30 November 2014
The Center of Ps thinks government creates prosperity
The liberal policy org Center for Many Ps has a Chron editorial arguing that Texas should never have a spending cap:
But only recently has the spending cap become an ideological football, with some hard-line conservatives trying to set an artificially low limit that starves school districts and stifles innovation
Got that? Limiting the growth in government spending stifles innovation. Yes, the major left-wing think tank in Texas believes that innovation comes from government. That makes perfect sense if you believe that prosperity is created by the government.
So of course you'd be against a spending cap. You just need to spend more. It's the California Model.
29 November 2014
Could Wendy Davis win back SD10?
Could Wendy Davis win back SD10? Nope.
Wendy Davis lost her home district by 7.5% to Greg Abbott a few weeks ago. According to my analysis of the Tarrant County precinct report, Davis earned 83451 votes compared to Greg Abbott's 96927 votes in SD10. That is a 53.74% to 46.26% defeat in the head-to-head vote.
A few points:
1. Wendy Davis now has the profile of a national liberal Democrat in SD10. In 2012, Wendy Davis won re-election against Mark Shelton. Even while Mitt Romney and Ted Cruz both picked up 53% in SD10, Davis obscured her liberal voting record enough to get 51.1% of the vote. Put differently, Wendy ran nearly 6 points ahead of Obama's 45.4% vote share in 2012.
Wendy now runs even with Obama in SD10. Romney beat Obama by about 8 points in the district. In 2014, Abbott beat Wendy Davis by about the same 8 points.
Obama and Battleground Texas intended use Wendy Davis to turn Texas blue. Instead Wendy Davis turned SD10 red.
2. Konni Burton outperformed Greg Abbott in SD10, winning with 54.2% of the head-to-head vote. Tell me which Austin lobbyist would've predicted that. She got a nasty hit piece put on her by the Texas Medical Association and got negative coverage from the Star-Telegram, but still ran half a point in front of Greg Abbott.
Looking precinct by precinct, Burton and Abbott performed quite similarly. Burton outperformed Abbott because she did slightly better in the highest turnout Republican precincts.
3. When you hire bad political consultants, it is very hard to win. Mark Shelton and Wendy Davis both hired political consultants (Bryan Eppstein and Jeremy Bird, respectively) who didn't know what they were doing. In the process of losing those races, both Eppstein and Bird showed themselves to be pretty bad at math.
Candidates who can't even hire good political consultants should not hold office.
28 November 2014
Only in government (or maybe higher education) could this level of inefficiency exist
About a decade ago, someone paid for a permit with a counterfeit bill, leading [City of Houston] staff to launch a process that would devour 140 hours a month for the next decade: Recording each applicant's driver's license, along with the serial number on every single $100 and $50 bill.
Several counterfeit bills lost the city a few hundred dollars, Bounds noted; having employees invest 16,800 hours over 10 years hoping to prevent that loss cost taxpayers about $540,000 in salary and benefits.
Only in government would this 1) be implemented, and 2) kept around for years. Lack of competitive pressure in bureaucracy inevitably leads to waste.
10 November 2014
David Dewhurst did not lose in 2012 because of turnout
What is David Dewhurst doing next? He gave an hourlong interview to the Houston Chronicle, and in typical Dewhurstian phrasing, he told them he is planning a "large public policy venture" and perhaps planning a return to electoral politics.
Given that he's talking to the Chron, perhaps he really is considering a Houston mayoral run. Re-launching with the Chron would be a strange route to take if his goal was to run for statewide office again. On the other hand, why did he talk about how much he loves the Cowboys? Not too many Cowboy fans who vote in Houston mayoral races.
In the meantime, he apparently dropped some spin in:
The only thing that surprised him? Low voter turnout, an issue that is "threatening Texas's democratic future," Dewhurst said.
It also very probably ended Dewhurst's political career, of course. The May runoff and a 2012 runoff in the lieutenant governor's race against Ted Cruz for the U.S. Senate both featured extremely low turnout of mostly tea partiers opposed to Dewhurst's establishment conservatism.
Dewhurst's losses "also very probably" had nothing to do with turnout. How quickly some forget that the Dew hasn't broken 45% in any ballot test primary poll for years.
Here's the relevant Republican turnout data:
2014 primary turnout: 1,330,000
2014 runoff turnout: 750,000
2012 primary turnout: 1,400,000
2012 runoff turnout: 1,110,000
2010 primary turnout: 1,480,000
1998 primary: 550,000 (600k in guv race)
98 runoff: 230,000
1. 2012 primary turnout was very high. Gubernatorial primaries tend to drive turnout more than senatorial races, and yet Rick v Kay (a race nearly 8 years in the making!) only had marginally more voters. Now 2012 was a presidential year, but the primary was held so late so that the GOP nomination was long-decided. If anything, turnout was probably more depressed than normal by the fact that the primary was held the day after Memorial Day.
2. 2012 runoff turnout was extraordinarily high. 80% of primary voters showed back up to vote in the runoff. Compare that to just about half in the 2014 and 98 races. Contemporary accounts of the race recorded pundits opining that turnout would be under a million.
3. Dewhurst did not lose the runoff because of turnout. He lost because people who lazily voted for Dewhurst in the primary realized that they made a mistake and switched. Dewhurst's nasty campaign ads and milquetoast legislative record came back to haunt him.
Notice how Dewhurst and Cruz essentially switched the number of votes. Cruz even got more votes in the supposed "low turnout" runoff than Dewhurst did in the primary.
The "Dewhurst lost because of turnout" canard is even dumber than the "Dewhurst would've won if the election hadn't been pushed back" counterfactual.