2018 Texas Democratic Convention at Fort Worth Convention Center

A thread on what I’m learning at the 2018 Texas Democratic Convention.

In March, after the Parkland shooting, I decided I had to do more, I had to get more involved. But I didn’t know how. So as not to feel overwhelmed, my political emails are filtered out of my inbox and into a particular folder that I read periodically, but I happened to see one about my district convention. It also included an encouragement to sign up to be a state delegate if interested **even if you couldn’t make the district convention**. The only requirement was that you voted in the primary. That’s it. So I went. And I listened. And I got a feel for how it generally works.

These political parties, at least the Dems anyway, are not monolithic entities carved in stone. They are living, breathing organizations. Their rules are reviewed and amended at these conventions (which happen every two years). Resolutions are drafted to take up to the next level convention. This is democracy in action. So I became a state delegate just by saying I would (I didn’t even have to show up, but I did). Now I’m at the state convention and listening and learning.

After picking up my delegate badge, the first part of today is caucusing. A caucus is similar to a precinct or district, except that you opt in to it as opposed to being a part of it by virtue of geography. Just ask to join one. Then you get to vote on who you support and what resolutions you want to support as a group. Or, if you’re not a member (yet), you can go and listen and learn.

Later today is the general session and then district caucusing. If you have a question, ask and I’ll see if I can find the answer. Things have to change. They HAVE to. If you’re not thrilled about what the party you most align with ideologically is doing or who they’re putting forward. Get. Involved.

Running for office takes money. Participation is free. Voting is free.

Edited to add: Districts meet frequently (monthly? I have to check) to discuss bills, resolutions and other actions that you can do to contribute and work on to make the changes you want to see. Also, sign up to speak at hearings from school board to city council to state committee hearings.

Speak. Up. It’s SO important. For every person that speaks up, the representatives understand it to mean many more feel the same way (I have heard on the order of 200, but again, I need to check).


  1. There are many caucuses happening simultaneously, so you have to just decide which ones you want to participate in.
    I started with the Women’s Caucus (because duh) and it was amazing to see so many women running for office.
    I stuck around to hear the beginning of the Texas Coalition of Black Democrats.
    For both of these, I wasn’t present for the business part, but both had an inspiring line up of candidates to introduce.

  2. The 11am round was a tough choice, but I went to the standing room only Stop Gun Violence meeting. Lots of good information.
    Texas Gun Sense is bipartisan and the board member that spoke is a gun violence survivor and a gun owner. She is passionate about safe storage and red flag, or Extreme Risk Protective Orders.
    Currently Texas state law has a Guardian plan and a Marshall plan to allow schools to arm teachers and others (not to arm them, but to allow them). The Guardian plan has NO restrictions or requirements, please urge your representatives to oppose it. The Marshall plan is not much better.
    The Republican platform taken up last week opposes any red flag/ERPO.
    Students from March for Our Lives Texas were there and very much appreciated being heard and supported. They can’t vote, they NEED us to be their voices. They have not been invited to sessions on gun violence and we’re given 2 minutes each at one. They need our help.

  3. I signed a call for a resolution to End Prosecution of Migrants Seeking Asylum.
    One delegate pointed out that the Berlin Wall fell after WEEKLY demonstrations EVERY Monday.
    We have to keep speaking up and do it more often than once a year.
    Re: gun violence
    Go to debates and public forums and ask the candidates questions.
    Get them to talk about their plans.
    Don’t let them go unopposed.
    As the new Hispanic Caucus Committee Man just told us, hold party leaders accountable.
    Become a party leader. You can start locally as a precinct chair or state district executive committee member.
    Currently voting on Hispanic Caucus Committee Woman.
    (In the Democratic Party, each district and caucus has a man and a woman leader.)
    Over 7,400 delegates apparently makes this the largest Democratic State Convention in the country. (Not fact checked)
    Not going to lie. On a major emotional roller coaster today.
    Public office is about doing what you can for the community you serve. -Julian Castro
    The general session is ongoing and is pretty much a cheerleading session. Some good speeches though, and reminders about what brings us together as a party.
    However, a quick note about the Hispanic Caucus. Not entirely sure Roberts rules of order were comply followed. Voting for the vice chair became complicated.
    Motions by a couple of people in particular were being ignored.
    Afterwards, I asked one of them what just happened.
    Apparently, since the time of Mickey Leeland, the Black Caucus and the Hispanic Caucus have had an agreement (born out of being fed up with being ignored/not taken seriously) that one would put forth a candidate for one party office and the other a candidate for another and alternate years. I don’t recall which ones atm, should have jotted it down sooner, but IIRC, the Black Caucus is putting forward a candidate on an “off” year so the Hispanic Caucus is not fielding an opponent (the leader is an Hispanic Caucus member, so this seems fair). But the Hispanic Caucus didn’t endorse anyone for a third position because of the original agreement?
    I’m still not entirely sure what happened other than RRO being ignored a couple of times. So. Yay politics.
    General session reconvened today at noon.
    Today began with more business than pomp.
    Resolutions adopted, rules updated, party leadership elected.
    If you’ve ever been to a club meeting that uses Roberts Rules of Order, just imagine scaling that to around 7,000. Once they got microphones spread enough around the arena, it actually worked fairly well.
    Now we’re hearing from elected officials and more candidates.

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