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In the 2014 midterm election, Democrats in Texas did not receive even 40 percent of the statewide vote; Republicans swept the tables both in Texas and nationally. But even after two decades of democratic losses, there is a path to turn Texas blue, argues Mary Beth Rogers - if Democrats are smart enough to see and follow it.
Rogers is the last person to successfully campaign-manage a Democrat, Governor Ann Richards, to the statehouse in Austin. In a lively narrative, Rogers tells the story of how Texas moved so far to the right in such a short time and how Democrats might be able to move it back to the center. And, argues Rogers, that will mean a lot more of an effort than simply waiting for the state's demographics to shift even further towards Hispanics - a risky proposition at best. Rogers identifies a ten-point path for Texas Democrats to win at the statewide level and to build a base vote that would allow Texas to become a swing-vote player in national politics once again. One part of that shift starts with local Democratic candidates in local Republican communities making the connection between controversial local issues or problems and the statewide Republican policies that ignore or create them. For example, in a 2014 election in Denton-a Republican suburb-voters approved Texas's first ban on hydraulic fracking. The next day, though, a Republican Texas agency official announced that Texas would not honor the town's vote to ban. No democratic candidate picked up the issue.
Change won't come easily, argues Rogers. But if Texas shifts to even a pale shade of purple, it changes everything in American politics today.
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MARY BETH ROGERS is the last person to successfully campaign-manage a Democrat to the statehouse in Austin. Rogers previously held the Lloyd M. Bentsen Chair in Business and Public Policy at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin before becoming president and CEO of the PBS affiliate in Austin. Rogers is the author of Cold Anger: A Story of Faith and Power Politics and Barbara Jordan: American Hero. She lives in Dallas, TX.Review:
"Rogers...offers suggestions to Democrats in her new book, Turning Texas Blue...which include finding the right leader, running a whole-state campaign, and spreading the word about what she calls 'Republican extremism.'"―San Angelo Standard-Times
"It’s not easy being blue. It is easy, though, to find Democratic lamentations in Texas politics...Mary Beth Rogers is done with all that...Rogers lists 10 things Democrats might do to turn things around, including this one: 'Assume the role of a Republican strategist.'" ―The Texas Tribune
"Rogers has a message for Democrats in Turning Texas Blue: Get smart...what she offers bears attention, whether you’re a Democratic or a Republican strategist." ―The Austin American Statesman
"Compelling...Rogers provides a useful road map for how Democrats can help beleaguered Texans reclaim their state from the far right and usher in a politics that can fulfill the untapped potential of the state’s cultural and economic diversity." ―Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog
"A blueprint for turning Texas blue, or at least giving Democrats a fighting chance." ―Texas Observer
"Rogers takes a clear-eyed look at the mistakes of the Davis campaign and...the painful lessons that Democrats need to learn if they really want to win in Texas." ―Texas Matters
"Everyone who seriously wants Texas to become a two party state needs to stop whining and read this book." ―Paul Stekler, Director of Emmy Award Winning Documentary, George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire
"There is a certain kind of Texas woman: strong, caring, steady and fun-loving. Mary Beth Rogers is such a "can-do" person and in reading her book,Turning Texas Blue, you will understand the best and worst of Texas politics. You will also learn Texas history and laugh out loud at many of her stories. When you finish you will know that you have been in the presence of an astute political observer, a loyal Democrat and a true patriot." ―Bill Bradley
"Will appeal to political junkies on both the left and right. Rogers a veteran political operative and confidante of the late Democratic governor Ann Richards, swiftly and entertainingly recounts Texas political history...She’s a clever, concise writer, unafraid to share her own experience of triumph and disappointment as Richards’s career waned, and brisk and scornful as she indicts 'clowns, crackpots, and Christian crusaders' on the Texas right for choosing small-government ideology over effective governance." ―Publishers Weekly
"Rogers draws off the wisdom of a lifetime in Texas politics to write a timely lesson about how in the world we got to this place. Pulling no punches, this is a must-read for anyone doing the hard work to restoring state government that represents all Texans." ―Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund
"Rogers provides genuinely sharp insight into where the Democrats went wrong [in Texas]...Readers ...who want change should pay attention and get started on the author's to-do lists. She knows the territory, and she wants it back." ―Kirkus Reviews
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