Archive for January, 2012

David Dewhurst: The GOP’s Bad Side Personified

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

A nation that embraces a two party system often finds itself faced with a fractured electorate. It’s nearly impossible to contain such diverse views within two tents, and various factions form as a result. The rise of the GOP’s conservative base as personified by the Tea Party movement is indicative of this, and the same can be said of liberal dissatisfaction embodied in the Occupy Wall Street protests.

In Texas, a microcosm of this phenomenon on the right can be seen in the US Senate primary for Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s open seat. Sitting Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has largely been seen as the “default” winner given that he is in possession of the personal wealth necessary to self-fund and has the highest profile in the race. However, his complete disregard for the voters has become so pervasive an issue that it threatens to throw him into a downward spiral; and rightfully so.

In fact, polling has consistently demonstrated that grassroots conservative favorite Ted Cruz continues to close in on Dewhurst. A poll released by Public Policy Polling on January 17th shows that since the last time PPP polled the race in September, Cruz has gained 6 points while Dewhurst has fallen 5. Additionally, the President of PPP, Tom Jensen, makes a compelling point. Jensen said of the results:

“Here’s a finding that signals the potential of this race to get very interesting: Among those 29% familiar with Cruz, whether they like him or not, he leads Dewhurst 34-31.  That speaks well to his ability to make things competitive once he becomes better known and really starts spending money.”

Relating directly to the aforementioned numbers, familiarity with Dewhurst makes it easy to discern that the more he interacts with the right-wing base, the higher his negatives grow. This largely explains, but certainly doesn’t excuse, the fact that Dewhurst responds almost exclusively by ignoring us – and the most high profile example of this behavior to date happened at the Texas Saddle Up straw poll event in Houston very recently. (An event, by the way, where Ted Cruz won the US Senate straw poll with 48% of the total vote).