On Election Day, I turned down the offer to make calls to out of state voters on behalf of Organizing for America. I didn't even make any calls to Bill White supporters reminding them to vote. I figured that if they didn't know by now from all my previous block walks and phone calls that November 2 was Election Day, they were pretty hopeless and it was time to give up on them and concentrate on our important local races.
My husband and I spent Election Day at our precinct's polling place, standing in the cold rain handing out push cards for a candidate you've never heard of, Judge Jeff Rosenfield, Dallas County Criminal Court of Appeals No. 2, reminding people to vote for him and all the Democratic incumbent judges that we worked so hard to sweep into office in 2006.
Would a bunch of Rethuglican't trolls come out from under bridges all over Dallas County in large enough numbers to vote out some excellent incumbents as part of some misguided slap at "Obama Pelosi?" Not if I could help it...
The change from solid red to a sort of purplish blue came to Dallas County in 2004, when we elected Lupe Valdez as Sheriff, shocking the Republican establishment by ousting the "good ol' boy" and putting a gay Latina woman into the job. In 2006, we turned solid blue, replacing all the incumbent Republican judges with Democrats. For District Attorney, we elected Craig Watkins, who has worked closely with The Innocence Project, reviewing newly available DNA evidence to release prisoners wrongly convicted by eyewitness testimony.
Since 2006, Republicans have been working tooth and nail to take back the Sheriff's office and the judiciary, dismissing our sweep as a fluke. But in 2008, fueled by the Presidential race, we did it again, re-electing our Sheriff and all the judges up for re-election.
But last night, it looked like we were in for a reversal of fortune, with Republicans energized this time around. Republicans were running judicial candidates against every one of ours, including a lawyer with no judicial experience running against Judge Jeff Rosenfield.
After the polls closed, we went to the Judge Rosenfield's election watch party in his suite at The W Hotel. The small hotel room overlooking AT&T Plaza was jam packed with supporters, and there was plenty of food and drink befitting a victory party.
But the mood was subdued as we squeezed into the room, wedging our rain soaked coats and umbrellas into a space behind a sofa.
As the big screen TV projected big wins by Republicans in national races (and by Rick Perry), Judge Rosenfield's campaign manager sat on the bed refreshing his laptop computer getting the latest data from the county.
"We're down by 200," Judge Rosenfield told us, thanking us, anyway, for our support.
"We're down by 1,000," the campaign manager said a few minutes later. "If this trend continues..."
How could it? We Dallas County Democrats worked our butts off this election cycle. How could the "keep fear alive" brigade be winning?
Jeff's youngest son turned to his mother for a word of comfort.
"Your dad's done a great job," she assured him. "This isn't about him, personally. It's just politics."
Jeff poured himself a shot of tequila. There were hugs all around. Jeff assured us that he'd be okay, that he'd find something else to do.
But then, data from my precinct started coming in, as well as data from all the solid Democratic precincts in my part of town.
"You're up by 5,000," exclaimed our numbers-cruncher on the laptop. "It's another sweep!"
The place erupted in cheers! We did it again, even with the fearmongers coming out in droves to drive out Democrats, we outvoted them once again!
And not only did we keep our incumbent judges, we elected Democrats to the offices of County Judge and County Commissioner, and we kept Craig Watkins as District Attorney. "That combination," writes Gromer Jeffers, Jr., in today's Dallas Morning News "gives Democrats a majority on the court for the first time in the post-Ronald Reagan era."
So if you're feeling disappointed today, maybe you're looking at too big a picture. Concentrate on the pixels that make up the big picture--like your own precinct in your own county.
If you don't know your precinct chair, call your local Democratic Party office and find out who represents you at the precinct level. Volunteer to work with that person as a block captain, handing out literature for your local Democrats in your neighborhood. If there's not a Democratic Party precinct chair, ask your local Democratic Party office for information about serving in that position yourself.
If you don't like the big picture right now, stop sniveling, take a deep breath, and help change it--one pixel at a time.
UPDATED: Take a look at the pixel map of Texas at this link: Election Results: Texas (h/t ScreamingMeemie at Democratic Underground)