LIBERALISM WITH LOCAL CHARACTERISTICS?
I've been wary of the cult of Wendy Davis, mostly because it seems based on the belief that one person's candidacy can magically pull an electorate far to the left of where it's been for years. This is the same sort of thinking I saw in the 2000 Nader cult: yes, the Congress is wall-to-wall corporatists, and no, that won't change if Nader somehow becomes president, because we're not putting any of our youthful energy into electing Naderites to Congress, but still, a Nader victory will change everything. Sorry, that's not how it works -- Wendy Davis as governor would be a left-centrist in a state that votes wingnut all the way down the ballot; the state still has to evolve out of wingnuttery before it'll be ready to elect a government that isn't dominated by the far right, regardless of who the governor is. That evolution hasn't happened yet.
And is Davis even a left-centrist? Here she is saying she actually backs a 20-week abortion ban -- or would back one if women and their doctors, rather than the state, got to decide when a later-term abortion was medically necessary. This comes a few days after Davis declared her support for an "open carry" law.
Look, maybe I have Yankee tunnel vision, but at a certain point I don't see why I should be any more excited about a possible Wendy Davis victory than I was about, say, the victory of Joe Manchin or Claire McCaskill of Heidi Heitkamp -- it's good, it's a step in the right direction, but it's not a sign that Texas has turned into a truly purple state a la Nevada or Colorado. I'll acknowledge that the anti-abortion right considers Davis's position on the 20-week ban a huge loophole, because the state doesn't dictate the terms; Slate's Amanda Marcotte, who's from Texas, thinks saying this is politically shrewd, and points out that it's consistent with what Davis has said in the past about abortion. But still: mainstream Democratic ideas aren't radical, and that includes opposition to such bans. If many mainstream Democratic ideas continue to be way too pinko for Texas, then that state still has a hell of a long way to go.
So I hope Davis wins, but I still regard Texas as a backwater. A lot more has to change there before I'll feel good about the fact that we share a country.