“It’s Because of Texas”

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At my polling place in San Francisco this morning, all the talk was of a contest that didn’t appear on the ballot: The Giants’ World Series victory last night over the Texas Rangers. A Birkenstock-clad woman from the Haight explained her glee. “It’s because of Texas,” she said. “It’s the land of oil drilling, conservative textbook defining, Bush electing—you know?”

I know. In a depressing election year for liberals, the Giants’ unlikely victory has emerged as the rare silver lining: A way to sock it to all those conservative Republicans who are going to otherwise kick our asses at the polls today. As my colleague Adam Weinstein notes, the long-haired, beard-wearing, ganja-puffing Los Gigantes embody Left Coast rebellion. Meanwhile, former Rangers co-owner George W. Bush was on hand along with his father to root for the Red State home team at Game 4. That San Franciscans got to rob Bush of a win makes up (a little bit) for the one that he stole in 2000.

People say that sports is a way to distract the masses from the social fights that really matter. Or maybe it’s a way to blow of steam so that we don’t shoot each other. Of course, El Salvador and Honduras once fought a war over soccer.

All I know is that sports rarely fits neatly into politics. Take the example of Texas, where Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White actually has a small chance of toppling incumbent arch-conservative Rick Perry. Mother Jones‘ Suzy Khimm points out that shifting demographics will turn Texas blue in the not-distant future. Or take the example of me: I was born and raised in Dallas and my father hasn’t talked to me in awhile, not because we disagree on politics (he’s a staunch Democrat) but because we kind of disagree on baseball.

I ultimately decided to root for the Giants because I left Dallas after high school and have lived in the Bay Area for almost ten years. Still, I would have been happy if either team had won. I wish I could say the same thing about politics.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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