State Sen. Wendy Davis' Fragile Political Future
With Texas State Senator Wendy Davis' filibuster of SB 5 last week, she's become a liberal rockstar. Her filibuster was halted and the bill was passed, but not before the 12am deadline killed the bill – for now. The unruly masses of pro-abortion activists in the gallery caused such a disturbance that procedural motions were unable to be heard, thus preventing the bill from being passed successfully. It was mob rule. The bill would've banned abortions 20-weeks into a pregnancy. And Gov. Rick Perry has already called another special session to begin in July The bill has the votes. It's going to pass. Yet, some on the left feel that Davis "revived" the Texas Democratic Party.
Christopher Hooks at Slate wrote on June 27:
“It’s [the Davis filibuster] kind of awakened the Democratic Party, which didn’t really have a lot of lifeblood flowing through it,” says Terrysa Guerra, a rising strategist in the state party. “I see a tremendous amount of excitement. More than I’ve ever seen at any point in my career—even in 2008.”
Davis, a longtime champion of Texas Democrats, has been profiled dozens of times in the last 24 hours. The child of a poor Fort Worth family, she was a divorced single mother by the age of 19. After putting herself through a two-year paralegal program at a nearby county college, she graduated first in her class from Texas Christian University. Then, Harvard Law, with honors. Charismatic, articulate, friendly, principled, and relentlessly driven, she’s been one of the great hopes of her party, which hasn’t won a statewide post in almost 15 years.
However, one thing the left misses, possibly due to their hyper-emotionalism, is the fact that Davis' political stability is tenuous at best. In 2012, when Obama was running for re-election, she only managed to win 51% of the vote. The Obama coattails only gave her a win by a margin of a little over 6,000 votes. That's it! With Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act being struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court this past week, Texas' new redistricting plans, which are still up in the air, shouldn't help Davis either.
Some have mentioned a statewide run for Davis, possibly for governor if Gov. Rick Perry decided not to run for reelection in 2014. Even there, her chances of electoral success are dubious. As Politico reported on June 26:
[If] Davis takes the plunge for governor, she would likely face a well-moneyed Republican from that party’s deep state bench — if not current Gov. Rick Perry himself. And poll numbers indicate that most in Texas don’t know her, let alone favor her.
unning for other statewide offices, such as the lieutenant governor’s post now occupied by former Ted Cruz primary foe David Dewhurst, could pose similar challenges for Davis.
“We would welcome her running statewide and I wish she would,” Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri told POLITICO as legislative maneuvering continued in the statehouse following Davis’s filibuster early Wednesday morning. The party sees Davis’s state Senate seat as ripe for the taking, and it phone-banked Republicans in her district on Tuesday to “fire up our base,” Munisteri said, adding that the party would deploy staff to her district for a reelection fight starting this fall.
The national attention — and potential money — she is winning from the filibuster might help but won’t be enough to win a statewide race, Munisteri said.
Maybe she’ll lose by 13 instead of 17,” he said.
Fifty-eight percent of Texans surveyed in a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released June 17 said they didn’t know their opinion of Davis or didn’t have one, with an additional 19 percent saying they viewed her neither favorably nor unfavorably.
There's also the polling.
According to Gallup, only 14% of Americans support third trimester abortions. Sixty-two percent of Texans support SB 5. National Journal's recent poll of American attitudes towards 20-week bans on abortions showed that 48% support such a measure. Most importantly, 50% of women support the restriction – and 52% of 18-29 year olds also agreed that abortion should be banned at twenty weeks. While liberals can tout polling showing that Americans don't support overturning Roe.v Wade – which is true – it doesn't mean they're against restrictions on the procedure.
In short, if Davis wants to turn her pro-abortion stance into electoral success, she's finished. Additionally, if Democrats want to divide their base further after the failed gun control campaign this past winter, then supporting pro-infanticide candidates is the way to go.