How `New Politics' Won in Texas
by Anita Gallagher
Democrat Ciro Rodriguez won a landslide victory 55-45% in the Texas 23rd Congressional District in the Dec. 12 runoff—a stunning upset of seven-term incumbent Republican Henry Bonilla, which experts in the "old politics" had pronounced impossible, based on Bonilla's $2 million war chest versus a nearly broke Rodriguez campaign, and the supposed assured turnout of Bonilla's informed, relatively better-off Republican voter base.
The 23rd district comprises 21,000 square miles, running from San Antonio west to El Paso, along the Mexican border. However, 65% of the newly drawn district's vote occurred in the C-shaped rim comprising the north, west, and south portions of the city of San Antonio in Bexar County.
The LaRouche Youth Movement arrived on the scene on Nov. 28, and began a two-week organizing blitz at Palo Alto College, a commuter college of 800 students on the south side of town, in Precinct 1046, and the huge University of Texas at San Antonio on the north side of the city, in Precinct 3134.
The LYM organized at Palo Alto, and in the precinct directly north of the campus, 1047, at the South Park Mall, and its nearby intersection, Military Road at I-35, getting out thousands of pieces of literature. The LYM's distribution of thousands of copies of the "Is Joseph Goebbels on Your Campus?" pamphlet, commissioned by Lyndon LaRouche, on the nationwide, university-based mind-control gestapo set up by Lynne Cheney (Campus Watch), along with "Organizing a Recovery from the Great Crash of 2007," LaRouche's Nov. 16, 2006 webcast, and brutal humor directed at Bush-Cheney, began to change the political environment immediately. On Dec. 4, eight days before the election, an independent poll by SurveyUSA/WOAI-TV, showed Bonilla ahead 53-46. A few days later, private Democratic polls reportedly showed the race even, at 44-44, and then, Rodriguez pulled ahead by 47-44, according to reports. Around Dec. 8, President Bill Clinton made the decision to come to speak at Palo Alto College on Dec. 10, which event lifted the idea of youth taking action for a future over the top.
As the map shows, the precincts where the LYM organized, voted heavily for Rodriguez (the eight precincts on the south side), with a voter turnout ranging from 17-21% on Dec. 12.
On the north side, historically the Republican stronghold, the LYM organized around the University of Texas at San Antonio, with its 20,000 student commuters. The extensive LYM organizing changed the result from Nov. 7 to Dec. 12. On Nov. 7, Bonilla won the precincts in the north handily. By Dec. 12, ten of these precincts shown northwest of the city, had become "War Zones," where the vote was now virtually 50-50.
And, in very hard-core Republican areas such as precincts 3030, 3044, and 3075 (see map), the vote remained overwhelmingly Republican on Dec. 12, but the turnout was cut in half from Nov. 7. For the first time ever, the Republicans lost the "early voting" phase of an election—an eight-day period, from Dec. 2-9, which Republicans had always won. As the San Antonio Express reported Dec. 12, "Defying every political truism of Bexar County politics, Bonilla started the night by becoming the rare well-known Republican to not only lose early voting, but to lose it badly." Bonilla's voters had become demoralized, in the environment of the LYM addressing the demise of the nation under Bush-Cheney, while the LaRouche youth mobilized what will become the dominant factor in future elections: youth, and a youth-inspired vote for a future.