Express-News columnist Brian Chasnoff’s column today appeared to have a two-pronged purpose:
- Advance the deification of the Castro twins.
- Create a perception that Democrats are on the verge of becoming competitive in Texas.
Chasnoff addresses the first prong by telling a three-act story involving Joaquin Castro. In the first act, Castro is block-walking on the Republican northwest side of San Antonio. Then in the second act, Castro is depressed because his list of targeted houses – those with reliable voters – causes him to walk past most of the houses. And in the third act, Castro has an inspiration, which is to get the reliable voters to influence their unreliable friends and family to vote. For melodramatic measure, Castro names his idea the “Victoria Project” after his late grandmother.
Your response to Castro’s inspiration might be, “Duh? Tell me something I didn’t know,” but that is not how Chasnoff characterizes it. Instead he describes it as an epiphany – “Castro’s idea, conceived that day on the campaign trail, is more modest in scale. But its creative approach might inform the myriad efforts here to revitalize Democrats, who haven’t won a statewide election in two decades.”
And that brings us to the second prong of Chasnoff’s column – i.e., there is a serious movement underway to make Texas a competitive state for Democrats within the decade. Chasnoff refers to an extensive new article in Politico.com that describes the myriad, far-reaching efforts to revitalize Democrats that might be informed by Castro’s creative approach, but instead of discussing those efforts, Chasnoff decides to elaborate on Castro’s “more modest in scale” project:
- Each voter would cast a personal appeal powerful enough to motivate nonvoters to cast ballots. Castro offered a fictional example: Maria Fernandez, whose father died from diabetes, emails 10 people “who really cared for her dad” with a message that “combines a personal narrative with a policy imperative.” In other words, Fernandez mourns both her father and GOP policy on health care.
The column concludes by suggesting that the Victoria Project would work perfectly against Republicans if Governor Rick Perry and party leaders persist in refusing to extend Medicaid under ObamaCare to two million poor, uninsured Texans. According to Castro (and Chasnoff?), this position is beyond radical, it’s crazy.
Although this simple concept of trying to leverage your voters unquestionably makes sense, its effectiveness is questionable. As Castro says, “It’s very intensive work. There’s a lot of follow-through and a lot of handholding because you’ve got to help people craft the message.” You think?
Think about crafting a message from your voters to their friends telling them about their poor family member who can’t afford ObamaCare, but would be eligible for free Medicaid if more people would vote Democratic. Good luck on that in Texas.