The results illustrate a continuation of a national trend of anger and frustration toward government during the worst economic stretch since the Great Depression, political observers said.
“A lot of people are angry at virtually all institutions and the government is high on their list,” said Richard Murray, a political science professor at the University of Houston. “And these are the people in a low-turnout election that are most likely to show up because they are angry. They’re agitated.”
The results show clear opposition to the status quo, particularly following a general election in which Mayor Annise Parker and several council members narrowly avoided runoff elections, said Bob Stein, a political science professor at Rice University.
“It’s a strong repudiation of this administration – not just the mayor, but the council,” Stein said.
Where to start with this?
First and foremost, the “national trend” has not been one of anger and frustration toward government (read: incumbents), but rather anger and frustration toward liberal Democratic government. We thought most media had given up on the unsupportable “anti-incumbent” meme, but apparently Zain Shauk hasn’t been paying attention.
Of course, it doesn’t help that the “experts” he talked to are two professors who are also Democratic partisans/activists (though Shauk does continue the Chron tradition of not identifying these two properly). Unsurprisingly, Professor Murray wants this to be generally about dissatisfaction with institutions and government and NOT liberal Democratic government (of the sort he favors). Stein at least gets closer to an insight, which is that in the runoff, a cadre of motivated voters expressed dissatisfaction with the Parker Administration and some members of Council (either seen as enablers or buffoons). It’s also worth nothing that candidates endorsed by liberal groups (and the Chron) fared poorly in the runoff, whereas the candidates favored by conservative groups fared well (see Campos for more — one can always tell when a liberal is unhappy with voters by the number of times vulgarities are used in a post).
Perhaps Zain Shauk and other Chron metro reporters will find some new sources for their reporting on Houston politics one of these days. Cory Crow has more on this ongoing problem.