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Sagan, Al’s West Coast coordinator, spoke spontaneously, movingly, of this international organization’s work. Sayan radiates good will and real concern. She speaks of providing “a very real person-to-person” help. Part of AI’s program, she says, is to “educate the torturer,” for he is a victim, too, acting usually on the basis of national security. She said that Al does not defend anyone who has used or advocated violence, except that it does defend anyone who has been tortured or condemned to death for political crimes. Describing conditions in Brazil, Chile, South Africa, Libya, Cuba, she spoke of how it is difficult for persons in the oppressed countries to speak up, “but we outside can do it. We can say . to the prisoners, ‘You are not alone.’ ” We in the United States have developed our military power, and our economic power, but we have been negligent of our moral power, “and it’s time that we did something about that.” Ginetta said that most of the people in political prisons are journalists, doctors, students, lawyers, teachers, labor union leader, and the like people who, in this country, speak freely and go on living in freedom. This made me realize that for American journalists, political activists, reformist officeholders, dissenters of every kind, our freedom is our debt. The simple fact that we are free to help those in other countries who are like us, but are not free, means that we should. As time passes we weary of causes, we choose among them, we quail. But “somewhere,” says Gertrude Barnstone, “somewhere all of these efforts and causes come together -or perhaps they just spring from the same source.” How many parties? Bo Byers, the bureau chief of the Houston Chronicle in Austin, believes the November elections doom the two-party system in Texas probably for the rest of this century. For the Texas Republican Party, he says, the election was “the most disastrous in the last hundred years.” Speaking to the West. Austin Democrats as a fellow Democrat, Byers said that GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Granberry’s defeat with only 31% of the votes Nov. 5 shattered the illusion of Republican progress when Henry Grover came within 100,000 votes of defeating Dolph Briscoe in 1972. Granberry campaigned 17 months and spent $600,000, yet still was badly drubbed. Bo’s main point was the fact that the legislature, controlled by conservative Democrats, has so timed the beginning of the four-year cycles for state elections that they will always fall between presidential elections, as they did for the first time this year. First, Bo pointed out, this guarantees a 22 The Texas Observer low turnout. This year, for instance, nearly 70% of Texans registered to vote did not vote. Of all Texans who could have qualified to vote, \(including those who did candidate needed, to get elected, only 11% of the potential voters about one out of ten. In the November, 1974, election in Texas, “78% of Texas adults were not involved.” But second, Bo said, the heavy Democratic tradition means the Republicans are wiped out state-wide for the foreseeable future. One reason Grover came so close was Nixon’s coattails in the presidential contest with McGovern. Not again can the state’s Republicans hope for this coattail effect for their gubernatorial candidates. Therefore, as Bo sees it, Texas is now condemned for decades to the perpetuation of “a system in which there is virtually no element for political accountability.” In his view, there is not at present not one “truly identifable person with liberal credentials holding a major state office.” He does not go along with the easy assumption that the state is out pessimistically that most of the people who are inclined toward liberalism do not participate in the election process anything like as much as conservatives. \(This is “So whatever progress we have,” he says, “probably will come from the federal government, not the state . . . . Universal inaction at the state level finally forces the federal government to act.” As Byers sees it, Atty. Gen. John Hill will get liberal-labor support for governor in 1978, and Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby will have the moderates and conservatives. What of Land Cmsr. Bob Armstrong? “I’d be surprised if Bob Armstrong ever goes for a higher office,” Byers said. “I really don’t see Bob going beyond the office he’s now in.” \(I do not see eye to eye with Byers on issues will stir up the voters, even in non-presidential years? “In Texas,” Byers said, “since we have’ a system based on the cult of personality, we never develop the issues.” I believe Bo is right to this extent: that if the Republicans expect to have much chance of winning the statehouse in 1978, they must make common cause with liberals in the legislature to submit a constitutional amendment causing a one-time hitch in the four-year terms to get the statewide elections to occur in presidential years. And as Byers says, the prospect of this reform is dim because two-thirds of the legislature has to approve the submission of a constitutional amendment. Although I think Bo should be a charter member of the Pessimists’ Club some of us in Austin are about ready to join, and although pessimism is often the better part of realism, I do not agree that the prospect is all that bleak. The precondition of a two-party state has always been either a Republican or a liberal governor. Either situation be expected to cause conservative Democrats to move to the Texas Republican Party in substantial numbers, possibly giving us a two-party state. A liberal, Ralph Yarborough, almost won the governorship in the 1950’s; another liberal, Don Yarborough, came very close against John Connally in 1962, and but for a bullet well might have won in 1964; and a Republican, Grover, got close two years ago. I see no inherent reason why liberals have less chance in the Democratic primaries because these will be non-presidential years, since there is never much of a presidential coat-tail effect as early in the year as the primaries. If a liberal were nominated by the Democrats, then you could expect hordes of conservative Democrats to switch in. November and favor a Republican for governor. Within the parameters of conventional politics, the Republicans must now accept that, barring a re-scheduling of the four-year state elections, they must help nominate a liberal Democrat for governor if they are to be able to hope to win that office in November. Secondly, there are two new elements. One is the 18-year-old vote and the likelihood that within the next few years it will become more organized and potent. The other is the gradually increasing pressure from the national Democratic Party to require conservative state party officials, such as the ones in Texas, to take affirmative steps to increase the participation of blacks, browns, women, and the young. Thirdly, by 1978, we will better know whether the Democratic Party is going to continue to fall apart, \(which is what it is it will become a party governed once again from the bottom up instead of the other way around. The gloomy situation means that 1978 may be the time for Texas progressives to deliberately triangulate the electorate by mounting major statewide independent candidates for the November elections. Manipulating the timing of the elections to wipe out a two-party state, the conservative Democrats who are determined that we have a no-party state may drive us instead to a three-party state. R.D. * 4 *