Texas Democrats Focus on Abortion, Network as GOP Vulnerabilities


Texas Democrats, underdogs for decades, probed possible Republican weakness this election year at a biennial convention focused on restoring access to abortion, protecting transgender rights and strengthening the power grid. .

The goals were listed in a draft of the party’s platform released Saturday at the rally in Dallas, where lawmakers, strategists and candidates have gathered over the past few days to chart a strategy for the November election. Delegates were scheduled to vote on approving the document, but a lack of quorum prevented the ballot from taking place.

Democrats haven’t won a statewide race since 1994 in Texas and face a tough outlook this year amid dismal approval ratings for President Joe Biden. Still, party loyalists in the Lone Star State hope their support for gun control and abortion rights could give them some momentum, especially among moderates swayed by the school massacre. Uvalde and the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“Texas Democrats will fight for a well-functioning government that acts on the basis of facts and evidence to preserve the life, health, and well-being of every person,” the platform project reads. “We will recast the social contract and put in place a new economic engine that allows all residents to prosper.”

Party members added new language to the document aimed at countering Republican efforts to ban abortions and investigate the medical treatment of transgender youth. The draft also hammered the GOP for the deadly power grid outage during a winter storm in 2021 and pledged to shore up the system so it wouldn’t happen again.

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Beto O’Rourke also focused on abortion rights, gun control and the power grid in a keynote speech at the convention on Friday.

The former congressman from El Paso spoke out against conservative social policies enacted in recent years under Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. O’Rourke cited voting restrictions, looser gun regulations and a ban on abortions, policies that have raised fears the state will see a slowdown in the influx of businesses and people who propelled its economic gains.

Imagine “a governor who will stand with small business owners to make sure it’s the best place to find innovation, ingenuity and talent, and that we don’t chase these great people away with wars. cultural,” O’Rourke said.

The governor’s race has narrowed in recent weeks, with polls showing O’Rourke trailing Abbott by single-digit margins. Surveys have shown that most Texans support stricter gun control and oppose a complete ban on abortion.

Still, voters in Texas are focusing more on economic issues, including the fastest inflation in 40 years, creating headwinds for Democrats. And despite a record fundraising streak for O’Rourke, the Democrat still has far less cash on hand than his Republican opponent.

Democratic officials said the lack of a quorum at the end of the convention meant the executive committee would have to hold a vote over the next few months to formally adopt the platform.

The draft also included more language on voting rights protections after the Republican Party imposed new election rules last year. He urged the US Supreme Court to be expanded to 12 justices from the current nine.

The state’s GOP held its convention in Houston last month and embraced a platform that generated pushback for what critics saw as extreme ideas. The document called homosexuality an “abnormal lifestyle choice,” questioned the legitimacy of Biden’s election, and said Texas “retains the right to secede from the United States.”

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