Why I'm Not Picking Sides in Doggett Versus Castro

Look, I like a good primary fight as much as the next gal. Stirring up some trouble among local establishment players is always a fun way to kill a few hours over in the comments section on Burnt Orange Report and sometimes even the best Democrat is made better by a tough primary race.

But when it comes to the impending bloodbath between the Lloyd Doggett and Joaquin Castro camps for the newly redistricted CD-35, I've decided I'm not going to have a dog in that fight. Here's why:

If Democrats spend the next six months ripping apart Doggett and Castro over stupid things like who's more progressive, the Republicans will win. 

I don't mean "win" as it is used when referring to "winning a seat" or "winning an election." I mean that the Republicans will get their way. Of course the Republicans want to get rid of Doggett. Of course it would make more sense for Castro to step aside and let Doggett run unopposed. Of course Democrats will be more intrigued in eating their own than pointing their wrath and infighting toward the real issues at hand. See how that works? Bump, set, spike. Point: Republicans.

We have a lot of issues that Democrats need to flesh out for voters between now and March and, more importantly, now and November 2012. Whether or not Congressional seniority is more important than potential promise simply isn't one of them.

Democrats need to unite and rise above this primary battle. Either candidate would be a helluva lot better of a choice than if we were stuck with some Bermanesque rightwing lunatic representing the district. Let's focus on what's really important: defeating Republicans in 2012. Reelecting a President who is going to need all the help he can get. Recruiting more female candidates (Draft Dolly!) to run for office. Getting out the vote.

The Republicans are good enough at explaining why someone shouldn't vote for a Democrat. Let's not use the March primary to give them a head start.


17 Response to "Why I'm Not Picking Sides in Doggett Versus Castro"

  • Jeff Windom Says:

    "Of course it would make more sense for Castro to step aside and let Doggett run unopposed."

    I'm not sure this is as self-evident as your "of course it would make more sense" implies.

    Wouldn't it make just as much sense for Doggett to step aside and let Castro run opposed?

  • Kathy Vale Says:

    Rachel, I am a strident Castro supporter. I liked your post, but found it a bit naive... esp. given that you make no mention of the fact this CD35 was specifically drawn as a HISPANIC majority district based on census results. Beyond the competing issues of seniority v youthful promise, I see balancing out historic Hispanic marginalization in this area as a key issue -- which will intersect nicely with the debate over single-member districts in Austin. Latinos all over Austin, San Marcos, Buda, Bastrop, New Braunfels have waited a long time for a Latino to represent them in Congress... Doggett has been a loyal and faithful public servant for 40 years, but many believe it's time for someone else to have an opportunity to represent both the rising tide of Latinos along with everyone else. Joaquin has paid his dues and he's running to win. He recently said if elected he plans to buy a home and live in East Austin while serving as congressman. I encourage you to stay open to the debate and get to know Joaquin... As difficult, at times, as it has been over the arc of history, Democrats have a long history of making tough choices and standing their ground. Joaquin is such a decent, honorable person - I do not expect he will take this race below the belt in any way whatsoever... that said, I am eager for the candidates (who have filed!) to have a debate, lay our their vision, discuss the issues and let's see what they have to say for themselves, face-to-face. Love your blog -- keep doing what you do! Con gusto, Kathy Vale

  • Jeff Windom Says:

    I meant "let Castro run unopposed."

  • Anonymous Says:

    They and their supporters can go suck an egg. It's a new district, so Doggett is an ass pretending he is the incumbent. Everybody knows the GOP goal was to get rid of Doggett, so Castro is an ass for doing their will. Supporters on both sides are beating up on the (mostly) good Democrats on the other side.


    Save the venom for the GOP folks.

  • Michael Says:

    I'm not choosing a side either. Firstly, I do not live in the district. Being a Texas resident there are plenty of conservatives to try to defeat in all upcoming elections.

  • gen Says:

    Kathy Vale,

    What percentage of Democrats and voters are women in the under represented areas you've mentioned? There's plenty of historic marginalization to go around.

    Gen van cleve

  • Kathy Vale Says:

    Gen v c - completely agree with your comment, which is why no one should be perceived as the de facto incumbent. it's a wide open race in a brand new 'Hispanic Majority' district. let's see who officially enters the race and campaigns as a viable candidate with strength, passion and conviction to bring out the vote for all the D's in November! thanks for your comment!

  • Phillip Martin Says:

    This is, by far, the weakest argument for not engaging in this race. Primaries create better Democrats:


  • RBearSAT Says:

    Interesting post but the fact of the matter is a) you essentially did pick a side with your "Of course it would make more sense for Castro to step aside and let Doggett run unopposed." and b) focusing on 2012 doesn't really make sense when there's a primary in the way.

    So, by your "I'm not picking sides" comment, you really meant you ARE taking sides and would prefer it be Doggett. Convoluted logic to get to the real meaning.

    Face it, you really want to say you support Doggett but have a weird way of saying it.

  • Mean Rachel Says:

    @Phillip: Wait, you said it is the weakest argument while echoing the second sentence in my post. So is your argument that Primaries create better Democrats weak too?

    @RBearSAT: I could see why you think that but I wrote that sentence as if it is what Republicans are thinking in their game book, not what I think. I guess it was a failure in punctuation, because I think it would be better served with a colon as written below:

    I mean that the Republicans will get their way: Of course the Republicans want to get rid of Doggett. Of course it would make more sense for Castro to step aside and let Doggett run unopposed. Of course Democrats will be more intrigued in eating their own than pointing their wrath and infighting toward the real issues at hand. See how that works? Bump, set, spike. Point: Republicans.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Primaries create better Democrats? Hooey. Doggett and Castro are fine Democrats right now.

    Primaries create better job opportunities for consultants.

  • Phillip Martin Says:

    The "Republican will win" argument is the worst argument because of what you wrote, that primaries are good for Democrats. If something is good for us, how do they win?

    I also don't understand the whole "Doggett is targeted" argument so much. Of course he's targeted - it's the only Democrat they could potentially pick off without violating the Voting Rights Act. If Doggett had lost and Chet Edwards were still around, they'd be targeting him. If Edwards and Doggett were gone and Martin Frost were still around, they'd be targeting him. Republicans don't like Doggett, sure, but they don't like lots of the Democrats in Congress -- you don't see them targeting Sheila Jackson Lee or Eddie Bernice Johnson. They can't. Doggett is the only one they can create a bad scenario for; of course this is going to happen.

    If Doggett were staying in his current TX-25 and Castro was challenging him there, then OK. But both Castro and Doggett have elected to run in this new seat. Maybe that's what Republicans intended when they drew the map, but it's the hand that's been dealt, and absent a time machine that allows us to reset the circumstances of the entire 2010 political landscape, it's the only cards on the table to play with.

  • Jeff Windom Says:

    I'm with Phil.

    We have two great candidates, and whichever one emerges from the primary will likely galvanize Democrats in the fall and kick the Republican's butt.

    Methinks Rachel worries too much.

  • tamsterbath Says:

    The elected white Democrat in the state of Texas is an endangered species. Not sure if the Voting Rights Act has hurt more than helped here.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Then why are you supporting Charlie Baird's pointless challenge to Rosemary Lehmburg?

  • Mean Rachel Says:

    Anonymous: Good question. Because of this.

  • Anonymous Says:

    Hispanics represent only 5% of congress, but 12% of US. Move over Lloyd for the new America.