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EDITORIAL Let the People’s Voice Be Heard ‘INe Texans who revel in the sport of politics have much to be thankful for this year. For the first time in two decades, Texas matters in presidential primary politics. Big time. Everyone, especially Texans, had become used to Texas’ being ignored when it came to presidential politics. Briefly, during the last session of the Texas Legislature, the powers that be under the pink cast-iron dome flirted with becoming relevant in the presidential selection process. The House voted overwhelmingly \(in a rare, truly bipartisan March 4th to February 5th, joining 24 other states vying for status and influence just in case the races were not yet over by Super Tuesday. 10 of his colleagues who chose to impose the Senate’s rule requiring two-thirds of the 31-member body to bring up any billblocked a similar measure approved in committee. At the time, Duncan said he opposed the change mainly because it would “be a severe hardship” on county election officials. He also told the Lubbock AvalancheJournal last spring: “I think you are going to see five or six people in both primaries, and hopefully by next March it should be down to one or two. Texas will have a real opportunity to make a real choice at that point in time and have some influence, as opposed to this cluster of candidates that is out there on both sides of both parties:’ What is that about blind pigs and acorns? Who knew that, defying the conventional wisdom of the moment, Sen. Duncan gave Texas the first opportunity in a generation to be a player in selecting at least the Democratic nominee, through a complicated and arcane process that involves a combination of a primary, caucuses, and free-agent powerbrokers called superdelegates? In this issue, we report on the process and provide a forum for Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to make their personal, first-person pitches to Texas Democratic primary voters. We also have an analysis by our sometimes-critic, Republican activist Royal Masset, of the likely scenario for the Republican primary and the impact a McCain era may have on the Texas GOP. The presidential primary/caucus process was obviously conceived by the party that Will Rogers referred to when he said, “I belong to no organized party. I am a D emo crat:’ Regardless of who wins the Democratic presidential primary here, it is almost certain to be close, distributing a good share of delegates to each candidate and probably assuring that neither hasnor will obtainthe 2,025 delegates required for the nomination in Denver this summer. It is those powerbrokers, the superdelegates, who warrant our special attention. They are free agents, able to commit to whomever they want, regardless of the vote in their district or state. They can switch their allegiance on a whim or in response to fear or favor. Although there are those who will argue that the 796 superdelegatesDemocratic members of the U.S. House and Senate, governors, members of the Democratic National Committee, and other ex-officio party leadersexist to moderate the “ideological activists:’ the fact of the matter is that they constitute the most undemocratic aspect of the nomination process. Yet those superdelegates could decide for all of us who the next president of the United States will be. Superdelegate Donna Brazile, who ran Al Gore’s campaign in 2000, has said, “If 795 of my colleagues decide this election, I will quit the Democratic Party:’ We agree. Let the people speak… and let their votes count in 2008, as unfortunately they did not in 2000. THE TEXAS OBSERVER I VOLUME 100, NO. 4 I A Journal of Free Voices Since 1954 Founding Editor Ronnie Dugger CEO/Executive Publisher Carlton Carl Executive Editor Jake Bernstein Managing Editor Brad Tyer Associate Editor Dave Mann Publisher Charlotte McCann Associate Publisher Julia Austin Circulation Manager Lara George Tucker Art Director Leah Ball Webmaster Daniel Carter Investigative Reporter Melissa del Bosque Poetry Editor Naomi Shihab Nye Copy Editor Rusty Todd Staff Writer Forrest Wilder Blogger Cody Garrett Admin. Asst. Robby Brown Editorial Intern Leah Finnegan, Brad Briggs, Tobias Salinger Contributing Writers Nate Blakeslee, Gabriela Bocagrande, Robert Bryce, Michael Erard, James K. Galbraith, Steven G. Keliman, James McWilliams, Char Miller, Debbie Nathan, Karen Olsson, John Ross, Andrew Wheat Staff Photographers Alan Pogue, Jana Birchum, Steve Satterwhite Contributing Artists Sam Hurt, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Gary Oliver, Doug Potter Editorial Advisory Board David Anderson, Chandler Davidson, Dave Denison, Sissy Farenthold, Lawrence Goodwyn, Jim Hightower, Kaye Northcott, Susan Reid Texas Democracy Foundation Board Lou Dubose, Mary Margaret Farabee, Melissa Jones, Jim Marston, Mary Nell Mathis, Bernard Rapoport, Geoffrey Rips, Geronimo Rodriquez, Sharron Rush, Kelly White, In Memoriam Molly lvins, 1944-2007 Bob Eckhardt, 1913-2001 Cliff Olofson, 1931-1995 The Texas Observer \(ISSN 0040-4519/ righted 2008, is published biweekly except during January and August when there is a 4 week break by the Texas Democracy Foundation, West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. E-mail [email protected] World Wide Web DownHome page . Periodicals Postage paid at Austin, TX and at additional mailing offices. Subscriptions One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students $18 per year: add $13 per year for foreign subs. Back issues $3 pre paid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Indexes The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index to Periodicals: Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 1981, The Texas Observer Index. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. Books & the Culture is funded in part by the City of Austin \(ItZ.1,1 : through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts. FEBRUARY 22, 2008 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3