With less than 30 days from Election Day, South Texas voters in congressional district 15 faced the news that the national Democratic party would slash funding for Michelle Vallejo, a first-time progressive candidate backed by grassroots groups. This sparked widespread disapproval among Democratic voters and local advocates, citing disinvestment as the primary reason border voters feel unseen by the party leaders in Washington.
The consensus among South Texas Democrats? Disappointed but not surprised. It won’t be the first election that D.C. leaders leave us to our own devices. Not even the reality that district 15 is among the top-watched races to keep control of the House seems to have changed this modus operandi.
Though this hurts to watch, the truth is that the spirit and success of Vallejo’s campaign have thrived without establishment support. Democratic voters are determined to keep that going. A pueblo-powered campaign isn’t only about one political party— it’s about the working families, teachers, students, and neighbors from McAllen to Alice and Seguin.
Vallejo has been outspent every step of the way. And yet, from her community nomination by LUPE Votes to her impressive advancement to the run-off and ultimate victory to become the Democratic nominee, Vallejo’s campaign has proven to defy expectations, evidence that grassroots campaigns can take on dark-money groups and win.
That’s why as many voters condemned the Democrat disinvestment on social media, those same voters immediately doubled down on their support for Vallejo. That’s because South Texans know that we deserve more than the crumbs we’re getting. And the history of our border community teaches us that when we organize and demand more for our families, we can win.
We pull through by pulling together. When one national party ignores you and the other is simply too extreme and divisive, border residents know that it’s up to us to tune out that noise, unite, and demand a government that works for the majority of us instead of a few greedy corporations. From our freedom to decide if and when we grow our families, to our freedom to vote, to our freedom for our families to thrive, Trump
Republicans want to control us, use violence to overthrow elections and block the policies that best serve our needs. There is too much at stake to allow D.C.-antics to distract us from what’s at stake in this election, and border voters know better than to lose focus.
When South Texans come together, we can rewrite the rules to ensure that this is a place where all of us can live and thrive, no matter our gender or whether we’re young or old, white, Black or brown. We are not defined by neglect, disinvestment, and walls that divide us, but by the richness of the culture, community, and the si se puede attitude that makes our region special.
This sentiment is what has kept Vallejo’s campaign alive, and it is what will secure her victory in November.
Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by Dani Marrero Hi of Mission, Texas. Marrero Hi is director of communications at La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) and a former staffer for Michelle Vallejo’s congressional campaign. The views in this piece reflect the personal opinion of the author and not of any employers or candidates mentioned. Marrero Hi can be reached by email via: [email protected].
Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above guest column shows Michelle Vallejo (center) talking to voters.
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