Here is your Morning Brief for October 28, 2014.

Rick Perry
Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

Rick Perry

Rick Perry is running for President, that we know. We just don't know when it will be official. Last night in a major speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Perry continued laying the groundwork for his 2016 aspirations. According to POLITICO, said the American people are ready for a new direction.

The likely 2016 Republican contender said in an address at the Reagan Library in California that after eight years of the Obama administration, America will be ready for a major change — then held up Texas as a model for that new path.

“Thinking on the next two years, I doubt very much that after this season of disappointment, mediocrity, decline, a slow correction in course is what voters are going to be looking for,” Perry said according to prepared remarks. “I believe that come 2016, if the American people are given the choice, they will be ready for a clean break from the Obama agenda or anything like it.”

He said the Democratic Obama presidency has been marked by “slow growth, static wages, scarce jobs, an expansion of entitlements and a narrowing of possibilities for the working people of this country.”

In Texas, by contrast, the job market is booming, taxes are low and “private enterprise” is thriving, Perry said.

“[M]iracles cannot be explained,” he said of the so-called “Texas Miracle.” “Economic recovery can be. It can happen anywhere in America. Growth and job creation far beyond what Americans have gotten used to these past six years. It can happen anywhere in this country, from Massachusetts to California, it is just waiting to happen. It is just a matter of whether we’re going to continue on the path of the last six years or choose a different path for our future.”

The address echoed a theme from Perry’s failed 2012 bid: That Texas’ impressive economic trajectory could be a model for the nation. Since then, Perry, led by a small team of advisers, has been working to rehabilitate his image and to study up on foreign policy and other issues ahead of a possible 2016 bid.

Perry also spoke at length about America’s responsibility to lead in the world, a rebuke to both Republicans and Democrats who advocate a more inward-looking foreign policy.

“The nearest threat we face is not foreign in nature: It is from within,” he said. “It is our own complacency. It is the view that events thousands of miles away are not our business. Or the view of cultural relativism that, while acknowledging the systematic savagery of the enemy, is also quick to point to the shortcomings of Western democracies.”

But the “greatest problem of all,” he said, is that the country faces a “crisis of competence in America.”

You can read the rest of the article by clicking on the link above.

Democrats Seek a Silver Lining

The Texas Tribune has a story out about measuring the progress Democrats have made in the state despite what polls predict to be another losing year.

Former Houston Mayor Bill White won 42.3 percent of the vote in the 2010 governor’s race. That percentage has become the marker for Democrats who hope get an outright win, or at least a better finish, on Nov. 4.

Another number to consider is 631,086, the votes that separated White from the 2010 winner, Republican Rick Perry.

Just under 5 million votes were cast in the 2010 midterm election. The state has grown since, and Democrats are spending millions to get more people to the polls. But they have to start with the obvious: Democrats will rate their performance by whether state Sen.Wendy Davis gets more votes than White did four years ago.

That has to happen county by county, which will give political analysts a way to measure the effectiveness of operations like Battleground Texas, the Texas Organizing Project and Planned Parenthood Texas Votes — groups that have made turning out the vote the hope of liberals who have been shut out in statewide elections for two decades.

Even if Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican nominee, wins the governor’s race, the size of the win will be at the crux of a central question for Texas Democrats: Are their fortunes getting any better?

As the Tribune points out and as I said on the show yesterday, Battleground Texas knows that turning Texas blue won't happen overnight. They are in it for the long-haul.

That second group is the target for Democrats this year, and part of their rationale when they complain about political polls that show Republicans winning all of the statewide races. Those surveys concentrate on likely voters. If new people are voting and the pollsters do not have them in sight, the reasoning goes, the outcome on Election Day will be something other than what the pollsters and pundits are forecasting.

Whether that is the case will be clear in less than two weeks.

A larger question lurks behind that: Are the Democrats making any headway with efforts to organize and turn out new voters? Republicans in some top races have all but disappeared during the general election season — state Sen. Ken Paxton, the Republican candidate for attorney general, is a great example — without any visible negative effect on their campaigns.

After a bruising, three-candidate primary that was packed with debates and candidate forums and focused, at the end, on questions about his ethics, Paxton put his campaign on cruise control. For him, it was over after the primary, just like the old days in Texas, when Democrats won their primaries and slept through November.

This might not be the ideal year to measure the efforts of the left. President Obama is remarkably unpopular in Texas, and not one candidate for a top state office, from governor to railroad commissioner, is an incumbent. Turning the bums out is not a working theme.

The Battleground Texas folks said when they got started almost two years ago that it would take at least six years to turn Texas blue. It is a big state, they said. It takes time to identify people who might vote and then to organize them to do so. And it takes awhile to pull together a strong slate of candidates who can take advantage of those voters if and when they appear.

Republicans have to remember that Battleground Texas is not only influencing statewide campaigns. Battleground Texas is seeking to change school boards and city council's around the state. That is how you start seeing change, on the local level.

You can read the full story by clicking on the link above.

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