Texas Democrats are holding a virtual convention this year, and there was a lot of discussion Wednesday on the racial issues that are dominating the news.
The task they face is how to get the vote of minorities who are frustrated with a political system they feel doesn't seem to work for them.
Democrats believe a major factor for their potential success this fall is getting support from minority communities, primarily Latinos and African-Americans.
“It is crucial in these elections, given what we are seeing and hearing from the White House, that we protect the vote,” said Nueces Co. Democratic Party Chair Coretta Graham.
Graham said her party is focused on winning control of the state legislature.
“Elections matter, and we want to make sure that we flip the state house and make sure we have people in place who will do the right thing for all Texans,” Graham said.
Local Democrats believe in order to do so, everyone with the right to vote should get the opportunity to do so, even if that means allowing more people to mail in their ballot.
“We don’t need to make it harder for people to vote in this pandemic,” she said.
However, the state house is only one goal for Democrats, who also believe Texas is up for grabs nationally, given what Graham calls President Trump’s ‘politics of division.’
“We have historical, systemic racism in this country, and we have to to make historical, systemic changes," she said.
Local Republicans agree that courting the minority vote is crucial.
“We have to reach out -- we’ve got to do a better job than what we’ve been doing; and listen,” said Nueces Co. Republican Party Chair Jim Kaelin. “Listen to the community, and what they have to say.”
Democrats, however, want more Republicans to speak out against the president.
“If you really are serious about helping minorities, whatever that means to you, the first step is to hold this president accountable for his racist rhetoric,” Graham said.
Flipping the legislature would allow Democrats more say in next year’s redistricting process. Graham said her group's goal is to make the districts fairer.
The 2020 Texas Democratic Convention runs online through Saturday. The 2020 Texas Republican Convention will be held in-person July 14-18 in Houston.