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Vol. 70, No. 23 Incorporating the State Observer and the Eat ‘ crat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Fat PRODUCTION MAN ASSISTANT EDIT\( STAFF ASSISTANTS: Marg6 cester, Larry Zinn, Jamie Florence, Karen White, Chare, CONTRIBUTORS: Kaye N Hopper, Stanley Walker, Dan , Wray, Roy Hamrie, Thomas. Rankin, Maury Maverick Jr., . Davidson, Molly Ivins, Ralph ‘ Mahoney, John Spragens Jr., S an Guarino, Sus Lee, Bob BUSINESS STAFF:v ADVERTISING: Rhett 4 , Slt*AkkA \\ A journ We will serve no group or par find it and the right as we see it w human values above all interests’ foundation of democracy; we will f conscience, and never will we overt’ serve the interests of the powerful’Ort spirit The editor has exclusive control over the tents of the Observer. None of the other pOiOr the enterprise shares this responsibility ble for their own work, but not for al written, and in publishing,,, that he agrees with theie, Published by Texas ObserverPub1 val between issues twice a year, in January` postage paid at Austin, Texas. Publication’ Single copy \(current or back issue years, $36. Foreign, except A101 group rates on request. Microfilmed by Micmfilming Cmporation of America, 21 Harristown Rock, N.J. 07452. Postmaster: Send form 3579 to The Texas Obse What now? Austin This was, not quite the way everyone had it figured: Bill Clements is busy arranging inaugural parties while our man, John Hill, is shopping around Austin for suitable space to house his new law office. The Capitol City, as you would expect, is a-buzz with speculation about the new governor’s plans; pundits here are trying to assess what it will mean to have an incumbent in the mansion who is Republican in name, as well as in fact. To me, however, the main question is not what the Republicans will do during the next four years, but what Democrats will do. For the past few elections, there have been clear signs of fundamental shifts in the body politicRepublicans gaining steadily on Democrats in statewide and local races, a political awakening among Mexican-Americans, a precipitous fall in voter turnout, etc. This year’s election is the first to be decided by such shifts, with John Hill, for example, being first a beneficiary and then a victim of the changing Texas electorate. What it amounts to is that the Democratic Party, which has been on a rightward path for more than 40 years, can no longer wander aimlessly down it, assured of November victories. Indeed, the party has finally come to a fork in the road, and in deciding which way to go, all Democrats must now consider precisely to whom they are speaking, and what it is they have to say to them. The Democrats come a cropper First of all, give Clements credit: he ran an aggressive, professional political campaign, and while he did his share of lying, he kept it within the accepted boundaries of Texas politics. And although he spent an unprecedented $6-plus for each of the 1.18 crats deceive themselves if they think that there is nothing more to it than his unlimited checking account, significant as that is. Bear in mind that Hill’s own expenditure approached $4 million, and there was more where that came from had he thought it necessary to make additional withdrawals. It is also a misconception to think that the Republican’s win was strictly the result of slick advertising. In fact, the most effective expenditures he made were on such tools as day-today, polling, direct mail and phone banks, all of which were used to identify his voters and turn them out. Most important, Clements proved to be a blunt, compelling spokesman of the Texas excited those folks enough to draw them out in force on election day. As the candidate told Carolyn Barta of the Dallas Morning News, “I said what I believed. When I got through talking, [voters] didn’t have to punch their neighbors and ask, ‘What did he say?'” Second, Hill was moving the Democratic Party in the right direction; he just didn’t move it far enough, fast enough, and it is neither fair nor productive to point accusing fingers at him now. What’s important is to learn from his campaign and improve on the good start he made. Hill had pulled together the elements of a new, winning Democratic coalition, but after knocking off the plodding Briscoe with an aggressive, hard-hitting campaign, he fell victim to his own success. DECEMBER 1, 1978