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The Texas Observer SEPT. 20, 1968 A Journal of Free Voices A Window to The South 25c Texas Liberals Regroup Austin From the ashes of total rout at the June state Democratic convention in Dallas has arisen the state’s latest liberal hope, the New Democratic Coalition of Texas. More than 350 persons registered during the eight-and-one-half-hour meeting; on hand were the usual persons who have borne the burden of liberal leadership in this difficult year, some old faces who have not been seen of late but who have been prominent in the recent past, and a significant number of the young, most of them disappointed McCarthyites and backers of the late Sen. Robert Kennedy. Though the day’s activities concluded with a protracted debate about the difficult question of whether to endorse Hubert Humphrey for president and though there was apprehension among a good number of those attending about the potentially divisive effects of that question, the main business of the day was not 1968 but the formation of an organization that will aim, in 1970 or 1972 or perhaps thereafter, to take over as the regular Democratic party of Texas. The leaders of the NDCT are the same people who prosecuted the unexpectedly effective challenge to the make-up of the regular Texas delegation to the national Demo convention last month in Chicago. If there is hope for the new coalition it lies partly in the acuity of this leadership’s efforts in preparing that challenge after the demoralizing disaster at Dallas in June. Throughout the day there was apprehension about the impending resolutions debate on endorsing Humphrey. On other questionsVietnam, the draft, challenging the Connallycrats for party control there was substantial broad-based consensus. But Humphrey was the question, particularly in view of the considerable number of young persons present who would brook no endorsement of HHH. As the meeting began last Saturday morning the division within the group on the Humphrey question quickly became apparent, when the opening speaker, State Rep. Curtis Graves, said, “You and I have been the individuals who stuck with Franklin Roosevelt in the old days, who waved the flag for Harry Truman .. ., who stood by Adlai Stevenson and who stood by John Connally and LBJand now we’re the ones who are gonna stand by Hubert Humphrey!” This last statement was greeted by a mixed chorus of boos and cheers, many of the delegates, the young mostly, yelling “No! No!” “Well, there’s always Channing Phillips you can vote for,” Graves said, smiling, to the anti-Humphrey people. THE RESOLUTIONS committee had approved the following statement for floor debate: “Those of us who believe that Hubert Humphrey represents the best alternative now available commend him for his progressive domestic record, and will work for his election. Others of us, however, will continue to watch developments before taking any position. We do not seek to bind our members’ consciences in the pending national election by any declaration of endorsement or preference.” Ronnie Dugger, Austin writer who served as chairman of the resolutions committee, summarized the committee’s discussion of the Humphrey issue. At first, he said, there were two points of view. A majority of the committee wanted a statement of non-endorsement; a minority wanted to endorse Humphrey. The vote was 8-5 for non-endorsement. The committee’s deliberations delayed resumption of the afternoon plenary session for some time. Finally the committee adjourned and began choosing speakers for the majority and minority positions. “We wondered how to save the organization from a floor fight,” Dugger said. The resolution sent to the floor was a compromise that sought avoidance of such a fight. At the urging of Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio liberal leader who is committed to party loyalty, the resolution’s final sentence was deleted by voice vote after lengthy floor debate. Maverick said, “Hubert, I think, wants to be emancipated. I think he’s a decent man.” Maverick warned the group to “look at the future. . . . what’s going to happen in 1972? We’ve been saying for 20 years that we are the real Democrats. If that’s true, we have to support Humphrey.” Maverick seemed to believe his amendment crucial to the future of the new coalition and also that it would ease pressure on liberal leaders such as Sen. Ralph Yarborough who can be embarrassed by defections of liberals. Yarborough had planned to be at the meeting but had arrived in Austin from Peru at 2 a.m. and did not attend. He sent a telegram to the delegates in the afternoon urging support of party nominees from the local level up to the White House. Maverick also evidently felt that the group must give some sort of “symbolic” \(his by deleting the resolution’s final sentence that made it clear that the group was not endorsing anyone and, he went on, could argue in 1972, if necessary, at the national convention that they had “symbolically” supported Humphrey in 1968. It seemed a fine point. Dr. Clifford Grubbs, an economics professor at the University of Texas at Austin, supported Maverick’s amendment, saying, “What Maury Maverick asks you to consider constitutes the condition of the minimum survival of this group. Maury’s wording does not bind you to an endorsement.” Dugger spoke against the amendment. “We had a problem in the [resolutions] committee, whether the organization could fairly discern the differences in the group. There will be a lot of write-in votes for McCarthy \(and that means for change the import of the resolution, it changes the sound.” Charles Layton, a student, said, “Many of us were brought into the campaign this year by the war issue. We can’t support a war candidate. Don’t ram Hubert Humphrey down our throats. Bernard Rapoport, Waco, answered, “Nobody here is trying to ram anybody down anybody’s throat. We by virtue of being in this room have chosen the Democratic party as our vehicle.” He read the telegram from Yarborough urging endorsement of the Democratic ticket. Ed Cogburn, Houston, said that the situation reminded him of an incident in England when a leftist candidate had been elected to parliament by a narrow vote. It was right before England went to war, but the candidate voted against a draft bill and was ridden out of office on a tide of militarism. Cogburn quoted G. B. Shaw as saying of the MP, “Why couldn’t he have risen above principle?” “There are times when the decisions are all bad,” Cogburn said. “If this is going to be a Democratic organization, we can at least vote for the Maverick amendment.” AFTER THE voice vote supporting the Maverick amendment \(there tion was passed by a second voice vote,