Latest Columns

Upholding our right to self-defense

The countless lawful gun owners of Texas are passionate about defending their rights, and we know that there will be constant attacks from the left to limit them. We will continue to reject that narrative and to work alongside our elected officials to pursue policies that increase safety by respecting liberty.

A more progressive Texas: From Travis County to Smith County

During the latter half of the current decade, the ideological positions of Texans in counties across the state have moved to the left. A combination of generational replacement, migration and attitudinal change has resulted in all but five of the state’s 22 most populous counties experiencing a shift to the left among registered voters.

The company you keep

Words matter. They always have. When Henry II of England asked, “Will no one rid me of this priest?” — surprise — four of his knights killed St. Thomas Becket. In my parents’ time, Hitler used words to incite people against the Jewish community and anyone who wasn’t Aryan. It was hate speech. We know what happened next.

Fear vs. principle in the Texas Legislature

The 2019 Texas Legislative session was driven at least as much by fear as by principle. Without question, the surprisingly close 2018 election results for Republican statewide officials — and losses of 12 Republican House seats and two Senate seats — sent shock waves throughout the Texas Capitol.

Texans’ faint praise for the Legislature could get swamped by national politics

Judgments about the actual policy achievements of the 86th necessarily await their implementation and evidence of sustainability. In the meantime, legislative incumbents will hope to bask in the faint praise they earned in 2019, while worrying that they might well be drowned out in another election year defined by the deafening volume of chaotic national politics. 

Political labels aren’t the best way to judge judges

Party affiliation is not the best way to elect our judges. Neither party has a monopoly on effective jurists. The 2018 election is the last time we’ll have straight-party voting in Texas, but party labels remain a very strong influence in judicial elections. Even though the straight ticket option will be eliminated, this won’t change people’s habits; many will simply select their party’s candidates one by one, all the way down the ballot.

Just how big was turnout in Texas, and what does it mean?

How can we understand the broader social and historical context to try and predict whether 2020 and 2022 will continue 2018's surge in turnout? Will they be like the 2004 election —the first in a series of presidential elections with elevated turnout — or will they be like 1966, a singular surge that quickly gave way to downward trends.

Republicans and Democrats, Texas and California

Along with the general incivility of the recent election, there was an increasingly inappropriate and misguided theme of attacking California. Our nation’s largest state was portrayed as a far-left enclave with a faltering economy, whose residents were either homeless or leaving the state in droves.

Stop making hatred a political issue

Rather than remaining preoccupied with whether President Trump is to blame for the problem of rising incidents of anti-Semitism and racism, let’s move beyond partisanship and  emphasize that hatred — and finding ways to ameliorate it — should not be about politics.

To Texas Democrats: Choices have consequences

Texas Democrats who support Dennis Bonnen for Speaker of the House have lost sight of what the immigrant community and people of color who supported them need and want. We need politicians who will not apologize for our existence, who will stand with our values.

Midterms a warning shot to ‘red meat’ Republicans

Conservatives in Texas have grown flabby over the past 25 years of political dominance. Before the recent midterm elections, the state Democratic Party was a joke whose only purpose seemed to be offering up sacrificial lambs for statewide offices. No more: Their blue islands are spreading to places like Fort Worth, and are themselves expanding as more of the state’s population lives in and around our large cities.

Remembering my friend and what his life meant

It is up to each of us to look at the people around us and the world we share and do the work to build that continuing city. To share the good in our lives with those who have less. To do right when no one is looking, to do even the smallest of tasks to the best of our abilities, and to fight for justice when others look away.

Celebrity and Texas politics

For Democrats, who will certainly enjoy the fruits of this most recent harvest, it would be wise to tread cautiously into the next election cycle; they will not always have Superman on the ballot and a $70 million to fuel the effort.

Why the polls could be wrong

Ted Cruz has led Beto O’Rourke in every recent poll by anywhere between 2 and 9 points, making it highly unlikely for O’Rourke to actually be leading on Election Day. But it’s also true that a more awakened electorate has made for a more interesting campaign. It has also magnified the uncertainty that everyone should expect to hover over all political polling.

What you should know about voter ID in Texas

In this year’s election, Texas voters are facing a new voter identification law. For many of them, it’ll mean presenting one of a short list of photo IDs at the polls before casting a ballot. But voters who face obstacles to obtaining one of those photo IDs are still able to vote.

Worried about national security? Save Texas agriculture.

A strong leader can drive the economic, environmental and cultural sectors of agriculture, thus securing its sustainability for generations to come. Ensuring a future for Texas agriculture will result in the continued strength of our economy and security of our nation's food systems. Think Texas Agriculture when you think about national security!

Employers, get out the vote!

One of the most powerful voices for voter turnout is one that is seldom heard: employers. We have the unique opportunity to help increase voter turnout simply by encouraging our employees to head to the polls. In fact, studies show that employees are 65 percent more likely to vote if their employers emphasize its importance.

Republican deconstructionists don’t represent my party

I am a proud first-year Republican precinct chair, a seven-year elected school board trustee, 30-year Dallas County resident, 41-year Republican, past chairman of the Greater Dallas Veterans Parade and proud daughter of a U.S. Air Force veteran. I am also observant, intelligent and committed to public education. Therefore, I cannot in good conscience support every Republican candidate this year.

Let Texas be Texas: Unity through Federalism

The truth is that Washington has too much power. The courts have too much power. And the American people are suffering from the consequences of decades of one-size-fits-all edicts foisted on 330 million unique individuals across 50 states. This is not the way our government is supposed to operate.

What, then, shall Texas  become?

Growth is wonderful, but it increases the calls on state resources. We must demand that our leaders focus on the material challenges facing all Texans, and refuse to embrace the politics of division, disruption and hatred. In doing so, we can set an example for a divided and demoralized country.

Democrat or Republican? Heck, yeah, it matters! 

Texas is the greatest state in the greatest country in the history of the world. But we have to get back to basics by putting people over politics and governing with the goal of actually getting things done. Vote Democrat in November. Then let’s celebrate at Whataburger!

Accountability is on the ballot in Texas 

Every candidate, regardless of party affiliation, should commit to listening to voters of all stripes long after the polls close. As engaged citizens it is our responsibility to demand this of candidates this fall, then hold them accountable throughout their terms. This is how we take back our democracy. And Texas can lead the way in November.

Beto and Ted, Robert and Rafael

Texas politics can be better than schoolyard bullying and making fun of someone’s name. There are too many real policy issues to discuss to give into race baiting or using another’s name to imply that person is a race traitor.

Texas: No country for young voters?

In the four general elections held so far this decade, Texas has consistently ranked in the bottom five among the 50 states in turning out its voting eligible population. And within the state, younger Texans have voted at a much lower rate than their elders.

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

If Democrats are serious about making Texas competitive, relying on the national political environment or enthusiasm for one particular candidate is insufficient. Republican Pete Flores’ victory in SD-19 demonstrates clearly that the Texas Democratic Party must undergo significant reform and begin rebuilding its county-by-county infrastructure to effectively compete with Republicans.

Beto O’Rourke can save the GOP

If we consider the long-term health of the Republican Party and our country, the choice to vote for O’Rourke should be clear. The November elections can be when we begin wrestling the power away from special interests and giving it back to hard-working average Americans, or it can be our rubber stamp of approval for a system that works mostly for the elites.

Time for a Texas-style sanction against Russia

As someone who stands for free and fair elections, and for the liberty of every Texan, I’m troubled by what I saw and learned in Russia, and by what I continue to see today. My message to the Russian officials was: “Don’t mess with Texas elections!” Now, I’m planning to enforce that mantra.

Back to school: Times have changed

We teach our children that to be successful you have to study hard, do well in school, and go on to college or learn a trade, and you will live a happy life. But what are we teaching them if our teachers are too poor to live?

The Texas voting system needs immediate repair

Texas, we’ve got a problem — a serious problem. A large part of our election technology across Texas is past its recommended useful life of 10 years. On top of that, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security says Russia tried to hack our state's election infrastructure.

A pediatrician’s take: Empowering patients’ healthcare outcomes through voting

If parents perceive that voting can impact their children’s healthcare, they may be more likely to register, and furthermore, to vote. Maintaining voter engagement is also crucial; almost one in five registered voters in my study were unaware of how to find information on upcoming elections. Healthcare professionals in pediatric clinics can provide this information to families.

Mr. Rogers was a Republican, and that gives me hope

Reach out to your neighbor. Talk about politics even if it’s uncomfortable at first. I bet you’ll find that you have more in common than you think. That’s how we can channel Mr. Rogers and make our neighborhood a better, more welcoming place for all to live.

Want civic engagement? Pay a living wage

The civil rights of many hard-working Texans are being violated every day, and they don’t even know it. It isn’t due to things, like voter ID and gerrymandering, that most talk about. The violations are due to a choice many have to make: Survival or citizenship?

A message to Texas’ young leaders

I’ve witnessed firsthand the destructiveness of tribalism in both politics and religion. When you govern and legislate, you are working for one people and one God — not a tribe, a party or religion. The truth, if seen from only one perspective, can become a partial and essentially false representation, and half-truths, when not corrected, are lies.

Two distinct Democratic options in the SD-19 special election

The 19th Senate District covers all or part of 17 counties, with three-fifths of its voters concentrated in Bexar County and the remainder spread across 16 largely rural and semi-rural counties south and west of the Alamo City. The winner of this month's special election will be in a privileged position from which to seek re-election in 2020.

Lupe Valdez for governor

Young people are the most largest, most diverse and progressive voting bloc in Texas. Together, we have the power to decide who we are as a state and to change Texas. We have the power to win for our community and for all people of color the dignity and respect that we deserve by electing leaders who share our values. We will change Texas, and we will do it by voting for Valdez.

A Father’s Day tribute to Jack Ogg

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.

What Republicans can learn from O’Rourke

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.

The crisis of belief

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.

Why we need more moms in office

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.

Why Texans hate talking about politics

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.

Brutal primary battles and split parties

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.

The Modern Media President

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.

The Texas House districts most vulnerable to flipping in 2018

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.

Austin should reject free speech pain for politicians’ gain

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.

Bridging divides: Why I’m for Joseph Kopser for Congress

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.

Next Texas House speaker will be elected with bipartisan support

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.

Ignore the blue wave at your peril

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.

Beware the post-primary soothsayers

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.

Small-town Texas and the politics of silence

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.

A pro-choice vote for Andrew White

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.

A pro-choice vote against Andrew White

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.

A change in the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll’s primary voter sample

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.

The perils of primary election polling

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.

Texas is preparing young women to run

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.

What’s an endorsement worth?

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.

Texas can do better

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.

Texas Democrats are poised to win in 2018

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.

Time to put a fair voter ID law in place for Texas

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.

The election of Texas House speaker is NOT changing

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 2017 Texas House & Senate, from left to right: Post special-session edition

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.

Suburban swingers shaking Texas marriage to the GOP?

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.

Animal PAC forms after tough legislative session

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.

Sage advice, on or off the field: Less is more

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.

Wright is wrong about Texas: Austin is not Texas

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.

A speech Texas Democrats would love to hear

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?

A bane by any other name is still a bane

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.

The battle over bathrooms is far from over

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. 

On the hunt for the Democratic message

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.

The cost of defending discrimination in our democracy

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?

Georgetown must protect its history

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.

Take down all statues commemorating slaveholders

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?

Take Austin’s Confederate monuments down now

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.

Republican Party platform and Texans win during special session

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.

As the descendant of a white, European immigrant...

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.

Partisan redistricting in Texas: How much is too much?

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.

Remembering Mark White

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.

Let Texas citizens — not Texas lawmakers — draw political maps

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.

Dark money, darker politics

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.

How Democrats can stop a bad special session

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.

The conservative drift of the Texas Senate: 2011-2017

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.

It's time for Democrats to win again

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.

What we don't know about Trump — and what we do

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 2017 Texas House, from left to right

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.

Ending one-punch straight-party voting will be good for Texas

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.

Bathroom bills in Texas reveal larger GOP tensions

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.

The right to vote is a fundamental political right

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.

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.

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.

Dancing with democracy

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.

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.

Why minorities should vote for Abbott

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. 

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 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 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 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.