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 call.
In a week that found Governor Abbott a little more committed to Donald Trump, the legislature continued to hold hearings that provide glimpses at possible agenda items as the universe around the state capitol comes to terms with the fact that Legislature will be back in session in less than four months. Two issues were on display this week that defy conventional coalition politics – a familiar one of finding a way to subsidize private schools with public funds, and the more esoteric subject of holding a Constitutional Convention to consider changes to the U.S. Constitution. Ted Cruz also made his way back into the news this week by being nice to some of his GOP colleagues and being not so nice to the Obama Administration. A new statewide poll grabbed headlines by finding Trump leading Clinton in the first major poll to switch over to focusing on likely voters.
As the Labor Day weekend and the symbolic start of the Fall election campaign season nears, some comments and data on voting, the return of sanctuary cities, and, of course, immigration and border security, including Donald Trumps Wonderful Wednesday.
We close the week out with a final nod to Donald Trump’s visit to Austin and its intersection with politics and public opinion in Texas. Next week, we’ll return to at least some non-Trump related observations. Probably.
Donald Trump visits Austin Tuesday for a fundraising event hosted by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and a public rally in the Luedecke Arena at the Travis County Expo Center. Trump’s pending visit elicited a range of responses upon its announcement, from Democratic claims that Trump’s unlikely visit to Texas is a sign of weakness to Republican efforts to both laud the visit as an honor even as many GOP leaders dodge an appearance with Trump. Aside from Austin being an unlikely landing place for Trump -- the city isn't that weird, after all -- Trump's visit and the response of political class, especially among Republicans, illustrates just how mixed Trump's reception has been in Texas, where Trump finished behind favorite son Ted Cruz in the March primary. This isn’t to say that Texas is about to turn you-know-what-color in 2016 -- the combination of patterns of party identification and Republican antipathy to Hillary Clinton can be counted on the carry the day for Trump in the absence of a serious Trump meltdown. But conservatives and Republicans in Texas clearly have reservations about Trump that are evident in multiple results in the June 2016 University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll.
State politics continued to stir this week as the Texas Senate took a look at pre-k even as schools and advocates grumbled about inadequate funding - something that came up during legislative debate, one might recall. National politics continued to knock on the door of state politics, as Rick Perry tried to help Donald Trump and a national polling firm stirred the pot in Texas in what was probably the best marketing move of the week. A vivid piece in The New Yorker written by a Texas doctor illustrated what Texas' rock-bottom Medicaid spending actually looks like to a real person, while some Republican legislators tied to prevent an execution by the state of Texas.
Trump’s candidacy has cut across the right–far ideological presentation of the Tea Party brand that has helped define acolytes in Texas and frame the internecine fights in the Texas GOP as a battle for the mantle of “true conservative.”
The week saw the stirring of politics in Texas not reducible to the ever-more-weird presidential race, as Texas’ voter ID law was back in the news after the state was forced into an agreement that was a de facto recognition of the law’s shaky constitutional status. Another shaky Texas political arrangement – the system of financing public education – and the polarized political responses that have stymied progress on revamping it, were also on display in a long meeting of the Senate Education Committee.The week saw the stirring of politics in Texas not reducible to the ever-more-weird presidential race, as Texas’ voter ID law was back in the news after the state was forced into an agreement that was a de facto recognition of the law’s shaky constitutional status. Another shaky Texas political arrangement – the system of financing public education – and the polarized political responses that have stymied progress on revamping it, were also on display in a long meeting of the Senate Education Committee.
Donald Trump has almost single-handedly – well, single mouth-edly – driven media coverage beyond the standard talk of convention bounces on to speculation about just how weird his campaign can get – and, yet again, whether the current state of crisis in his candidacy can be overcome. Trump’s most recent paroxysm of impulse and insult started with his response to the Democratic National Convention speech by Kazir Khan, with his wife at his side, about his son’s death while serving in the military in Iraq -- the beginning of a very rough week for the Trump campaign and the party that nominated him.
"Campus carry" -- the ability of holders of a concealed handgun license to carry concealed handguns on public universities (all but one private universities have reportedly opted out using a loophole for them provided by the Texas Legislature) -- goes into effect today, including at the University of Texas at Austin. As we've seen intertwined increases in Second Amendment fundamentalism, heavily publicized mass shootings throughout the United States, and activism in Texas aimed at expanding gun rights, we've conducted extensive polling on gun-related issues over the last few years.