you have to
play to win, you’re talking at the very beginning how–>>Yeah.>>The Democrats just
aren’t even fielding a bunch of candidates.>>Jason, I don’t think
Ted Cruz held back at all. Do you, during the primary?>>No, it doesn’t
seem to be as strong.>>Yeah. What– But what
to the questioner’s point–>>What’s the question?>>What is it that makes Texas, what is it that makes Texas
different from other states in which Tea Party candidates
have had a harder time in the fall than
they have had here?>>Well, first of all, 50 percent of likely general
election voters in Texas, again, regardless of how you want to
slice them, do self-identify as conservative, 32 percent
moderate and 16 percent liberal. I would suggest that the
thinking and the history and that informs
people to self-identify in that way is part of the
unique character of Texas and frankly is one of
the reasons that Texans, one of the beacons
economically in the country.>>So our baseline is just a
couple of clicks to the right of a lot of other places.>>And if you want to call
it that, I mean, I don’t know if it’s right or left, I think
their– this term, conservative, means something so
different to so many people. I think I know what
it means in Texas. And if you want to
say it’s to the right because the other is
liberal, without question.>>OK. OK, we’ll use the
mic for the tape I’m told. Sir?>>As a follow-up question, I
wonder if I’d– and so we all– and Jason your answer was and
the national candidates as well. Of these strong Tea
Party candidates– I’m sorry, is it Ed that you
mentioned earlier that you have to have a, you know,
the three likes. One of those is a
strong candidate. So when you look at Christine
O’Donnell, or Sharron Angles, or Todd Akin who made
just phenomenal mistakes in their campaigns, or
Sharron Angle who said, “It was a story book
disaster of the campaign.” So, is it really the message or is it the messenger that’s
losing in some other states? And where we have a strong
candidate, is that message, you know, winning essentially
even in battleground space?>>So your question
is the messenger or the messenger I think as any good political consultant
will tell you depending on your budget the
answer is it depends.>>I thought you were going
to say it was the consultant. [ Laughter ]>>We’re only responsible
for the victories.>>Yeah. But it does depend. And with situations
like Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle, you have a
couple of things at play here. You either have– and
Todd Akin for that matter, you either have a
low turnout primary where your purists may elect
somebody that’s not palatable in the general election, or you
have the other candidate playing in that primary and in the
Missouri case, McCaskill, her allies ran ads
supporting Todd Akin to choose her candidate,
it’s not entirely uncommon. So, the– I think that low
turnout primaries really can bring out purists and we see
it on our side of the aisle. You can say that Ted
Cruz benefited from that. The difference is, is
that the voting population in Texas is more receptive
to conservative messages. Now, I would clarify that the
Texas population is different than the voting Texas
population. And we have ways to catch up on
that and a lot of that depends on the population catching up
with the voting population.>>I don’t think
that’s increased. Primary was low.>>Say again. Go ahead.>>I don’t think that Ted Cruz’
primary was a low turnout.>>Well–>>Well, the runoff was.>>No, it was a way
of 1.1 million people.>>I thought the runoff, I
thought the runoff turnout was as big as the election
turnout, the primary turnout, but it’s just that
the percentage is– it flipped, right, being Cruz
significantly outperformed–>>To our question, yes. We had one– right at
1, 4 and on May 29th, then we had a little over 1, 1.>>Can I ask you a question,
Jason, just while we’re on this subject, that the
press has always assumed had redistricting not thrown the
primary schedule off the rails and that the primary been back
in March as supposed to May. Many people on the press assumed that Dewhurst still
would have won. What do you think about that?>>Well, I think that it would
have certainly been a much higher hurdle which is insane
because the hurdle was– [ Multiple Speakers ] — to begin with. But the benefit of time in a
state the size of Texas allowed, you know, now senator elect,
I’m still getting used to that.>>Yeah.>>To travel and go
out and meet folks. And so I think it
certainly help. But can I– because, listen, if
what I’m hearing today and I was on one of these panels
yesterday morning and I’ve heard on the talk shows, if this is– if these are the talking
points that’s a narrative, I want to embrace it. If it is extreme, if it’s
extreme and it’s conservative for candidates to articulate that we can’t spend money
we don’t have, I’ll take it.>>You’ll take that definition.>>I’ll take it. We had this whole discussion
about what will happen in the Texas legislative session
as if the fiscal cliff is not on the horizon and we have
no clue how that’s going to be dealt with and
act as if it’s not going to impact our economy
in the state of Texas and it very well could. But back– that you ask, “Is it
the message or the messenger,” I would suggest there is
no issue with the message that has motivated
people across this country and there it has been a big
issue with the messengers.>>Except in the races he brings
up, that wasn’t the message. And Murdock, Angle–>>Exactly.>>O’Donnell, it
wasn’t a fiscal message.>>Exactly.>>Right.>>And that’s my point.>>So in that case,
it was the messenger.>>And that’s not the Tea Party.>>And the message
for that matter.>>And that’s not the Tea
Party, there was just some–>>There was– and Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell
weren’t the Tea Party? Absolutely the Tea Party.>>I know that benefits
you to put that label on. Just like yesterday in
Houston, I heard a– an establishment business person
who had with the question of, “When will the Tea Party
get off of social issues? That’s what defines
the Tea Party.” Well, first of all, I’ll
never abandon my personal, social faith and
values and principles. But in a year and a half
on the Ted Cruz campaign, I cannot recall a
single conversation I had with legitimate Tea Party
local activists and leaders across the state of Texas that involved anything
but fiscal issues. That’s what defines, and if
you want to call it Tea Party, fine but it’s a movement
across this country because we are legitimately
dealing with some serious fiscal
issues in this country. And we can’t decide how
to solve it and Carolyn, maybe you win the day,
maybe it’s more revenue. But we need to have the debate
and we can have the debate and I think this goes to the
governor’s budget compact until we’re honest about
the actual challenges that we had before us.>>Woman here on the front
and then gentleman in the back and I think that’s
going to have to be it.>>I’m curious to hear your
thoughts about women voters. You talked about Latinos
and thank you for that but what was the
impact of women voters? I know it played something
at the federal election and it was mentioned before
some of the, you know, ridiculous rape comments that
were made but at the state level with cuts to women’s health
program and the sonogram bill.>>Right.>>I’m just curious to know if that made an impact
in elections.>>Right, you had Cecile
Richards of Planned Parenthood, robo calling for Wendy Davis
on election day, you know, obviously in that race at
least women’s issues were first and in the forefront. But to what degree do women’s
issues permeate the conversation in Texas forgetting the national
conversation for a second?>>Shouldn’t we allow
Carolyn to go first? [ Laughter ]>>Well, my personal
concentration was on candidates who were speaking
for public education. And so many parents
and women particularly, I mean are the people who
are leaders of the PTA and saw firsthand teacher
layoffs and cuts in budgets and we had many, many pretty
angry moms out to working in campaigns, people who are
angry about too much testing of their children in
the public school. So, I do think particularly
in some key spots, you know, it was extremely
important to have a bunch of mad moms campaigning,
knocking on doors, making calls, writing checks.>>Ed, did the women’s issues
that the question is referring to resonate as much here
as they did nationally?>>I don’t think they did and
I was a little surprised by it, though not completely. I think that the issue of choice
is a delicate one in Texas. Again, with Texas being
a conservative place for the conservative–>>With the choice of
the abortion as supposed to choice of the voucher.>>All right.>>Sort. I want to be sure we’re
talking about the right choice. I’m just–>>We’re talking
about abortion–>>Wow.>>– reproductive rights.>>I think that was
another manhole. [ Laughter ]>>Yeah, just making sure.>>But, yeah, especially with
the sonogram legislation coming up in the last session. And that not really playing an
issue in this last election, I thought it might come up more. Yeah, I think it definitely
came up in other place. Indiana was one of them,
Missouri of course. But it’s part of– when
you look at what the voters that Mitt Romney won and Obama
won, Mitt Romney won men. He was 55, 45 or
something to that extent. And it was flipped for
Obama, he won women voters. And part of the Obama coalition, the democratic coalition
nationwide is exactly what we were– we touched on
earlier, it was a– largely falls along the lines
of Anglo voters and minorities. And where do women go with that? And I think that Anglo women in particular can
really go both ways. And I think that the issue
played in a lot of other states, I don’t think it
played in this one.>>Right, but I’m going to
echo, I mean particularly, women over the age of 55,
there’s no question that– but at the top and many
steps down the ladder that Republicans have not only
lost the argument with a lot of female voters frankly. In many instances, they’ve
not even made an argument. And the Democrats have
done a very good job at using certain issues and exploiting them
frankly, politically. And that is an area that
where Republicans are, without question, trending
in the wrong direction.>>Let me ask Mr. France then
that will be the last question.>>Thank you. For the last two elections,
actually it was 2010 and 2014, every Republican candidate
including dog catchers ran against President Obama. This next election,
2008 and 2010, 2012, and this next election, you won’t have President
Obama to run against. The fact is in spite
of what Carolyn says, there was not a debate
about education and vouchers amongst the– in that House races or
in the Senate races. There were no real local debates
unless it was a very tight race. So, next election cycle,
two years from now, there’s no President
Obama you can run against. You’re going to have to
talk about the issues. Do you think that’s going to impact the election
cycle next time?>>May I ask Jordan
and Jason about that?>>I’m probably going to be
discussing President Obama for the rest of my life. I can’t imagine that
I’m going to forget that guy any time soon
nor will the voters. So I don’t know, I just–>>You don’t see him becoming
less of a factor the next time?>>I completely disagree. And as the Republicans have
argued all these years later about the Reagan policies
and why they were good, the Democrats will–
he will be their Reagan and it’s something
we will be debating.>>The way the Democrats
have continued to run against George Bush even
though George Bush is no longer in office.>>Yeah, yeah. That’s correct.>>Jason, do you think
that Obama goes away as a factor in the next cycle?>>Well, as a political point
or a political punching bag, just as you mentioned, former
President George W. Bush, I’m sure that that will exist. But I think what
his question goes to is frankly the foundation of pretty much everything
I’ve said from the beginning. It’s what has motivated
the Tea Party. Will people run against
President Obama? No, he can’t run again. But he is right, we have
to have an actual debate about the challenges
that we face at the state and the federal level. And when I say actual debate, I hear you all had
one this morning. But my definition with the
senators, but my definition of that is let’s lay
it out on the table. And if I’m going to argue that
the way to solve this problem, this budget problem is
spending cuts, and you’re going to argue it’s tax increases
or revenue increases, how can either of us argue on it if we don’t even really know
what the budget picture is, for example on the
state of Texas and at the federal
level similar issues? And I truly believe that there’s
going to continue to be a dose of purity in a very different
way and politics go forward. And unfortunately the reason
is because we are at a point in time where politicians on both sides, to
borrow Ted’s line. But it’s a fact of why
the issues go so long, that we can’t put off the
impact of these kick the can down the road decisions anymore. And those who govern,
those who win the argument on their policy option are
going to be rewarded politically at the ballot box
whether they’d be Democrat or Republican and go forward.>>Ed, last words.>>And I agree with
Jason, he’s right, we do need to talk about issues. The problem is, is that we live
in a Facebook status update, Gchat, Twitter world
where people consume bits of information in a
140 characters or less. We are out of the realm
where people weigh evidence in their decisions and
emotions affect their decisions, which is why people like us,
a lot of times default to or our candidates default
to emotional issues. And it makes it difficult as
much as we would love to go out and talk about the
budget or education when a voter is just
not responding. And in that case, you
talk of something– you come up with something to get their attention
and get their vote. It’s not always the
most admirable way but it sometimes is
the most effective way.>>And that’s my point, the impact of what we’re not
doing is going to do the job for us of getting
their attention. And our– the folks we
worked for are going to be forced to talk about. And that’s the lesson. I hear you, I mean, clearly the
Ted Cruz campaign use social media, we love it. The takeaway for me
though, and I mean this, my belief in the system,
in a voter’s ability to educate themselves against
all odds was reinvigorated after the Ted Cruz campaign because I saw people
do exactly what– you’re right, traditionally,
voters have been asleep and the apathy is what
led us to this point and I think it’s changing.>>Well, let’s hope,
let’s hope it does. We’re going to leave it there,
we’re going to let you go– all go and get some lunch and
then come back at 1 o’clock. Please join me in thanking
our panelists, Jordan Berry, Carolyn Boyle, Ed Espinosa,
and Jason Johnson, thank you. [ Silence ]

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