The pundits and the quants say the chances of a true Democratic wave — the kind that would flip both the House and Senate — are remote, although as I wrote on Friday, there’s reason to question whether one would be recognizable in advance. In fact, a wave may be precisely as possible as O’Rourke’s election, because given the trends elsewhere on the Senate map, the Texas race could end up being Democrats’ best shot at winning a 51st seat. Polls show O’Rourke — like several other Democrats in tight Senate races — picking up support in the closing stretch, and his supporters see heavy early voting turnout, and reports of a huge increase in participation by young voters, as a positive sign. But as I wrote back in June, if the Democrats are ever going to win a statewide race in Texas — something they haven’t done in nearly 25 years — they will have to turn out massive numbers in minority communities, most importantly … [Read more...] about Beto O’Rourke Is Not Afraid of the Border
This morning, as the reality of Tuesday’s vote settled in, many Democrats in Texas were in an incongruously triumphant mood. For the first time many of them could remember, on election night, they had seen a Democrat in the lead in a statewide race. Even though it slipped away late, Cruz’s margin of victory — just 2.6 points with 99 percent of the vote counted — was far narrower than most pollsters predicted. O’Rourke ran a better race than any Democrat in a generation, and it wasn’t all for nothing. Down the ballot, he helped to carry two Democrats who flipped seats in the House, and the party gained ground in the state legislature. In Harris County, the populous urban area around Houston, a 27-year-old Latina defeated a long-tenured Republican for the highest local office. O’Rourke also outpaced Hillary Clinton’s performance in traditionally Republican suburban areas, carrying Williamson County, north of Austin, and Tarrant County, … [Read more...] about Beto O’Rourke and the Limits of Charisma
In these circumstances, a small raise doesn’t mean as much as it otherwise could. Teachers are still underpaid, still strapped for resources, and still subject to uncertain professional futures. West Virginia’s 5 percent raise didn’t bring teachers’ salaries up the national average, and though the state’s governor, Jim Justice, promised a $100 million fix for the state’s insurance agency for public employees, and another 5 percent raise for teachers and state employees, labor leaders aren’t convinced he’ll deliver. “Governor Justice must think West Virginians are stupid,” Josh Sword, president of the West Virginia AFL-CIO, told West Virginia MetroNews. Ninety Oklahoma school districts, meanwhile, can only afford to meet four days a week. The walkouts directed national attention to education crises in these states, but legislative solutions have been limited. … [Read more...] about Walkouts Led to Big Wins for Red-State Teachers. So Why Are They Still Struggling?