Everything Is Bigger in Texas—Like, for Instance, Wendy Davis’s Loss

by Ian Tuttle

Wendy, we barely knew ye! Actually, that’s not true. We knew Wendy Davis well — too well. It is difficult to think of a more overexposed candidate in the 2014 election cycle.

We knew (from the get-go) that she was a publicity-stunt actress with show-stopping athletic shoes made famous when she spoke for eleven hours in favor of a woman’s “right” to kill her unborn child. We knew that she was the type of woman who leaves her husband and children in Texas to attend Harvard Law School, then divorces said husband the day after he pays her final law-school bill. And we found that she had — like many another brand-name politician — a politically convenient memory of myriad personal details. Of course, her memory was infallible when it came to the memoir she released less than two months before the election.

In case that was not enough, we found out, too, that she was not suited to running for homecoming queen, let alone governor of a state with an economy the size of two Switzerlands, about the functioning of which she seemed to be perilously confused. And if she was not on the campaign trail failing Civics 101, she was excelling in Advanced Mudslinging, accusing her wheelchair-bound opponent of exploiting his disability for votes, or of threatening to rescind the right to interracial marriage — despite the fact that he is married to a Hispanic woman.

As I wrote in my pre-mortem postmortem of the Wendy Davis campaign two weeks ago, Davis’s candidacy will never rise to the levels of infamy achieved by Todd Akin and Christine O’Donnell, because she had the benefit of a “D” next to her name. But Davis was a worse candidate than either, victimized not by a single foolish comment, but by managing to step on more rakes than Sideshow Bob. Adding to that was her determination to double down on those mistakes, so that she often looked not just bumbling, but mean.

It is quite possible, though, that Davis never saw them as mistakes; much like the president, she may be constitutionally incapable of humility. That would be little surprise in someone who was transformed into a national star on the basis of her abortion extremism.

For Davis was, indeed, a star made, not born — specially selected by the national Democratic party Powers-That-Be as the messiah who would bring peace and social justice to the Texas wilds. That is, until it became clear that she did not stand a chance against Republican Greg Abbott, at which point the national machine withdrew its support and left Davis a sacrificial lamb. MSNBC prostrated itself before Davis in the days and weeks following her filibuster. After briefly noting her loss Tuesday night, the network never mentioned her again. Wendy? Wendy who?

To be fair, it was hard to find a silver lining in her performance. Davis not only lost by a full 20 points (59.3 to 38.9 percent, according to Politico) and just under 1 million votes. She lost easy Democratic areas, such as San Antonio’s Bexar County and Houston’s Harris County. She lost women, according to exit polls. She lost two-thirds of voters over the age of 50. She lost self-styled “moderates.” She lost anyone with a high-school degree or more.

Well, as they say, everything is bigger in Texas.

But what is ultimately refreshing about Tuesday’s results in the Lone Star State is not simply that a bad candidate lost; rather, what lost were the extravagant efforts by national Democrats and a left-wing media complex to champion as the bold new face of their party a candidate who insisted that Texas was one Republican governor away from segregated water fountains and Hobby Lobby goon-squads policing womens uteruses. 

If Democrats want to peddle that shtick successfully, they should stick to San Francisco.

One last tidbit: Davis’s former Texas senate seat, which she gave up to run for governor? It now belongs to Republican Konni Burton. She is a tea-partier, and pro-life.

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