President-Elect Barack Obama took Dallas County by 56% while losing the state of Texas by about the same amount. Counties around Dallas went for the Republican opponent by wide margins. Republicans won all statewide races and actually gained one delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives by re-taking the seat formerly held by rabid rightwinger Tom DeLay.
Labor-endorsed candidates fought the headwinds to take a net three seats in the Texas House, but results in almost every part of the state were disappointing to those who dared to hope for a victory in Texas. In Dallas on election night, though, those who supported union-endorsed candidates were wild with joy. As they did in 2006, the Dallas Democrats had swept the county! Even Sheriff Lupe Valdez, the first-ever Latina in office and the main target of vicious attacks by the city's only newspaper for years, took a 10-point victory!
The question needs an answer: why?
Darlene Ewing, the Chairperson of the Dallas Democratic Party, appeared on the "Workers Beat" program of KNON radio on the morning after the election. She explained that the City of Dallas had experienced the same demographic change that most American cities have experienced. Prolonged prosperity, low gasoline prices, and "white flight" have conspired to move many upscale whites to move to the suburbs. Inner cities have become more and more the domain of non-white populations of less-affluent people. In 2008, they voted Democratic in many of the nation's cities, including Dallas.
The Dallas difference, Ms Ewing said, came from a better cooperation between the forces in the election. The candidates and their main supporters worked together in Dallas. It's true that the Obama/Dallas organization started well before the presidential candidate came to Texas, but they cooperated with the Democratic Party structure. African-American and Latino groups minimized their friction. The Stonewall Democrats, a growing force that primarily mobilizes the gay community, worked in tandem with everybody else.
To the radio audience, Ms Ewing described the audience at the election night rally at the Bishop Arts Center in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. She said there were all races, all genders, young and old, celebrating together in the audience. The talk show host then told her that the view from the audience toward the stage was the same -- candidates of all races, all genders, young and old, celebrating together.
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