State Senator Pat Fallon’s Senate seat is not only still warm, it’s not even technically vacated, which made Governor Abbott’s thumb-on-the-scale calling of a snap election for his replacement the major political preoccupation inside the Austin beltway (such as it is) this week. We take a look at the district, presumed frontrunner State Rep. Drew Springer’s positioning there, and possible spoiler Shelly Luther’s potential audience among the Texas GOP. Meanwhile, in Charlotte and on several public properties in the Washington, D.C. area, Donald Trump and his political party attempted to rally fervid Trump Republicans while shoring up some key corners where they fear attrition in November, a tricky task, even if you do have the White House as a backdrop. Hurricane Laura came ashore big, though luckily appears to have inflicted less damage than anticipated. Still, some Texas areas adjacent to the major disaster areas in Western Louisiana were hit hard; we gingerly consider the possible political consequences of the disaster in Texas, along with other data points from the week in politics.
Sheltering in Plain Sight: Some Data Points from the April 2020 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll
The latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll focused almost exclusively on Texans’ attitudes about the Coronavirus, its impact (including the economy), and the response of government and elected officials to the pandemic. We’ve already written about Texans’ struggle to reconcile powerful economic concerns with the widely (if not quite universally) acknowledged seriousness of the public health hazard confronting the country and the state, and provided a compendium of poll results related Texans’ views of Governor Greg Abbott as the twin crises wrack Texas. And, of course, Ross Ramsey and Brandon Formby wrote five stories about the poll in The Texas Tribune last Friday and Saturday (link, link, link, link, link). We pulled out several data points that might have gotten missed in the wealth of results from the first public poll in the state to focus on the coronavirus — and one point that no one should forget.
Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to opt out of the federal refugee program is unpopular with Catholic bishops, but might find more favor among Republicans in Catholic congregations.
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).