The Texas Democratic Party has been bringing out the heavyweights in the last two days of its totally online state convention.
In a prelude to presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s appearance on Saturday, U.S. Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke to party faithful Friday.
Because the convention is occurring online due to the pandemic, their speeches were pre-recorded, and they did not take part in the virtual media room the party has offered to reporters seeking questions of those participating in the convention.
Pelosi acknowledged the distance in her remarks, saying she looks forward to the time she is able to visit Texas again. She has three grandsons who live in the Lone Star State. She said the goal for November is to send six more Democrats to the U.S. House in November.
With a nod to the police killing of Houston native George Floyd, Pelosi said House Democrats are advancing legislation to address the use of excessive force and loss of trust between police and the communities they serve.
Pelosi said the next few months are critical.
“Republicans may have their endless dark money, but we have you — our VIPs, our volunteers in politics,” said Pelosi. “Know your power — your engagement and organizing today are more important than ever before, making a difference during the coronavirus crisis. Every voter you register, every call you make, every postcard you mail, every text you send, everything makes a difference. Make your voice heard and inspire others to get involved.”
Citing the 107,000 deaths from coronavirus, the 42 million people who are unemployed, the killings of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmed Aubrey, Harris said “justice is on the ballot in 2020.”
“It is Texas Democrats who are going to help win this election,” she said. “You know how to do the work of turning red into blue, so let’s all get together and we are going to win this.”
Warren also mentioned the pandemic, unemployment and racial tensions.
“The idea that communities of color alone are responsible for fighting against racism every single day is both misguided and can have dangerous consequences,” said Warren. “We need to ask ourselves what we are doing proactively every day to dismantle racism in our communities, in our workplaces and in our circles of influence. It is not enough to stand as an ally. We must go further and be anti-racist.”
Castro said the last three months have been a revelation because the pandemic and the death of Floyd have shown that so many things that need to change.
“What changed with George Floyd was that the nation and the country witnessed a murder — that we moved past interpretation — there was no more interpretation to be had,” said Castro. “We are in an age of knowing, but the question is, will we be in an age of action. Will Congress, will state legislatures, will city councils and county commissions finally take action on this issue?”
Friday was the fifth day of the virtual convention. The state party said the event has shattered records for fundraising and engagement.
Biden is scheduled to be the last speaker mid-afternoon on Saturday.
The Texas GOP has its in-person state convention scheduled for next month in Houston at the George R. Brown Convention Center. The GRB’s online calendar shows no other events scheduled between now and the Republican gathering July 15-18.