The Campaign that Didn't Want to Win

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State Sen. Wendy Davis speaks with with Evan Smith, The Texas Tribune CEO and editor-in-chief, at The Texas Tribune Festival on Saturday, Sept. 20.
State Sen. Wendy Davis speaks with with Evan Smith, The Texas Tribune CEO and editor-in-chief, at The Texas Tribune Festival on Saturday, Sept. 20.

The updated Huffington Post model of the 2014 Texas gubernatorial race predicts the outcome of the election in Republican candidate Greg Abbott’s favor with a confidence of 99 percent, which should not be a surprise to anyone. Criticism has come from Republicans and Democrats alike in the choice of state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, as the Democratic nominee. Many believe her famous 2013 filibuster is her only claim to fame. It may not be her only one, but it sure is the biggest. Put up against Greg Abbott, who has led a quieter and steadier, but no less controversial, rise to power, Davis is the perfect straw man to the Republican bulldozer machine. Davis’ campaign has been fraught with controversy, leading many to ask, why didn’t they choose someone else who might actually win?

Because the Democratic Party was not trying to win. Not this election.

The Texas Democratic Party is playing the long game. It’s not about this election. Like the Battleground Texas mantra says: Texas can’t turn blue overnight. And in politics, one election is practically one night. No one in the Democratic Party was naïve enough to believe that Davis would win this election. The Davis rhetoric is lofty and often unrealistic. Critics complain that the Texas Democratic platform is utopian and unfeasible. But this campaign wasn’t about proposing implementable policies. This campaign was about making waves, starting conversations and asking provocative questions that Texans will have to think about for the next four years. Four years is a long time, and this is just the start. The important action is to keep the momentum and the undeniable fervor the Davis campaign has sparked so that come 2018, Texas might just turn blue.


Haight is an associate editor.