Collin County Politics: Where We Go From Here

November 29, 2022

Local Politics: For someone who consumes a lot of information about American politics, it’s incredibly frustrating to keep hearing about how great Democrats did during the midterms when that wasn’t the case in Texas. It’s discouraging to think about how Republicans (again) hold all the state-wide offices as well as the majority in the state legislature, especially as the freaking Dallas Morning News keeps rubbing it in (while mentioning little about gerrymandering and other voter suppression tactics). But what are we supposed to do about it? Give up?

“Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow.”

Helen Keller

Our success requires that we come together, that we work as a team at the local level. I’ve had a lot of people ask what it is they can do. My answer: turn your I into a We. It’s not about you as an individual; it’s about you as part of a team. Republicans hold most of the political power in Collin County and they’re unlikely to care what any of us think by ourselves. But if we show up en masse? That may change their minds.

The right-wing fascists already know this. They’re getting concessions from school boards across the county. Why? Because they show up. They keep yammering about their delusional issues at Every. Single. Meeting. We can do that too but in a way that actually makes sense and promotes the public good. If we could get groups of 30+ people – all wearing the same shirt – to attend every city council and/or school board meeting, it will make a difference. Group members could come early to socialize with other attendees, speak during Public Comments (to let those watching at home hear from us), then stay after to talk with the elected officials. The groups would be too large to be ignored.

Democracy is not a spectator sport.

Marian Wright Edelman

The groups would sustain us too. Before the 2016 election, far too many Democrats believed themselves to be alone in a red state. People would whisper or remain silent about their liberal beliefs, too afraid to be the lone voice in the wilderness. Democratic primaries were a joke because there were hardly any Democrats brave enough to run, let alone enough to have a contest. Many races were uncontested. But that’s no longer the case. We woke up. We got angry and organized.

We elected Dr. Stacey Donald to the Collin College Board of Trustees.

We elected Lauren Doherty to the Allen City Council.

We elected La’Shadion Shemwell to the McKinney City Council.

Me with Robyn Cain and Shelaine O’Keefe at the Cruz protest. See how much fun we’re having?

The Republicans thought they had everything in the bag but we shook them to their core and had fun doing it. Showing up to protest the Republicans’ annual Lincoln Dinner was a good time, making big donors uncomfortable and leading to a petty little scandal known as Spitgate featuring the Money Leech (HD67 Representative Jeff Leach). Cornering Ted Cruz at his McKinney fundraising dinner was a hoot as we kept him cowering in his SUV for 10 minutes before he accepted that he had to talk with us. I particularly enjoyed shutting down his “town hall” with a pointed question about how he planned to pay for veterans’ healthcare. We had power because of our numbers and our unity felt like family. We’ve had more successes since then.

We have Democratic Clubs in McKinney, Frisco, Heritage Ranch, Plano, and Allen.

The Collin County Democratic Party has blossomed with increased funding and volunteers.

We elected 7 judges to the Fifth District Court of Appeals in 2018.

We elected 2 more judges to the Fifth District Court of Appeals in 2022.

We have more Democrats on boards and commissions county-wide.

We elected Mihaela Plesa to HD70.

 We’re making progress and it’s only going to get better, especially if we do the work to make our presence felt at the local level. Building groups will have a positive impact but, until that happens, the power we have in the upcoming municipal races in May is the power of the spoiler.

When Frisco School Board incumbent Natalie Hebert lost her race to right-wing extremist Marvin Lowe earlier this year, did she yell at her fellow Republicans? No, she yelled at Democrats because she knew that without our support, she couldn’t win. By the way, boo-frickin-hoo, Natalie. It happened again when Allen School Board incumbent Kelley Rowley lost her race to right-wing extremist Elle Holland because Democrats voted for our own candidate. Until we get enough Democrats voting so we can win the whole thing (which is possible because voter turnout in municipal races is LOW!), that is the power of the spoiler. The more “reasonable” Republicans need to be CONSTANTLY reminded that we can make or break them.

All of this works only if we show up and do the work. No more sitting on the sidelines. Voting is no longer enough. We must participate year-round. It will be challenging but it will also be fun. You can make new friends while also making a difference. Sign up to join the team covering your city council or school board by contacting me at Let’s do this!

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