Texas Democrats apparently don’t think very highly of President Obama’s attempt to keep corporate influence out of the Democratic Party. In February 2011, the Democratic National Committee announced that it was banning all corporate donations its convention in Charlotte this summer. President Obama made a point of touting the ban as a way to increase “grassroots” participation in the convention.
DNC Communication Director Brad Woodhouse said, “From the very beginning, President Obama has placed a high priority on increasing the influence of grassroots and individual donors, and this convention will go further in that direction than any convention ever.”
Faced with growing difficulties in funding the convention, the Democrats quietly reversed course. The official ban on corporate donations remains in place, but the party set up a local fund that accepts corporate donations to the convention.
The Texas Democratic Party hosts its 2012 convention in Houston later this week. A quick glance at the convention’s sponsors page turns up the usual suspects. Big Labor shows up in force, in the form of SEIU, IBEW, United Steel Workers, UAW, the Texas Trial Lawyers Assocation, the AFL-CIO and a couple of teachers unions. Three Planned Parenthood groups bought sponsorships. Along with these major sponsorships, AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Union Pacific, Anheuser-Busch, Microsoft and defense contractor Lockheed Martin all lead the cast of corporate sponsors. Such sponsorships would be banned at the Democrats’ national convention.
The Texas Democratic Party has strongly backed Barack Obama since he used that party’s two-step primary caucus to capture more DNC delegates than Hillary Clinton in 2008, despite the fact that more voters voted for Clinton. Since that time, the Texas Democrats have revamped their web presence and rhetoric to match the Obama style and branding, and the party has consistently backed Obama’s anti-Texas policies and stuck to far left efforts to stop the Texas legislature from passing voter ID. Texans rejected Democrats in elections all over the state in 2010, handing the Democrats their most thorough defeat since Reconstruction.
No Democrat has won a statewide race in Texas since 1998, so the TDP may be using its corporate sponsorships as a way of belatedly distancing itself from the Obama administration’s anti-business rhetoric and policies. Or, they may have figured out that without corporations, millions of Texans won’t have jobs. If that’s the case, the TDP would do well to deliver that message to the anti-business president they keep supporting.