Last night in Las Vegas, Linda Chavez-Thompson not only lit up the auditorium in front of a crowd of 2000 eager progressives, she also lit up the currents in which online activism thrives, becoming a trending topic on Twitter and earning the attention--and money--of anyone paying attention online. Also paying attention was Politico, who quoted her this morning in their Netroots Nation wrap-up as saying, “The old way of doing politics is done. This is the new thing. If you don’t embrace it, you lose out on a whole new way to get your message out.”
The old way is done, indeed. Chavez-Thompson didn't just deliver a speech last night, she delivered a leader. In an unhurried, eighteen minute speech, Chavez-Thompson took her time, weaving the tale of a come-from-behind underdog who now has the power, drive and (my words, not hers) cojones to make it better. It was the making of a super hero--actually, make that heroine--in a time when both Texans and those squinting toward our state thinking "What the hell is going on down there?" are so desperately in need of one.
The speech echoed a national disappointment in Texas's education system, a system which Chavez-Thompson is well-aware of the failures. Her lack of college education may still sting bitterly, but it also helps her push back against those who expect it to slow her down. She spoke with a sense of rebellious disbelief about the excuses and outright lies on the part of the Republican party, as if saying to the audience "Look at what I've overcome -- you think we can't overcome this?"
To the chorus of "Republicans: they just don't get it," Chavez-Thompson quickly found a common ground with the audience. When at one point she motioned to the crowd to keep booing Rick Perry, saying "They're going to kill me back there because I'm taking that extra moment," that extra moment seemed to win over hearts and Twitter accounts.
"Linda Chavez Thompson touched me! I told her she shd [sic] be President!" tweeted Sady Doyle, a New York-based writer.
"Raul Grijalva and Linda Chavez Thompson giving gente something to be very proud of at #nn10," said Ernesto Aguilar, a Houston radio producer and journalist, on Twitter.
Among scores of other tweets, a Los Angeles "Momocrat" summed it up best as Chavez-Thompson railed against Texas's failure in high school drop-out rates: "Am TOTALLY charmed by Linda Chavez-Thompson, candidate for Lt Gov of TX. She has #NN10 eating out of her hand! 'Que Linda' indeed!"
Que Linda indeed. "For those of you that are limited," Chavez-Thompson said, she has a translation for you. "Que linda" means "How beautiful." On November 2nd, que Linda will Texas be? That's up to us. Donate to Linda Chavez-Thompson today, and if you missed last night's keynote address, you can watch it below. Her speech starts at 1:11:07 into the recording.