Growing up with a father in Texas politics made for a unique childhood — from asking neighbors as a 7-year-old to “vote for my Dad” to hanging out at the Capitol during my college afternoons. I got an up-close view of the American democratic experience.
All in all, O’Rourke has run an impressive campaign. Though his hard work ultimately may be for nothing, Texas Republicans can learn a lot from his campaign. Grassroots politics combined with skillful advertising can yield powerful results, help voters make decisions and win support for years to come.
In a persistent cycle of chaos and uncertainty, the most valuable asset a campaign, candidate or government has is a constituent audience inclined to believe the truth.
I wish more moms experienced this type of tired inspiration that has become such a part of my life on the campaign trail. There aren’t nearly enough women like me running for office. There aren’t nearly enough women like me writing legislation for women like me in office.
Texas reduces citizen voter participation by turning voting into a chore with multiple elections, including costly, low turnout runoffs. Thankfully, there are voting systems like instant runoff voting that can eliminate the cost and burden of runoff elections.
As many voters in our state slide towards silence and civic apathy, we must mute the screech of partisan conflict emanating from the national stage and reengage with the politics of city halls and backyards, the politics that has a tangible impact on citizens and their day-to-day lives.
As Lupe Valdez and Andrew White take to the debate stage, heated past Democratic gubernatorial primaries from 1972 and 1990 highlight how the nastiest battles are often fought within a political family. Vicious runoffs resulted in political divides that didn’t heal for decades.
This surge of youth empowerment and engagement comes at a time when our country needs it – and them – the most.
Americans want and need a new politics, and media organizations play an important role in its founding. The media should drop its superficial pretense to objectivity and take up its role as a mediating institution in the great American tradition of radical republicanism.
Even under an unlikely worst-case scenario for the Texas GOP, in January of 2019 the partisan distribution of forces in the Texas House would still be 82 Republicans to 68 Democrats. Today, a more realistic scenario would project a Republican delegation of between 87 and 93 representatives in 2019 and a Democratic delegation of between 57 and 63.
My fear is not simply that if Democrats nominate LupeValdez, she will lose to Greg Abbott in a landslide. It’s that Abbott and the GOP will use her lack of preparation to paint Texas Democrats as not ready to govern, then hammer at down-ballot Democrats who might have a chance to win seats that are open or held by vulnerable Republicans.
How this openly gay, pro-life, medical marijuana advocate found his home in the GOP.
The election of Donald Trump to the presidency is an indication that we have a long way to go before we see a female president, but our hope is that Nov. 8, 2016, and the years that follow are simply the soil in which the seeds of change are being planted.
America is a nation divided. We are divided by income and race, military vs. non-military, tech vs. non-tech, boss vs. worker, old vs. young, urban vs. rural, Republican vs. Democrat, you name it. If it can be categorized as "us vs. them,” you can almost guarantee we’re sorting ourselves that way.
Tax financing of political campaigns comes at great cost to Americans’ political rights and autonomy. Yet it does not seem to produce much of a payoff — except for politicians. Austin City Council members would do well to actually look at the real-world experience of campaign vouchers. They may find it hard to vouch for their success.
With the potential for so much change in the November elections, we still have a long way to go until the speaker’s race really takes shape. That’s still eight months — and hundreds of presidential tweets — away. When the election dust settles, we look forward to working with our Republican colleagues to make a decision about a new speaker, one who will allow members of the House to serve their districts well and address the issues important to our constituents.
There’s a long road ahead, but a path to victory has been revealed. Texans now believe their votes can make a difference. More than anything else, the notion that individuals can affect change has driven a Democratic surge of voters.
Seal a tarot card inside a crystal ball, like a ship in a bottle. You now have a device just as capable of predicting general election outcomes based on primary election inputs as all the soothsayers sealed inside the post-Texas primary media bubble.
Businesses need to play an active role in voting if we expect to grow our private-sector success. The 2019 session will face serious challenges. Texans need to take a lesson from the lost opportunity of last year’s legislative session and focus on the challenges facing our state and solutions to benefits the lives of our residents.
I am a progressive Texan residing in a very red county in a very red state. Over the past ten years of living in Sherman, I have learned to hold my tongue in order to keep the peace. Damaging my relationships with friends, colleagues and neighbors, as well as concerns about my professional reputation in a small community once kept me from speaking my mind about the social and political issues that matter most to me.
As a long-time supporter of women’s rights, I strongly support Andrew White to be our next governor. He will work to create opportunities for all Texans by focusing on common-sense ideas. This includes repairing the damage Republicans have done to women’s healthcare access.
I have been a lifelong Democrat because I believe in our party’s commitment to equity and justice. I’ve never cast my ballot for an anti-choice candidate, and I’ve certainly never cast my ballot for a candidate as disingenuous as Andrew White.
Amidst the discussion of how much the Texas midterm elections will be nationalized — in effect, a referendum on Donald Trump — the new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll provides an opportunity to look closely at Trump’s place in the attitudinal landscape of Texans.
You would think that in Texas, a state that takes pride in individualists, all candidates for political office would be treated equally. You’d be wrong. By law, Texas divides political candidates into three groups: 1) those selected by political parties in primary elections, 2) those selected by political parties at conventions, and 3) independent candidates.
Early voting is underway and by all accounts, there will be a surge in voter turnout. Those voters have a record number of candidates in local and statewide races to choose from. In a healthy democratic republic, this would be considered a good thing.
In the February 2018 poll released today, we rely on past vote history to determine whether or not we should consider someone to be a likely voter, and in particular, past primary voting history. For a respondent’s opinion to be considered in our primary trial ballot estimates, he or she had to have participated in a Texas party primary in 2012, 2014, or 2016.
Public pollsters sample an electorate based on the best available information and best judgments about how to approach that estimate of likely voters, take respondents at their word, report the results, and then hope that those results offer an accurate reflection of what’s going to happen. At the heart of this exercise is a great deal of uncertainty — a condition of all polling, but one that especially defines primary election polling.
While Texans can argue politics every day, there should be no argument about the important role voting plays in protecting democracy and the United States and Texas Constitutions. Efforts to encourage voting should be applauded by all, not criticized.
When it comes to political parity, Texas ranks 41st in the nation, with only 20 percent of our state Legislature made up of women. As the United States is undergoing a political and social shift like we have never seen before, we need to ensure that our young women are prepared to heed the call and step into political leadership.
Endorsements from groups like these serve as signals to voters about the relative alliances and issues a candidate may embrace and potentially come with access to campaign funds. But what are these endorsements worth? Statistical estimation can help us identify how valuable these endorsements are in terms of actual votes.
I’m running for governor of Texas to bring back sanity and hope. Both have gone astray under Trump-style politicians, who divide us and preach an agenda of extremism.
There’s never a shortage of naysayers — cynics in the media, jaded pundits, Republican trolls. But now’s the time for activists, not pundits. Texas Democrats will show we have the grit to fight and win, no matter the circumstances.
The December 11 candidate filing deadline marked the official beginning of a set of Republican Party primary battles that are part of a GOP civil war that has been raging across the Lone Star State for over a decade.
We should not be distracted by political grandstanding and the divisive political agendas of a handful of zany donors who are out of touch with regular conservative Texans. Let’s get the Texas Senate back to business.
As the 5th Circuit has said, a voter registration card is a “more secure document,” “not as easily obtained by another person,” “nondiscriminatory” and “free of charge.” Texas leaders should return to the drawing board to develop nondiscriminatory and evenhanded procedures.
It is only natural for Republicans to try and ensure that the next speaker has the support of the majority of members from his or her own party. I also think the next speaker should demonstrate that he or she wants the support of the majority of the fellow members of his or her own party.
The current attempt by extreme right wing members of the Texas House to have only the Republican Caucus select the next speaker of the Texas House is a violation of the Texas Constitution, House rules and possibly the Voting Rights Act and federal Constitution.
With candidates filing for the 2018 elections, and the Legislature apparently — finally — done for the year, I have updated my earlier ranking of members of the 2017 Texas House of Representatives and Senate. This includes votes from the regular session and from the summer special session, ranking lawmakers from most liberal to most conservative based on an analysis of 1,575 House and 1,831 Senate roll-call votes.
Fantasies of widespread voter abandonment of Republicans for Democrats in the Texas suburbs remain far-fetched, but data from the last three University of Texas/Texas Tribune polls does show that suburban attitudes towards President Trump in Texas could become cause for Texas GOP concern if the party continues on its current trajectory.
Candidates will soon be filing their paperwork to run for elected office. They’ll also begin compiling endorsements to tout along the campaign trail — nods and kudos from local chambers of commerce, environmental groups and newspapers. For the first time, some will also be getting endorsements — and campaign checks — from dogs, cats, horses, pigs and other Texas animals.
The latest victim of ill-considered speech is Bob McNair, owner of the Houston Texans, a National Football League franchise always eager for the right kind of attention. Unfortunately, a throwaway line Mr. McNair used during a recent closed-door NFL owners meeting produced exactly the sort of recognition the team doesn’t want.
Business groups have realized that creating more competitive and fairly drawn political districts helps create a more collaborative civic climate that is good for business. It is time for Texas to do the same.
While rural areas in Texas are more conservative than metropolitan ones, the state’s urban conurbations — San Antonio, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Houston — are ideologically diverse, and do not particularly lean to the left or right. They are absolutely not isolated liberal islands surrounded by conservative seas. Only Austin is the outlier with its sharp left-of-center tendencies.
This proposed draft announcement speech for a 2018 Democratic candidate for governor of Texas is the kind of speech and candidate Democrats need and are hoping and looking for in 2018. As FDR once said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Texas Democrats, let's not be afraid to fight for change and progress to move our state and nation forward. What do you think? Who will say it?
If renaming Lee High School was inevitable, NEISD trustees had a golden opportunity to do so in a manner which would promote unity and, perhaps, a sense of healing. Certainly, there are countless San Antonio role models or even “ideas” that could have been selected.
Logic does not seem to apply to the anthem-kneeling dispute raging now, but what if it did? We consulted Star Trek's Dr. Spock, the ultra-logical half-Vulcan/half-human.
The bathroom bill may be dead, but the struggle is far from over. The battle will now be fought from school district to school district, from city to city, and from county to county, costing the taxpayers untold amounts in staff time in legal fees and potential settlements.
What’s really flummoxing is that identity politics was the foundation of the message strategy for both the Davis and Hillary Clinton campaigns. Neither worked out. When you segment voters into groups, you don’t speak to all of them. People tune you out. Progressives who insist on talking about people’s rights and identity do so, I presume, because it feels good and is in line with Democrats’ DNA. That’s true. But the goal is to win at the ballot box, not to feel good.
We must ensure that Texas is put under federal oversight when it comes to voting and election law. Court rulings finding the state’s law to be intentionally discriminatory make it an irrefutable candidate for this remedy. It is also high time we asked: How many times must the state’s election laws be ruled intentionally discriminatory before Texas stops this wasteful crusade?
History is history and the people in it are both good and bad. Erecting a statue acknowledging the deaths and great tragedy of the Civil War and the many Texas families ravaged by the conflict is not the same as condoning or advocating slavery.
Progressives who make exceptions for Washington over Lee — both of whom participated wholly in the system of slavery even if only one of them had the opportunity to go to war in defense of the institution — is to my mind entirely bizarre. It is as though we might separate the “good” slaveholders from the “bad” slaveholders. Can there be such a thing as a good slaveholder?
Some argue that Confederate monuments are symbols of Southern pride. Whose pride? Certainly not the millions of African-Americans who suffered under slavery. Certainly not their descendants, who still face indignity, injustice, terror and violence because of our country’s thriving racist attitudes, systems and institutions.
Whites chose Confederate symbols for their unmistakable meaning: black slavery, white supremacy, and disregard for federal law. By erecting these memorials, local whites indicated their devotion to racial hierarchy and their willingness to violate federal civil rights policies, especially school integration.
One would think that all people descended from European, Caucasian immigrants would be too ashamed to appear in a rally like the one in Charlottesville, Virginia. “Unite the Right” rallies are nothing more than the descendants of immigrants espousing bigoted, anti-immigrant viewpoints.
With the spotlight now clearly on the platform goals and the need for the Legislature to make those a reality, we can and should expect much greater results in the next legislative session on unresolved issues. I am proud of the engaging role the party played during this special session and am grateful to all the Texas Republicans who fought hard for the principles of liberty and limited government in order to make Texas an even better place for everyone.
Our analysis of the current Texas delegation to the U.S. House, state Senate and state House of Representatives plans suggests that under a novel test presented by the plaintiffs in a Wisconsin case, and heavily referenced by a federal lower court, Texas’s congressional redistricting plan is likely unconstitutional while the Texas Senate and Texas House redistricting plans are constitutional.
White identified a critical problem in public education, developed a solution and got it passed into law despite the difficulty and the risk. He was willing to put his political career on the line because he believed it was what Texas needed. He devoted his long public career to improving Texas for all Texans. The courage he showed is sorely needed in American politics today.
In a state where voting is increasingly polarized by race, racial and partisan bias are often joined at the hip. Fixing one generally also will fix the other.
Currently, our elected officials draw their own electoral district boundaries; the foxes aren’t just guarding the henhouse, they’re building it. Unsurprisingly, our political foxes, Democrats and Republicans alike, have abused this power for decades, stealing power for themselves and punishing their enemies. A nonpartisan, independent commission puts a stop to that, creating fair districts that faithfully represent the people and lead to fairer elections.
Decades ago, the Texas Legislature decided that secret money in politics is corrosive to our democracy. Democracy dies when voters are denied critical information, when billionaires are shielded from the consequences of their political investments and when candidates can keep questionable expenditures away from the public eye.
Beto O’Rourke, who is set to challenge Republican Ted Cruz for his Senate seat in 2018, faces daunting odds, even though an analysis of his record in the House suggests that, if elected, he would be among the more moderate Democrats in the Senate. Party brand matters, and it is surprisingly difficult to shake.
During the regular session, Patrick proved that you can win in Texas politics and pass extreme legislation by being cynical, ruthless and ready to exercise power. Democrats have a choice: help pass the Republican agenda or pack their bags for someplace out of state.
Between 2011 and 2017 an already conservative Texas Senate shifted even further to the right. The total number of Republican senators increased by only one during this period (from 19 to 20), explaining very little of this shift. However, 14 Republican senators were replaced by fellow Republicans, and each Republican successor was more conservative than his/her predecessor — most, significantly so.
Next year, Democrats need a successful entrepreneur running for governor to lead the ticket and carry a message that the lifelong government employees seeking statewide office on the Republican ticket don't have the ability or vision to lead Texas into the future.
Nevertheless, there are some assessments that now can and must be rendered. For example, we should be appalled by the efforts of Republicans — including Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and many in the Texas Republican delegation to Congress — to defend the president in a kneejerk and partisan manner.
The recently ended regular session of the Texas Legislature offered a fresh reading of the politics of the members of the Texas Senate — a body that has edged to the right this decade as new senators have been elected.
The strongest evidence of Texas Republican voters’ embrace of the president who both defied their party’s leadership and defeated a handful of Texas-based candidates in the 2016 presidential primary is the sustained approval of the job he is doing as president, as shown in the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.
Editor's note: Texas Tribune reporters don't usually write pieces for TribTalk, but we've made an exception for this commentary by Washington Bureau Chief Abby Livingston, a member of the press team in the Congressional Women’s Softball Game.
These differences underscore the Texas House’s de facto tripartite party system: Democrats, Centrist Conservative Republicans and Tea Party/Movement Conservative Republicans. The boundary that defines which side of the GOP civil war battle line a Republican representative falls on is loose and shifting compared to the clear-cut partisan battle line that separates Democrats from Republicans.
We are trapped in a seemingly inescapable tribal paradigm, and the one-punch option reinforced it by placing party identification at the top of the Texas ballot. But now, the first thing on the ballot will not be an invitation to swear tribal allegiance. The Texas ballot will be a collection of individuals still running under their party labels, but being considered as separate individuals in separate races.
The Texas GOP's unlikely marriage of business-minded, free-market capitalists and socially conservative, often Christian traditionalists has survived and thrived because until recently, the two divisions have found little reason to clash with each other in the Legislature. This year, however, the infamous bathroom bill fight started to indicate growing strains in the GOP. If this keeps up, pro-business Republicans might soon find themselves forced out of the party.
Making it harder for young people and people of color to vote — constituencies that have trended towards the Democrats in recent years — is part of a larger strategy to consolidate power and disenfranchise those who would oppose Republicans. We’ve seen the results of that strategy right here in Texas.
To protect our nation and their own majority in Congress, Republicans not only have to govern by building a national consensus, but also to get to the bottom of the Trump and Russia issue.
During my 40 years in Texas, if you were a Republican, you were most certainly a pro-business politician. But today, many in the state's GOP leadership are moving away from, even ignoring, the business community. That is surely not their intention, but it surely will be the result.
Straight-ticket voting allows down-ballot Republican candidates to ride the coattails of popular and well-funded candidates like Gov. Abbott. It also discourages high-quality Democratic candidates from running in down-ballot statewide contests, and major donors from bankrolling those who do run.
When it comes to redistricting — the redrawing of representative districts after each ten-year census — the Texas Legislature has gotten it wrong over and over again. The districts end up looking vaguely reptilian, squiggling across the map of Texas, with lines drawn in any way mathematically possible to obtain political advantage.
Texas, never outdone in matters political, has a long and storied history of creative electoral district map-making. Like the rest of the Confederate South, it drew districts to marginalize black and Latino voting for generations; a tactic that led to the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Aggressive gerrymandering remains alive and well in Texas and throughout the nation.
Federal judges have ruled that the state's congressional maps are unconstitutional, and the legislators who should set that right have not called a meeting on the subject. When it comes to our constitutional rights, particularly for minorities, it is never a good idea to wait. Justice delayed, when it comes to our constitutional rights, is justice denied.
Texas currently uses a paper-and-pen process for voter registration. There are 38 states using or preparing to use Digital Voter Registration, or DVR and we're not one of them. We should be.
Texas Republicans are, on average, notably more conservative than their fellow congressional Republicans. Likewise, Texas Democrats are on average notably more conservative than their fellow congressional Democrats. They proved it in the 114th Congress.
It turns out that the first test for the Sessions/Trump Department of Justice (DOJ) could come in Texas. The state’s Republican Legislature passed the most restrictive voter ID law in the nation in 2011, and it has been ruled by federal courts to illegally discriminate against Hispanic, African American and elderly Texans.
Because transgender people's access to public facilities is a comparatively new issue on the public agenda, most people are still forming opinions about it, which makes attention to the intentions and uses of different kinds of polling critical to assessing how polling is used for advocacy on this and other issues.
Legislators, police, and even organizers expected this march to be business as usual. But we know this is a new day.
Before the rally, I thought: I know, I know. My team lost and I’m supposed to get over it. Even if I can’t respect Donald Trump, the man, I must respect the office of president. I must celebrate a peaceful transfer of power and pray for the good of the nation. Now I am changed.
Voter suppression is the civil rights battle of our lifetime. And if we want to win, we need the Democratic Party to be front and center in this fight.
The invitation could not have been lovelier. The Texas State Legislature wanted to honor me. When
All of us benefit from a more educated voter, argues Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton.
The rhetoric of President-elect Donald Trump against Mexican-Americans is striking, but the ideas aren't new. Latinos and Latinas faced similar attacks in Texas more than 160 years ago from the Know-Nothing movement.
With Republicans all but certain to control all three branches of federal government in 2017, Texas may be the consummate political model for the country
While many Americans living in Texas and across the country have concerns about the agenda of the incoming Trump administration, children living in El Paso and along the U.S.-Mexico border have perhaps the most pressing and heartbreaking questions one could imagine.
Looking to the past reveals that the present Democratic Party already possesses a path to victory in Texas, but only if it assembles an unabashedly liberal, multiracial coalition that connects high politics with robust social movements.
Have we exchanged our moral compass for political expediency?
A recent poll sponsored by the Center for Social Science Research at the University of Texas at Tyler revealed unexpected trends in political attitudes of the East Texas region, especially which candidate voters are going to support.
After the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the U.S. Supreme Court found success by endeavoring to build bipartisan coalitions and resolve cases on narrow grounds rather than trying to establish far-reaching categorical rules.
After more than a decade of fomenting suspicions about the voting process, Texas GOP leaders find themselves called upon to defend the overall integrity of a process that has delivered most of the political system to their party over the very same time period.
Texas has long been a place of hope for immigrants of all ages, origins, eras and beliefs — contrary to the Republican presidential nominee's divisive rhetoric.
Polling data suggest the attitudes sustaining Trump's candidacy in Texas will continue to play a role in GOP politics in Texas regardless of the future of the candidate himself.
This year's successes in voter registration came in spite of our state's archaic and outdated voter registration system, not because of it.
Wide-scale election rigging is extremely unlikely in Texas simply because our state's election process is very decentralized. Each county is independent in its choice of voting system.
Trump is offensive to those who aren't used to directness and sarcasm, but no one can doubt his love of country.
We must make sure our elections promote accountable government and allow voters to actively participate — whether they agree with the candidates on the ballot or not.
The candidates have beat and pilloried one another with innuendo, mud, slander, gossip — and sometimes even a little truth. But think of how odd it would be if, after all that, neither one of our major candidates gets a majority of electoral votes? It's happened before.
With emotions particularly high this year, Texans from both ends of the political spectrum are spending a lot of time demonizing each other. But are we really so different than our neighbors?
Comparatively higher levels of support among liberals for a constitutional convention might well reinforce conservative impulses to defend the status quo — the threat of liberal change could outweigh the promise of changes justified in the name of conservatism.
High-profile Texans are working the levers of our broken campaign finance system to the tune of millions of dollars in their race to the White House.
If he stays tough on immigration and doesn't take the path of least resistance, Trump is deserving of my vote — and that of every other red, white and blue constitutional conservative from sea to shining sea.
It was quite a sight: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick admonishing President Obama at a town hall meeting on race, telling him, “Words matter — your words matter.” This from a state leader that has used words as hammers, to kick the wounded and politicize grief.
I made England my home for some of the most important years of my life. I did my best to leave a positive mark. I feel like I achieved that. But I don't feel like I would be welcomed back
Stop me if you've heard this one: A gaffe-prone multimillionaire runs a vitriolic, divisive campaign against a veteran female politician. Trump for president in 2016? Try Claytie for Texas governor in 1990.
This incident is only one of many — and without doubt one of many more to come — that expose Trump's continuing candidacy as a dangerous farce that is as bad for Texas as it is for America as a whole.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has positioned himself to be a serious presidential contender for the next several campaign cycles, not unlike his political hero, President Ronald Reagan.
Barring the unforeseen, it appears that most of Texas' Republican delegation will unite in support of Trump at the National Convention in Cleveland. But this has been a year of huge surprises on the national political front, and lightning still can strike.
Despite the outlandish accusations by liberals, there is absolutely nothing discriminatory about Voter ID, and its intended purpose is and always has been to prevent fraud in the election process.
With hotels and bed-and-breakfasts to feeling the heat of the "sharing" economy, some cities are making a big mistake trying to regulate short-term rentals out of existence.
Others shall claim that we must unify in the name of the party. To them I would say: If Donald Trump is the standard bearer of the party, then I am no longer a member.
I invite all patriots and conservatives to join me as we move forward, heal our disagreements and unite to defeat Hillary Clinton, whose candidacy looms as a grave threat to the future of our country.
It is all but certain that the Legislature will resume efforts to pass “religious protection” measures next session. These efforts will pose challenges to Republican leaders attempting to keep the disparate elements that make up their party within the GOP tent — especially Gov. Greg Abbott.
The rise of mogul-turned-presidential candidate Donald Trump may contribute to the demise of GOP efforts to attract Latino voters to the party — or at least to avoid alienating them in large numbers.
Now more than ever, people want a voice in how and by whom they are governed. But is Texas interested in allowing them a chance to participate?
Texans do not support discrimination in the name of faith. They understand that it's bad for the state, it’s bad for the nation and — most importantly — it’s wrong.
While Texans are able to conduct a wide variety of online transactions that require sensitive personal and financial information, including renewing driver’s licenses and paying property taxes, we are among a dwindling minority of states that prohibit their citizens from being able to register to vote online.
Whatever justifications Republicans might have to deny confirmation for an Obama nominee, refusing to consider any nominee based on the Thurmond Rule isn't one of them.
The only real regret I have after my interview of President Obama last week is that I didn't get to ask him more questions. Here are some things I would have asked, along with my thoughts on why these questions were worth asking.
Robert Morrow's election to the chairmanship of the Travis County GOP is a disaster for our party, and I will not rest until he is removed.
Renewed fears of terrorist attacks and a fiercely competitive Republican presidential nominating contest have brought to the surface a set of nativist attitudes that have not received such full-throated expression in American politics for at least several decades.
During these perilous times, we need a leader who is courageous, consistent, passionate and principled. That leader is Ted Cruz.
I believe there is a distinct difference between a private company that uses its profits to hire a lobbyist and government entities that use taxpayer dollars to do the same. Let me explain my reasoning on why I will gladly meet with one but not the other.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has shown time and again during this contest that he is the best-prepared person to lead a post-Obama United States.
As President Obama contemplates his choice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court, he almost certainly will be thinking of diversity. I hope that in addition to the normal context of race, ethnicity and gender, he also will consider other kinds of diversity, such as geography, religion and experience.
Battleground Texas has never been about any single staffer or election — it's about building a volunteer organization to engage Texans all across our state.
There is only one candidate who has a proven and successful record of fighting to raise incomes for hardworking Americans and ensuring more good-paying jobs come to Texas. Her name is Hillary Clinton.
While I hate giving advice to the opposition, if the Democrats are going to once again be dominant, reconstructing the grass roots of the party is essential.
If U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz wants to continue his success in the Republican presidential primaries, he needs to pivot to New Hampshire and put his Iowa campaign behind him.
It wasn’t long ago that we scoffed at people for “ad hominem” arguments. But now, we are in the age where Donald Trump is a leading presidential candidate.
The overriding uncertainty for the 2016 primaries in a state without party registration is not how many will vote but in which political party’s primary they will participate.
I agree that the U.S. Constitution could use some tweaking, but before the governor takes on the immense task of fixing all that is wrong with our federal government, he should first fix what is wrong in Texas, starting with an amendment banning partisan gerrymandering.
In most Texas House and Senate races, voters face a steep informational hurdle in attempting to predict how competing candidates’ campaign proposals and rhetoric will translate into actual behavior in Austin. But five legislative districts offer Republican primary voters a chance for a true comparison.
The ideal presidential candidate has God at the core of their life and the Constitution at the center of their philosophy of government. That candidate is not Donald Trump.
Texas voters may not be currently clamoring for ever fewer restrictions on gun rights, but the political leadership is determined to deliver them anyway as proof of their commitment to defending their constituents’ rights from the depredations of the president.
If you're a woman waiting for an invitation to get into politics, consider yourself invited.
It’s December of an odd-numbered year, which can mean only one thing in Texas: the reheating of the GOP Civil War as the party’s factions gear up for the start of primary season.
Texas politicians have been in the front line of the War on Christmas in recent weeks, and one doesn't have to question the sincerity of their beliefs to notice that the political context of taking the side of the aggrieved in this war is also a form of preaching to the choir.
Donald Trump's proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States has played right into the terrorists’ hands, bolstering the very argument of hostility toward Islam that they use to recruit increasing numbers of angry young people to their cause.
Rick Perry has proven that he is uniquely suited to be the next president of the United States. We believe he still is — and still can win the Republican nomination.
The attitudes revealed in polling provide ready frames for political leaders on the left and right to use in crafting their responses to the sad and troubling events in Colorado Springs.
Ensuring fair treatment for all Houston residents and visitors, including gay and transgender people, would not seem to be so far out of reach in a city that generally seems to take pride in its diversity and inclusiveness. The margin by which HERO was defeated tells a different story.
On Tuesday, Houston chose bigotry over equality.
In a few weeks, my Hometown pride will be tested by the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance being put to the ballot box. As someone who defends Houston’s progressive values in the midst of deep red South, I hope and pray that Houston votes YES to Hero.
Most Republican presidential candidates have attacked Donald Trump’s frontrunner campaign. But Sen. Ted Cruz has made the conscious choice to embrace it — and it's paying big dividends.
When curtains collapsed on Carly Fiorina last week, I was struck by her first reaction: She asked if everyone was OK. It was further proof of her concern for others and her steadiness in the midst of crisis.
Texas Democrats are beckoning Joe Biden to become the vice president of the Democratic primary contest. Once again, they don’t want him in charge, but they want to keep him handy in case of an emergency.
Republican voters have a number of capable, experienced presidential candidates to choose from. But when my former boss Rick Perry dropped out, I had a choice to make — and I chose Jeb Bush.
Amid the lively national conversations around campaign finance reform, what isn’t discussed nearly as much is the role that money is playing in state and local elections.
Campaign finance was never exactly intuitive, and post Citizens United, it gets even less so. What can churches do? What can corporations do? And what’s up with the alphabet soup of political organizations that have proliferated across the landscape?
There's a reason that Donald Trump is leading the field of Republican presidential candidates. His message resonates with Americans who feel that our country is in the midst of a steep decline.
Voting is still months away, but a Donald Trump vs. Ted Cruz showdown in the Texas GOP primary next year is a distinct possibility. And based on polling, it’s easy to see why.
As violent, cruel and bigoted as Texas history has often been, removing Confederate statues from the UT campus will do nothing to change that.
Neither candidate underperformed in last week's primary debates, but neither stood out. To stay afloat as the race grinds on, they'll have to do more than that.
Erasing Southern generals from public memory won’t heal our racist heritage or halt the propaganda machine that brought us the myth of the noble Southerner.
If he’s willing to listen (and that’s a big if), the Republican presidential candidate’s visit to Texas today should provide him with a much-needed lesson on what life in border communities is actually like.
It's no surprise that the Texas Senate was more conservative this year than in 2013. But just who was the most conservative member? And who was the most liberal?
We’ve heard it before: Despite the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling, we’re not done fighting for LGBT equality in America. But what will that fight look like in Texas?
Who had the most conservative voting record in the Texas House this year? The most liberal? A new analysis looks at the evidence.
Despite the clear direction of history on gay rights in America, Texas' top Republicans know where their party's voters are right now, and polling shows why they intend to remain right there with them.
Why is public opinion in Texas so often at odds with public policy? Low voter turnout, for one, but there's more to it than that.
In Texas, the debate over Confederate monuments has centered on the University of Texas at Austin. But the true elephant in the room is the grounds of the Texas Capitol.
Today is a great day of joy and hope for us, and for thousands of our fellow Texans. The decision is historic, and it’s a victory for love.
With a new slate of statewide leaders in charge, key questions about the tenor of Texas politics loomed large as the legislative session unfolded. New polling provides some preliminary answers.
The legalization of gay marriage by popular vote in Ireland — one of Western Europe's most conservative countries — sends a strong message to red-state holdouts like Texas.
Headlines and rhetoric out of the Texas Legislature this year suggest that the public is clamoring for tax relief. But the polling says otherwise.
Research shows that simply criticizing absurd gender stereotypes — like those highlighted by a recent Austin city staff training session — isn’t enough to dispel them. Here’s what it takes.
Legislative sessions always include a big fight or two, but the mix of conflicts this year could make for an especially tense finale. Here's what to watch.
I deliberately chose to be present at the Capitol as I went through my physical transition — to be seen, to answer questions, to give those in power a chance to know a transgender person in real life.
It's no surprise that Texans in Congress are conservative, but are they really that much more conservative than their colleagues from other red states?
The much-hyped group sold a bill of goods the first time around, and as 2016 approaches, Democrats willing to invest in it again deserve to lose their money.
As marriage equality waits in the wings, LGBT Texans still lack basic protections when it comes to employment, housing and public accommodations. That's our next fight — and it's already underway.
Critics have called some Republicans' swift turn against local control an opportunistic reaction to the Denton fracking ban. But the pushback has a foundation in public opinion.
Johnson’s keen sense of social justice tells me that if he were alive today, he’d view the gay marriage fight in much the same way he saw civil rights in the 1960s.
With the distinction between the two political parties now clearer than ever, voting a straight ticket is a reasonable response to the number of choices voters today must make.
Gov. Greg Abbott may have prioritized early education this year, but his support for modest changes to the state's pre-kindergarten system reflects the complicated divisions within his party.
The aura of inevitability around open carry legislation in Texas this year belies the divide among Republicans on the issue.
Is the Wisconsin governor’s newfound popularity coming at the two Texans’ expense?
I may not be running for office again, but the story behind Texas’ success needs to be told. And in the years ahead, I’ll play a role in telling it.
Republicans dominate the Texas Legislature, but is there such a thing as "too far to the right"? An analysis of two conservative groups' scorecards of lawmakers shows that it depends on whom you ask.
Selma riveted me, but I was sad to see the film depict my father as a reluctant latecomer to the civil rights movement rather than the partner I'd seen in the fight for social justice.
The ignorance of a few protesters and one lawmaker will not deter Muslims like me from voicing our opinions or working to foster a better understanding of our faith. It'll only make us work harder.
At this weekend's unofficial kickoff of the 2016 GOP presidential race, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker gained the most ground. But a focused and animated Rick Perry also turned some heads.
Think Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s commitments to the GOP’s activist base will hobble him in office? Think again.
I'm a proud Texas Republican, but our party must accept a cold reality: The real threat to our political future isn't changing demographics or liberal groups. It's the fact that only one in 10 Texans are showing up to vote in our primaries.
Given the relative harmony between mainline and Tea Party Republicans in the Texas electorate, why can't their elected officials in the Legislature seem to get along?
Amnesty policies backed by big business will shortchange America’s minority and legal immigrant populations, and Hispanics in Texas are beginning to take note.
Leticia Van de Putte’s decision to resign from the Texas Senate to run for mayor of San Antonio has set the stage for the highest-profile battle for the soul of the state's Democratic Party in recent years.
Austin is already a great place to live, but the challenges our city faces will require thoughtful, proactive leaders who can collaborate and negotiate with the rest of the state. I'll do that as our next mayor.
Texas Democrats got hit pretty hard in November. Wouldn't it feel good to hit back? By electing me the next mayor of Austin, you'll help ensure that our city never belongs to the Republicans who back my opponent.
If Texas Republicans want to help the conservative cause, they should commit to unifying the party, not attacking other Republicans for speaking the truth.
Texas is already at the epicenter of the 2016 GOP presidential race — and not just because four Republicans with links to the state are on most early lists of top potential candidates.
Our losses earlier this month were disappointing for us at Battleground Texas, but I have hope for the future. Here's why.
As the author of the most comprehensive pro-life legislation in the nation, I find it offensive for certain national groups to say that Speaker Joe Straus has not been supportive of the pro-life cause.
The final tallies from last week were relatively predictable, but they still raise an important question: Was there something particular to Texas this year that gave Republicans here such huge wins?
Tuesday night's results confirmed an unmistakable trend: Over the last year, Texas wasn't becoming bluer — it was becoming redder. And the reasons why are probably more complex than we think.
The Republican Party may not be perfect, but it supports policies that help everyone and aren't just based on race. Greg Abbott is an ideal standard-bearer for those policies, and as governor he'll fight for all Texans.
Texas should be led by someone committed to giving a voice to the state's growing minority communities. It's no surprise that Wendy Davis has proved herself a torchbearer for minority rights on several fronts.
Texas Democrats’ electoral woes are well known, and their chances next week don't look good. What’s gotten less attention is the underlying problem that helps explain the party’s descent into political purgatory: party ID.
The latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll, released last week, offers a few valuable clues about where the electorate stands going into the last week of the election.
Juan Seguín, José Antonio Navarro, Lorenzo de Zavala. Recognize any of those names? If not, you may be a victim of political correctness.
Republicans appear poised to again sweep this year's statewide elections. But dig deeper into the data and you'll find faint signs of long-term promise for Texas Democrats, even if their standard-bearer loses in November.
Amid the debate performances and fundraising emails, the emotional dynamics on display in the gubernatorial candidates' ad campaigns provide the clearest sense of how each side really views the race.
State Sen. Wendy Davis is trying to make inroads among women and Anglos this year, but a look at the data from Texas' gubernatorial elections since 1990 underscores the daunting task she and the state's Democratic Party face.
Given the high-level discourse that pervades The Texas Tribune Festival, it may seem uncouth to scrutinize the event in the context of polling. But it's a useful way to analyze what was happening onstage.
Democrats continue to try to define and divide women with a narrow set of issues, and Wendy Davis is no exception. But Texas women aren’t buying it anymore.
Recent polls have painted two divergent pictures of the Greg Abbott-Wendy Davis race. Here's a rundown of what that means and what to pay attention to as November draws near.
Greg Abbott has always been more comfortable making this campaign about Wendy Davis than about the issues that Davis wants to discuss. The timing of Davis’ book release may have inadvertently helped him do just that.
Wendy Davis’ recent admission to two abortions in the 1990s will energize her base of radical liberal supporters, but it will do nothing to erase her persona as a single-issue candidate.
Wendy Davis has fought for women with the same resolve and strength she displayed in sharing her deeply personal decision to have an abortion after learning her much-wanted pregnancy had gone tragically wrong.
Rick Perry’s governorship has transcended the spirit of the Texas Constitution. The indictment begs for a discussion of whether his version of the governorship is the one Texans want or need.
It may not be news to say that the 2014 lieutenant governor’s race provides Texas voters with a stark contrast in political ideologies, but now the numbers back it up.
With every passing year, Gov. Rick Perry just seems to have grown bolder and bolder, like a roguish movie character who bends and twists the rules of the game, always managing to escape the burning building. Can he do it once more?
The loud and public back-and-forth among Texas Republicans this year has given them something Democrats are sorely lacking: an honest conversation about their party's future.
The lack of female politicians in Texas isn’t just a symbolic problem. Female legislators from both parties are more likely to prioritize issues important to women and families, and that’s vital in a state where so many of them are struggling.
The problems facing the Republican Party on issues like gay marriage aren't unique to Texas, but they're particularly pronounced here. Polling data and the party's long run of success in Texas explain why.
Accusations of political corruption crop up in nearly every high-profile election, but polling reveals why these attacks often miss the spotlight and fail to change minds.
Whether you consider the border crisis a humanitarian problem or a policy failure, it's also a striking reminder that Texas is already playing an outsize role in the 2016 GOP presidential race.
There’s not a single female Hispanic Republican in the Texas Legislature or representing the state in Congress. That's troubling, but the first step toward fixing the problem is empowering all women.
The GOP is no stranger to coded language and imagery, and this year, with immigration in the spotlight, Texas Republicans like Dan Patrick have a whole new arsenal at their disposal.
Both Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott have been reluctant to make abortion a major campaign issue, but as polling shows, Abbott's hesitance likely benefits him more than Davis' benefits her.
In Texas, the surprisingly complex patterns of public opinion on immigration call into question the conventional wisdom informing media coverage — and even political strategy.
State Sen. Wendy Davis' courageous filibuster a year ago laid bare a new reality in Texas politics: When we fight back, we can make a difference. And that was just the beginning.
State Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster of abortion legislation last summer may have garnered national headlines, but it didn't impress most Texans — and probably did more to galvanize conservatives.
Nearly 25 years after hundreds of young women stormed the Capitol to cheer on Ann Richards, Texas politics is again shot through with excitement about Democratic women. Something big is stirring in our state.
The new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll leaves no doubt about which faction of Republicans is the driving force in Texas politics right now.
The swift demise of same-sex marriage bans across the U.S. over the past year means that gays and lesbians may get to marry in Texas much sooner than anyone expected.
It's only June, but there's virtually no evidence yet that Texas Republicans should be concerned about November.
The drama that played out at last weekend's state Republican convention may have seemed trivial, but it illustrates a bigger shift underway in the Texas GOP.
More than ever before, Texas is set for a political sea change. That’s why this is going to be the state's most competitive election year in decades.
By denying us a spot at its convention this week, the Texas GOP has shown that it's still unwilling to accommodate differing viewpoints. That's a recipe for failure.
I'm no fan of Wendy Davis, but conservative critics who are resorting to name-calling and sexist attacks need to stop. They're undercutting our message and credibility.
The national media has painted state Sen. Dan Patrick's victory over Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst as a sign of Tea Party ascendance in Texas. But there's more to the story than that.
The perennial debate about debates is a ridiculous exercise, filling lots of newspaper column inches, websites and TV news blocks while allowing everyone to avoid talking about positions, policies and records.
We're a city of humble beginnings, and I want to make sure we're also a city of unlimited possibilities. San Antonio is on the rise, and we must seize this moment.
Texas needs an attorney general who will stand up and fight, not cower and hide. My opponent appears unfit to be an attorney — let alone our attorney general.
It’s more important now than ever that we have a strong, conservative attorney general of Texas. While my opponent occasionally talks the talk, I have a record of walking the walk.
Do we want to be seceders, or do we want to be leaders? It’s time for someone to bring courage, imagination and common sense back to politics
As a candidate for this office, I have conducted myself in a manner that can be considered both refreshing and inspiring. This campaign at times has been humorous, which is good because of the state of Texas politics.
Why would Texans trust someone with zero oil and gas experience to oversee that industry? My experience and expertise make me well suited to serve on the Railroad Commission.
Texas does not need another smooth talker like my opponent using the Railroad Commission as collateral damage in his journey up the slippery pole that is Republican politics in Texas.
Julián Castro has star power, drive and intelligence. What he didn't have before now is a plan. Joining the Obama Cabinet is a good one.
It's easy to see why Julián Castro would take a job as the secretary of housing and urban development. But these days, a Cabinet position isn't all it's cracked up to be.
In the race for lieutenant governor, Texans must choose the candidate with experience, integrity and conservatism.
I'm running for lieutenant governor to advance the conservative agenda that voters have waited far too long for.
When politicians in Texas refuse to cooperate, the entire state pays the price. My campaign for lieutenant governor is about pragmatic governance and problem-solving.
I have unimpeachable ethics and a record of fighting for transparency in state government. I won't give the Democrats an issue that will let them capture this seat in November.
My opponent is a good man and has served our state honorably, but he simply does not have the agriculture background, training and real-world experience that I have earned over the last 50 years.
My campaign for U.S. Senate as a LaRouche Democrat offers Texas an opportunity to lead the nation in restoring the rule of the Constitution.
Democrats have an easy choice in the May 27 runoff for U.S. Senate. After the runoff, however, the real battle begins — against Republican John Cornyn.
My opponent has launched one of the dirtiest attacks in the history of Texas politics. But I'm a Christian first, and it's time to put that faith into action.
Can I win? It’s a long shot, but the only shot we have. If you love liberty, Texas and the Constitution, I'm not just another choice for Texas governor. I'm your only choice.
We can elect someone who supports policies that favor political insiders at the expense of hardworking Texans. Or we can elect someone who fights for all Texans — regardless of their age, race or gender.
We’ve seen that more government leads to more spending, which leads to more taxes, which would devastate the economic miracle we have worked so hard to create in Texas. I have fought against that mindset.
My congressional campaign exposed me to the harsh realities of politics. That doesn't mean I won't run again.