We wrote earlier this week about the very real possibility that despite a legislative session defined by a concerted effort to focus on "the big issues," it would be difficult for statewide leaders to provide their incumbent members with much insulation from the chaotic national political environment based on legislative acheivements. The public unveiling of another National Guard deployment accompanied by sharp criticism of a national government that includes a Republican President and Senate majority hedges bets on those legislative achievements -- and nods heavily toward the Republican primaries in March 2020.
Below is a quick round-up of some relevant polling data from the June 2019 UT/Texas Tribune Poll.
Donald Trump formally kicked off his presidential campaign in Orlando, Florida this week, amplified by a (now classic) Trump injection of immigration politics. We've assembled various aspects of Texas voter attitudes toward him based on data from the just-released June 2019 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.
President Trump’s announced plan to pressure the Mexican government to stop the flow of migrants from Central America by imposing a blanket tariff on goods imported into the U.S. risks economic disruption, and political headaches for GOP incumbents on the ballot in 2020.
Given the widely recognized demographic trajectory of the state, the political attitudes of Latino voters in Texas remains one of the topics most likely come up in any and all discussions of the state’s electoral future. The approach of a recent article in The Conversation by Stella Rouse and Shibley Telhami with the highly clickable title “How Latinos Really Feel About Trump” got us thinking about the Texas-specific answers to some of the questions raised by the authors about Latinos nationally.
Following principle rather than politics would require crossing Texas GOP voters who are overwhelmingly and uncompromisingly supportive of the wall, comfortable with Trump’s reliance on executive power to deliver it and still intensely supportive of his presidency.
[This post originally appeared in Tribtalk on March 13, 2019. When the Senate voted on March 14, Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn both voted against the resolution. Twelve Republicans joined Democrats in voting in favor of the motion, which passed 59-41.]
President Donald Trump’s first visit to Texas of 2019 comes as another partial government shutdowwn looms, and as Trump’s demand for funding for a wall or similar barriers continues to meet resistance from congressional Democrats led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Trump will hold a rally in El Paso as opponents hold a counter-rally that will feature speeches by Beto O’Rourke and newly-elected congresswoman Veronica Escobar.
Review relevant results from the most recent University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll that provide context for Trump’s reception upon his return to Texas, and his continued emphasis on immigration and the border with Mexico.
Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Program: Texas Public Opinion and the Politics of the Border Security–Government Shutdown Imbroglio
If politics in the state capital seem to have taken an oddly agreeable turn in the interim between the November elections and the commencement of the 86th Texas Legislative Session in January 2019, the resurgence of the politics of border security in negotiations between the White House and Congressional Democrats over a continuing resolution to fund the federal government remind us that the nativist sentiment among the Republican base is never far from the surface. Whether they reappear in state politics too, after an interlude of good feelings about the need to address public school financing and forego more divisive policy issues, will depend on the choices of the major players in the legislative process – and, to a difficult to predict degree, upon national atmospherics shaped largely by the White House.
For today, though, the intense views on border security and immigration that have been the most reliable features of GOP attitudes both nationally and in Texas are at center stage as Donald Trump plays chicken with the Democratic congressional leadership over his demands for $5 billion in funding for his border wall (presumably the share the Mexican government has not yet paid for).
A week before the midterm elections, President Donald Trump has thrown kerosene on the immigration and border security fires already demonstrably raging within the Republican Pary by loudly promoting two measures aimed squarely at GOP voters focused on immigration and border security. First, the president has called up 5,200 active duty military personnel to converge on the Texas border in anticipation of a caravan of migrants from Honduras. Second, in an Axios / HBO interview to air this weekend, it was revealed that the president is considering repealing birthright citizenship as guaranteed in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution through executive order.
Given the array of attitudes toward immigration and citizenship among the voters who dominate both the selection of GOP statewide candidates as well as the selection of winners in the general election, these elected officials' remain eternally vigilant in their efforts to remain on the right side of the electorate – and each other – on all things related to immigration. The result is that they continue to channel the nativist impulses that course through their base, for better or for worse when it comes to major policy consequences of the Trump Administration's proposed changes to the U.S. Census.
Texas, however unique in its own eyes, remains on the American political map, and its nation’s-first primary election expressed some national dynamics — and may provide some lessons, as national attention shifts to primaries elsewhere in the country.