This post isn't informative or thoroughly researched, it's just my feelings the day after what feels like both a big victory and a bitter loss
"A dead god is one that no longer summons us to engage the mystery" - zardulu
My Beloved Texas,
Beto lost. It is tempting to write a eulogy for Beto For Texas, his campaign not the man himself, because with three percentage points it is decisively over. Many campaigns die upon an electoral loss, they fall into the ocean of trivia and historical data, they relinquish whatever emotional hold they had over their supporters, they are the ephemera left as the tides of history are shaped by the victors. Yet, his campaign being over does not mean it has died, because among the heartbreak that comes with all the implications of Ted Cruz's electoral victory there is also a resounding sense of something special in Texas. A sense of I am so fucking proud of y'all . Most campaigns die because their symbols no longer summon us to engage in their vision. Whatever the national narrative around Beto, the man and candidate, there is something about Beto For Texas which feels like the genesis and not the revelations of progressive politics in Texas.
Beto For Texas was as much about the form of politics as it was about the change that that politics aimed to bring about. Beyond a superficial civility, beyond an enraging energy of monopartisanism masquerading as bipartisanism, beyond a forced attempt at conversation in manicured arenas, Beto For Texas created a mode of conducting politics that is at once fiercely modern and nostalgically old. Growing up in Texas I always had a deep sense that the ferocity and fervor of conservative politics in Texas was incongruous with the lived experiences of so many of my fellow statesmen. A sense that in a place as unique as Texas, with astounding diversity in race, in religion, in jobs, in every aspect of life, that energizing people around the toughest problems of our state and our nation would require demonstrating to them the reality of change, it would require making that change palpable, making not merely victory, but the promises of justice, of equity, of access feel as real as the loathsome apathy many Texans experience from the institutions, public and private, upon which they rely. But to do this requires showing up, not to give a basic stump speech in the refinery or taqueria, or to have a photo-op with a ranch of longhorns and a precocious lecture hall of Longhorns, it requires showing up and answering questions, it requires making people see that a Texan is on their side, and it requires making those changes feel possible, making change a reality which involves everyone. I think this is what I saw when I first met Beto more than a year ago in a half full theater in Beaumont Texas, the first attempt I had ever seen of someone trying statewide at realizing the potential that I had always felt. It wasn't a perfect attempt, and Beto was not a perfect candidate, but it was new.
And three points be dammed, I am so fucking proud of everyone who worked to make Beto For Texas a reality, everyone who voted, who asked their friends to vote. Not because I am particularly wedded to Beto himself, or even because I particularly agree with him ideologically or on policy, but because Beto spoke a language of politics that elevated what activists have been trying for decades in our great state to a whole new audience. So, Beto lost, and that the sad and unfortunate state of affairs, but now that we've had a night to shed our tears lets maintain the energy of the new life he breathed into statewide progressive politics in our wonderful state of Texas.