Place Called Hope

Prop 2 could fail, if the right people stay home

Say I don't:Hope, they say, springs eternal. Unless you happen to be a Texas voter of the progressive or liberal bent, in which case all hope was beaten out of you about the time Ann Richards cleaned out her desk in the governor's mansion.

So it was with low spirits last week that Buzz called Glen Maxey, campaign manager of No Nonsense in November. The group is leading the fight against Proposition 2, which would amend the Texas constitution to ban same-sex marriages. Since gay marriages are already forbidden in the state, what the measure would really do is enshrine bigotry in the constitution. But this is Texas, which had an anti-sodomy law on the books until the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down, so Buzz had a simple sad question for Maxey: Is there any chance Proposition 2 won't pass?

Maybe, Maxey told us, especially if the proposition's supporters get, ahem, cocky. "If this was any other election cycle...we wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell," he says. But off-year elections on constitutional amendments tend to draw few voters, with a sizable number of them coming from Houston, which has city elections at the same time. Since Houston has no hot municipal elections this year, the turnout could be even lower than usual, so the vote could turn on which group of voters is more motivated. "The dynamic of the turnout patterns are very much in our favor," Maxey says.

Similar amendments in other states have passed easily, so Proposition 2 supporters here may figure passage is a lock and may not bother to vote. "Anybody who's ever tried to get people to go vote on something they think is already decided [knows] it's an uphill battle," Maxey says. "If you're sitting in Comanche, Texas, and the only reason to vote is this, and you've read these things pass 70-30, why go?"

Anger, fear and peer pressure are what drive voters to the polls in elections like this, he says, and Prop 2 opponents are those who should be afraid, angry and motivated.

It's a sad comment on democracy that the best way to prevent the populace from passing a bad law is to tell voters to stay home, but hey, whatever works. In fact, to do our part for good government, Buzz has an offer to make to Proposition 2 supporters: We promise not to vote and to tell our like-minded friends not to vote if you'll do the same. Seriously, we mean it. Buzz never lies, except just twice. In this paragraph.

 
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