Texas Data Points from the Week in Politics: “OMG, The New Yorker is Paying Attention to Us!” Edition
The Fourth of July came and went this week, and by Thursday the invocation of self-evident truths had given way to the U.S. Department of Justice deeming Senate Bill 5 a good enough fix to the deficiencies in Texas' voter ID law. The center right and leftward embraced Lawrence Wright's telling of the tale of the 85th Legislature in The New Yorker, which at 20,000 words or so had lots of space for close observations by a good writer, though the actual argument about Texas and the U.S. promised in the hed ("America's Future is Texas") seemingly remains to be made in the forthcoming book.
This week brought a surprising (no really) amount of news on sanctuary cities enforcement and significantly quieter news on the franchise tax and ongoing budget negotiations between the Texas House and Senate. At the federal level, with President Trump's 100th day in office closing in, many have been inexplicably surprised (including House Republicans) by the frenetic energy emanating from the West Wing.
As the bill meant to repeal Obamacare faces a close floor vote in the U.S. House of Representatives, results from the February 2017 University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll illustrate the cross currents in the Republican Party that are forcing Speaker Paul Ryan and President Donald Trump to furiously whip the first major vote of the new administration.
Speaker Boehner’s exit, Pope Francis’s speech to Congress, Jeb Bush’s comments on immigration in Houston, the legal and political wrangle over HHS spending on therapy for poor and disabled children, and Governor Scott Walker’s departure from the Republican presidential nomination race
Expanding an unpopular program (Medicaid) to retain money allocated through that program under the guise of another wildly unpopular program (the ACA) seems like a long-shot here in Texas, and a surprisingly bullish negotiating strategy on the part of the Federal Government given public opinion in Texas.
Democratic and Republican voters favor many provisions of proposed immigration law reforms and of the Affordable Care Act. But the rhetorical emphasis on unpopular provisions of those policies has made them nonstarters with those same voters.
In the health care debate, universal coverage has significant if not overwhelming support, but is also marked by pronounced partisan differences, and Texans appeared truly split down the middle on the “public option.”