Latest Columns

Political map-making process in need of a cure

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.

Texas lawmakers shouldn’t contribute to a delay of justice

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.

Dark history, relived

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.

The Limits of Public Polling on Texas Bathroom Access

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.

Why We March

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.

What El Paso children are asking about Trump

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.

What the 1824 election can teach us about 2016

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.

Words do matter, Dan Patrick — yours included

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.

How to fix Texas' outdated voter registration system

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.

The questions I didn’t get to ask POTUS

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.

The Texas GOP goes nativist in 2016

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.

Why I'm for Ted Cruz

During these perilous times, we need a leader who is courageous, consistent, passionate and principled. That leader is Ted Cruz.

Why I'm against taxpayer-funded lobbying

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.

Diversity key in finding Scalia's replacement on Supreme Court

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.

Why I'm for Hillary Clinton

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.

Waging the War for Christmas in Texas

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.

How HERO was defeated

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.

Why Trump is making a connection

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.

Welcome to Laredo, Mr. Trump

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.

A plea for decency, not bigotry

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.

7 takeaways from Iowa

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.

Why me and not Mike Martinez

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.

Why me and not Steve Adler

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.

Why Texas stayed so red

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.

Another warning sign for Texas Democrats

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.

Perry's penchant for living on the edge

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?

Why the gender gap in Texas politics matters

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.

A day that changed everything

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.

A day that changed nothing

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.

Let's get beyond debating debates

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.

Why me and not Ken Paxton

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.

Why me and not Dan Branch

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.

Why me and not Kinky Friedman

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 me and not Ryan Sitton

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.

Why me and not Sid Miller

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.

Why me and not Tommy Merritt

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.

Why me and not Abbott or Davis

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.

Why me and not Greg Abbott

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.

Why me and not Wendy Davis

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.