Joshua Blank

With Houston Indictments, Will Planned Parenthood be the New Voter ID?

January 26, 2016
By: 
Joshua Blank
Jim Henson

As this particular case unfolds, one has to wonder: In a nationalized election year in which the Democratic nominee is (still) likely to be a woman, and in which the Republican nominee (whomever he may be) will likely have to at least attempt to deflect if not overcome the "war on women" charge, could the war on Planned Parenthood become the lightning rod that voter identification laws became between 2010 and 2012 for Democrats?

Rick Perry in the Eyes of Texans and His Endorsement of Ted Cruz

January 25, 2016
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

While Rick Perry’s national stature among Republicans has never been the same since the unfortunate demise of his 2012 presidential nomination bid, it nonetheless has some meaning in the midst of the GOP candidates’ efforts to put together a winning coalition of both GOP voters and party elites. 

Texas Data Points from the Week in Politics - January 22, 2016

January 22, 2016
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

Oil may be struggling to stay above $30 a barrel, but the Comptroller made multiple public appearances this week urging the political and business communities not to worry. We’ll see how that looks in January 2017. Speaking of not worrying, the Dallas City council is floating the idea of moving to a cite-and-release approach to possession of less than four (!) ounces of marijuana. Lest you think Texas is going completely in the direction of personal freedom, the Attorney General cried foul over fantasy sports betting, reminding everyone that key sectors of the Republican base are still very uptight about gambling...

Texas Data Points from the Week in Politics - January 15, 2016

January 15, 2016
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

The saga of sanctuary city politics continued in Texas this week, with the issue being used to attack candidates in at least three Republican primary races in the Texas House: the HD-8 contest between incumbent Byron Cook and challenger Thomas McNutt, and in the races in the districts of both Speaker Joe Straus and Rep. Charlie Geren. Friday afternoon, a story in the Texas Tribune suggested that Texas cities account for only a tiny share of undocumented arrestees not held in custody for deportation nationally. You’d never know it by these campaigns – or by looking at either the Texas Legislature or public attitudes on sanctuary cities, for that matter. Nationally, the president gave a State of the Union Address that was part victory lap and part attempt to shape the tone of the 2016 campaign season, with some taunting thrown in for sport (mainly his). And there was another GOP presidential debate, in which Ted Cruz and Donald Trump went at like they were scrapping for the One Ring. We’ll leave it to you to figure out who the other candidates were in that reference.

How Obama’s Executive Actions Affect Texas Gun Politics

January 8, 2016
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

Texas voters may not be currently clamoring for ever fewer restrictions on gun rights, but the political leadership is determined to deliver them anyway.

Texas Data Points from the Week in Politics - January 8, 2016

January 8, 2016
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

The holidays were definitely over this week with the primary contests heating up and President Obama making a big push on gun safety and earning a swift, even preemptive responses from Republicans in Washington and Texas. Speaking of Washington Republicans in Texas, Marco Rubio made his first campaign visit to Texas this week in an effort to break into the top tier here.  The DPS officer who pulled over and arrested Sandra Bland, who later died in custody in Waller County, is out of the job and in legal trouble, while federal law enforcement officials are taking a MUCH more measured approach to the constitutionalist occupation of a building on national park land in Colorado – perhaps following a little-noticed Texas precedent. As we were gathering material for this post, Greg Abbott called for a Constitutional Convention – U.S., not state, so if you’re a Texas legislator, it’s ok – and 9 new amendments broadly aimed at reasserting state authority vis-a-vis the federal government and putting new checks on the U.S. Supreme Court. He seems sort of fed up! To borrow a phrase.

How Ted Cruz's Edge in Texas Helps Him in the Debate Showdown with Donald Trump

December 14, 2015
By: 
Jim Henson
Joshua Blank

The immediate question about the mutually reinforcing phenomena of Cruz’s recent success in the polls and the attendant media attention he has received is whether Cruz is emerging from the pack to become a real contender for the GOP nomination.

The Size of the Tea Party Electorate in Texas

December 2, 2015
By: 
Joshua Blank

To say that the Tea Party has exerted an influence on Texas Politics over the last half decade is a major understatement, but what often gets left unexplored is the relative size of the group of Texans who identify with the Tea Party in the face of their outsized presence in the GOP primary process.

Decoding Political Responses to the Planned Parenthood Shooting

December 1, 2015
By: 
Joshua Blank
Jim Henson

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.

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