Friday, February 22, 2008

Across Party Lines

I'm no political scientist, and I'm certainly not real big on researching statistics like GritsforBreakfast does on his website. That being said, I couldn't help but take notice of what Jim Leitner said at the debate on Tuesday, and what RonInHouston posted on an earlier post.

The Democratic early voters are out-voting the Republican early voters at a staggering pace.

There are several explanations as to why, and your guess is as good as mine as to which one (if not all of them) is a factor.

Here are some considerations:

1. The Democratic Presidential primary is hotly contested by two extremely dynamic candidates who have "rock star status". Amazingly, Texas has become a make-or-break state, which unusual for this late in the game on all the primaries. On the other hand, the Republican Presidential primary is all-but-decided, and John McCain isn't in any real danger of losing the State to Mike Huckabee. The bottom line is that Democrat voters are much more likely to feel both a sense of urgency and importance in their Presidential voting.

2. This week, the early voting has ended at 4:30 p.m. every day, and tomorrow is the first weekend day that it will be available. Perhaps more Republicans are waiting for off-work hours to vote? (NOTE: I predict that this weekend, the Republican voters are going to pick up A LOT of steam and get out there and vote. If they don't do it this weekend, the Republican candidates need to start REALLY sweating).

3. The Conspiracy Theory: I'm not advocating this one, but there is a possibility that some of the die hard Republicans are crossing party lines to vote in the Democrats' party in order to advocate for the weaker Democratic Candidate who will ultimately face McCain in November.

Either way, I don't think that our Republican Judges in the CJC should start packing up their offices just yet. We are only four days into early voting, and the peak times for it haven't gotten here quite yet.

It doesn't necesarrily mean a sweep in November.

Besides, if the Republicans can manage to get a good candidate on the ballot for District Attorney, Clarence Bradford will become the poster child for arguing that straight-ticket voting would be a really bad idea.

There are also a lot of Democratic candidates who are wildly unqualified for the judicial benches that they are seeking (loosely read "Lloyd Oliver"). Hopefully the faithful Dems will seriously consider what they are voting for if they vote straight-ticket in November.

14 comments:

PJ said...

The answer is (1). The disparity in early voting in Texas shouldn't be that big of a concern to Republicans. It doesn't mean anything given that one party's nomination is effectively decided and the other not. What should be a concern to Republicans, however, is the record-breaking Democratic turn out in earlier primary states, which suggests Democrats will indeed have a strong turn out in November. Your second and third considerations are inconsequential.

As to the Republicans fielding a good candidate for District Attorney, there is only one such candidate, Jim Leitner, and you aren't even supporting him. Bradford may or may not be a bad DA, but he will not be as bad for the citizens of Harris County as either Sielger or Lykos, particularly with respect to what his election would mean for the long run.

Last, I'll take your comment about "wildly unqualified" Democratic judicial candidates with a grain of salt, seeing as how most all Republican judges currently sitting in Harris County are themselves "wildly unqualified" ... at very best. Wildly unethical and ignorant of their obligations under our constitution at the worst.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Well, PJ, I'm shocked. Shocked, I say, at your conclusions.

Thanks for posting. I'm sure your comments will generate some discussion.

anonymous c said...

"Last, I'll take your comment about "wildly unqualified" Democratic judicial candidates with a grain of salt, seeing as how most all Republican judges currently sitting in Harris County are themselves "wildly unqualified" ... at very best. Wildly unethical and ignorant of their obligations under our constitution at the worst."

There's that agenda that's been (not very conspicuously) brewing beneath your bitter posts! Good girl!

Be loud and be proud, sister!

Bush lied! They died! Right?

Barack my world, baby! Obama ’08!

:-)

Ron in Houston said...

It really is a shame we have partisan elections in Texas. There are shitty judges in each party.

I really don't want a sweep. There are a lot of good Republican judges. The problem is that judicial candidates are about as far down ballot as you can get.

I can't keep track of all these yo yos. I remember trying to get my frequent courthouse visitor badge renewed. I asked some person who looked like they worked there. She was a civil court judge.

Ron in Houston said...

Richard Murray is blogging for 13 news.

Interesting stuff if you're interested.

anonymous c said...

Man, you just keep continuing to astound with your rational thinking, Ron.

We really need to stop agreeing like this.

V. damaging to our “street cred”! Hehe!

Hugs! :-)

Anonymous said...

Strong dem voting will do nothing good for Kelly. There are alot of upset black voters out there. They have been upset with the status quo for years. You can poo poo the poll done on Carey's website, but the results show that HIS website viewers know who they will vote for in November. And it ain't Kelly Seigler.

If I were Kelly, I'd be making tracks every sunday to every black church in the county who would have me. I'd be acknowledging what she can't seem to admit about racism in the office and in her caseload. Because come November, you may have a DA name Clarence.

It happened in Dallas and it can happen here.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

You know, Ron, I totally agree with you about partisan elections, but I don't support shifting to appointed judges, either. (Take as you will that position along with a disclosure that, in a past life, I performed campaign consulting services for 22 judicial campaigns!) I think non-partisan elections are the way to go in state judicial races, just like they do in city council races. I like to be able to un-elect judges who deserve it and keep the good ones, and both are easier without the partisan label.

PJ said...

Anonymous C,

I'm (1) rational; (2) realistic; (3) empirical; (4) critical; (5) independent; (6) empathetic; (7) compassionate; (8) considerate; and (9) not a sociopath. So it's hardly a revelation that I'm not a Republican. Hell, with the detective work you've displayed here, you may very well be "qualified"--if I may use that term in the sense it is apparently used around here--to work for HPD.

But not so fast! Although it is clear it is easier for you to dismiss an opinion if it is one that has been expressed by a woman merely by that fact alone, I am not in fact a woman. So it would seem fully half of your "argument" has missed its target. Nevertheless, I still deem you eminently qualified--again, in the vernacular--for HPD.

Oh, and I'm not a Democrat either, so there's that too. In fact, I have never in my life participated in party politics nor even donated money to any political candidate. I find politicians to be a nasty, craven, ambitious lot in general, and in any election my vote is given begrudgingly, with a view towards which candidate will do the least harm, not towards who I personally endorse or naively believe in.

Of course, being neither a Republican nor a Democrat does not preclude me from making a judgment as to which of the two will do the good citizens of Harris County the least amount of harm come this November. Indeed, were you paying attention, you may have noted that I deemed Jim Leitner, a Republican, a good candidate. But you have your own (not very conspicuous) agenda, don't you, Anonymous C?

Now that we both know we can waste time making fun of each other (one succinctly, one more "long-windedly"), why don't we let others discuss the actual subject matter that AHCL posted about, yeah?

Mark Bennett said...

AHCL,

I don't really think there's any doubt that there'll be a sweep in the downballot races in November. That's the way it's been for years. The question is whether it'll be an incumbent sweep or a challenger sweep.

The current system is one that benefits only tragically unqualified candidate -- the candidates that the defense and prosecutorial bars agree should not be on the bench (Janice Law, Lloyd Oliver, Brian Rains).

The counterexample, Caprice Cosper, would do just fine in nonpartisan elections.

Beyond Judge Rains and Judge Cosper, I'm not sharing my opinions of the qualifications of the six incumbents up for reelection; I'll let them guess which category I'd put them in.

anonymous c said...

PJ, it's too easy to rile you up. Hehe!

I think that AHCL is right about Republicans waiting until off-work hours to vote. I’m heading out to vote right now and many Republicans that I know also waited until today.

I also agree about the lack of urgency for Republicans in this primary campaign. My additional worry is that lots of Repubs aren’t too thrilled about pulling the lever for McCain period…at least not at this point.

Hopefully, he can pull us together against whoever the Dem nominee is (Obama, probably). Things like the NYT’s “gossip column” hack job will help, I bet.

I have also run into a surprisingly large amount of Republicans who don’t “have a dog in the hunt” about the DA’s race. As long as it’s a Republican, they say. It’s those people that I ask to vote for Siegler. My line has been, “If you already have your eye on a particular DA candidate, by all means, more power to you! BUT, if you only want a Republican, let me tell you about Kelly.”

But, meanwhile, this DA primary will probably be decided by VERY few votes. Every single one will count!!! Siegler fans, go vote! Go campaign!

Ron in Houston said...

Unfortunately, (and this applies to all you ADA's who think that the Republicans are more your style) becoming the Republican nominee in the general election is not too difficult.

You just need to become the darling of those blue haired Republican women's clubs around town.

This is why you guys need to fear Pat Lykos. She wouldn't even be a viable candidate if it weren't for Republican politics. It's even more a worry because Republican primary apathy is strong.

It's a shitty system, but it's the one we've inherited.

The Phantom Bureaucrat said...

PJ: "As to the Republicans fielding a good candidate for District Attorney, there is only one such candidate, Jim Leitner, and you aren't even supporting him. Bradford may or may not be a bad DA, but he will not be as bad for the citizens of Harris County as either Sielger or Lykos, particularly with respect to what his election would mean for the long run."

Jim is a decent guy and qualified for the job almost as much as Siegler but his major flaw came up at a meeting I attended earlier this week (a meeting by people far more "into" politics). Almost each of those attending were unhappy that a gasp...defense lawyer... had the audacity to run as a GOP candidate. He should run as a Democrat came up a few times as well. I know it isn't fair and it shows a lot of prejudice against a profession that is beloved right up there with dog catchers, cops, and bill collectors but that was what they were talking about despite my protests that he'd be a good second choice.

Unlike the others, I'm curious as to your reasoning regarding Bradford being a better choice than Siegler or Lykos (well, mostly Siegler) considering his impressive track record with the city police department. By all means elaborate if you have some interesting ideas in this vein because from where I sit (just a bean counter), he is a horrible choice.

PJ: "I'm (1) rational; (2) realistic; (3) empirical; (4) critical; (5) independent; (6) empathetic; (7) compassionate; (8) considerate; and (9) not a sociopath. So it's hardly a revelation that I'm not a Republican."

People that feel the need to post comments like this tend to possess quite the opposite of what they suggest are their character traits in my lengthy experience. That you felt the need to make these vastly unsupported claims (at least per your messages in this forum in recent weeks) speaks far louder than anything I could say to pile on what others have pointed out. Republicans come in all shapes, sizes and temperaments; not all are rich white men as popular Democrat theories suggest. Still, it's good to have someone like you to bring up the implausible comments for the rest of the world to poke fun at. Thanks!

anonymous c said...

Well said, TPB!