5 Progressive Takeaways from the 2024 Texas Democratic Convention

5 Progressive Takeaways
Making Waves for a Big Tent Party Ready to Lead

Thousands of Texans from all across the state converged in El Paso from June 6 to June 8 for the 2024 Texas Democratic Convention, touted as the largest state convention in the whole country! Elected officials and candidates like U.S. Senate Nominee and Congressman Colin Allred, former U.S. Senate Nominee Beto O’Rourke, U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, and State Sen. Cesar Blanco showed up to rally activists with the mission to elect leaders who will champion and restore our sacred freedoms, liberties, and values at every level of government. 

While the Texas Republican Party struggled to combat the growing divide between its moderate and extremist factions at their own convention, battling totalitarian policy points like the death penalty for Texans receiving abortions, the Texas Democratic Party showed unity behind a number of common sense policies. They unanimously passed the Party Rules and Platform, while electing 12 Democratic National Committee Members, 264 National Delegates and Alternates that will proudly represent Texas in nominating President Joe Biden.

Our Top 5 Convention Takeaways

1. Joining the ROEvolution 

Top of mind for every Texan at the convention was restoring our abortion rights. Progress Texas hosted a LIVE recording of our Happy Hour Podcast: Abortion and Our Freedoms in 2024. Executive Director Kathleen Thompson moderated the third installment of our “Abortion on the Ballot” series featuring panelists Reproductive Rights Advocate Amanda Zurawski, Michelle Vallejo, Democratic Nominee for Congress, TX-15, and Wendy Davis, Senior Advisor, Planned Parenthood Texas Votes. Davis and Vallejo shared stories about reaching out to people in our communities, including moderate and even Republican voters, to build bridges on this crucial human rights issue. Zurawski emphasized that more women will suffer because of extremist-led infringements on their right to reproductive healthcare if we don’t act this November. Overall, there was a strong consensus that democracy and our basic freedoms are on the line.

2. Protecting Our Public Schools

Our healthcare system is certainly under attack, in good company with our public education institutions facing an onslaught of massive defunding efforts and censorship regarding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) hiring practices and fostering environments. Quality public education is the driving force behind our economy, and these attacks will hurt everyone in our state. However, this extremist-led push for school vouchers and against DEI will especially hurt our public schools and teachers. 

At the convention, Progressives and Democrats opposed school voucher scams, because public dollars should stay in public schools, and promoted teacher raises and retired teachers’ COLA. Everyone in Texas deserves access to affordable, quality higher education, and part of that mission must include DEI initiatives and practices, which help facilitate meaningful learning environments to equip students with the academic, social, and emotional skills they need to navigate the world beyond higher education.

3. Voting Against Ted Cruz

Meanwhile, back at the Progress Texas booth, we sold our Humans Against Ted Cruz merch, which proved to be extra popular at this convention, garnering laughs and many faces of disgust at another Cruz term. One of the strongest points of agreement between every attendee was that we have to get him out of office.

4. Progressive Coalition Building

Colin Allred, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate running against Cruz, was a featured candidate of the convention. He shared that “We are building a big, diverse coalition that includes everyone. We’re going to beat Ted Cruz, and elect strong leaders up and down the ballot that will protect our freedoms.”

Prior to arriving at the convention, we shared a list of Certified Progressives with our supporters to amplify the efforts of good people doing important work in Texas with that mission of unification. This list was featured at our booth throughout the entire convention, putting much needed attention on progressive candidates making change this year in the biggest battleground state!

5. Showing Solidarity in Extreme Conditions

After our live recording, convention attendees made their way to our Progressive Happy Hour, co-hosted by Progress Texas and the Texas Progressive Caucus. All in all, 932 people signed up to visit the Old Sheepdog Brewery to build community with advocates from all across the state! Even in 104° weather, Progressives banded together to finish out the first day of the convention and remind each other that we can take the heat.

The Party Rules and Platform passed unanimously, as well as our own climate justice resolution regarding LNG and promoting a global clean-energy transition. Top priorities for the Party were guaranteeing the right to abortion, IVF, and birth control, protecting our school system and teachers, placing Texas as a leader in the pursuit of environmental justice, expanding the rights of LGBTQ+ Texans and their families, prioritizing solutions to the housing crisis, and many more.

Lives and basic human rights are at stake this November, and it will require every Progressive, Democrat, and Independent to unite against far-right attacks on our freedoms.

Are you registered to vote in November? Our helpful GoVoteTexas.org website assists you in navigating election deadlines, polling locations, and the current status of the state’s changing voter ID laws (in English and Spanish).