Keyword: Marco Rubio
With voters across Texas casting their ballots today, we thought it would be useful to see what different groups of voters are prioritizing when making their ultimate decision. To do this, we asked likely primary voters in each party, "What's most important: picking the candidate best prepared to...," and gave them nine response options meant to illicit the major themes and arguments of the 2016 primary elections for both the Democrats and the Republicans. Explore the results for likely Republican Primary voters.
With citizens in 13 states, including Texas, voting today in the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries, many are expecting the particulars of the nominating races to become a lot clearer by later this evening – or at the very least, by early tomorrow morning – to the delight and, depending on the outcome, chagrin of many in both parties. While there's no shortage of sub-narratives and important secondary questions to be poured over in the days and weeks ahead (including in this very blog), the overarching questions for each party are rather simple.
While we found the most recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll chock full of fascinating results on attitudes toward issues that illuminate much of the recent political discussion in the 2016 races in both Texas and the U.S., with the Texas primary coming up Tuesday it seems appropriate to look at some of the undercurrents of the results from the trial ballots in the presidential nominating contests, including Cruz's standing with extremely conservative voters as well as some slippage in his standing, the Clinton-Sanders race, Texans' views of outsiders, and more.
The Texas political world is all in a tizzy this week after Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucuses, using a combination of evangelical support, streamlined political science, crack campaign organization, and, of course, charm. Seems a sure thing that Marco Rubio will make a play in Texas, and to this end he announced his “Texas Leadership Team". Speaking of wanting to lead, aspiring Texas GOP-chair Jared Woodfill announced while on his day job that his client, the fake fetal tissue dealer David Daleiden of Planned-Parenthood-sting-gone-wrong fame, would not take a plea deal offered by the Harris County DA, presumably at least in part to use the trial as a forum to air his views on abortion (after all, he’s an activist). For those who really want the inside baseball on abortion politics, theDallas Morning News took a good look at the competing anti-abortion groups in Texas, pegging the story of dueling defenders of all things life to their taking sides in the fight between Pro-Straus and anti-Straus forces in the GOP primary. Their struggle inspired us to include a bonus video.
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.
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.
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 prominent role of a Syrian who was likely never really a refugee, but masqueraded as one to reach Paris in order to play his terrible role there, has created the rhetorical space for a new variation on the immigration and border security trope that appeals to a broad section of Republican voters. The Paris attacks will clearly make national security and counter-terrorism more salient for now – and there was a significant portion of the GOP that saw terrorism as salient before the attack. But the quick incorporation of immigration as a central component of the national GOP response to Paris makes it unlikely that counter-terrorism will gain enough intensity to dislodge immigration in the gut reactions of GOP primary voters. The speed with which this incorporation has occurred suggests that, in fact, it may reinforce these reactions – and their impact on the GOP presidential race.
While there’s not a lot to be added to the chorus of sad assessments of Jeb! Bush’s presidential campaign (just Google “Bush and “toast” and take your pick), from the perspective of politics in Texas, George W.’s little brother's lack of traction in his family's home state reflect his broader difficulties as we get closer and closer to actual voting and caucusing.
Given the speed with which Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's campaign sank over the summer, his exit from the 2016 Republican presidential nomination contest won't leave much of a wake in Texas public opinion. The second choice preferences in that race reveal who Walker appealed to before he was forced to abandon ship, though the limitations of what early polling numbers can tell us underline just how shallow his appeal was – and that Walker's peak was too little, too soon.