It’s not lost on participants in the legislative process, from members to their staffs, from the lobby to the state agencies, that the maneuvering to shape the agenda of the 85th Texas Legislature is well underway. While the 2016 presidential election dominates political coverage even more than usual, outside the spotlight the pace and volume of efforts to get issues on the state legislature's agenda increase daily. The Texas Tribune’s annual festival at UT Austin weekend before last generated lots of clues about what issues might rise to the surface -- and glimpses of how the friction between the chambers, as well as within and between the parties, is shaping the jockeying for position in Austin.
Comparatively higher levels of support among liberals for a constitutional convention might well reinforce conservative impulses to defend the status quo — the threat of liberal change could outweigh the promise of changes justified in the call.
Amended Endorsements & Endorsed Amendments: Texas Data Points from the Week in Politics – September 16, 2016
In a week that found Governor Abbott a little more committed to Donald Trump, the legislature continued to hold hearings that provide glimpses at possible agenda items as the universe around the state capitol comes to terms with the fact that Legislature will be back in session in less than four months. Two issues were on display this week that defy conventional coalition politics – a familiar one of finding a way to subsidize private schools with public funds, and the more esoteric subject of holding a Constitutional Convention to consider changes to the U.S. Constitution. Ted Cruz also made his way back into the news this week by being nice to some of his GOP colleagues and being not so nice to the Obama Administration. A new statewide poll grabbed headlines by finding Trump leading Clinton in the first major poll to switch over to focusing on likely voters.
Hillary Clinton’s riff in a speech to campaign contributors last week that “you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables....The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it,” has invited mostly negative responses.
The traditional post-Labor Day intensification of the presidential campaign didn’t disappoint, as the week began with the release of a massive 50-state poll from the Washington Post and Survey Monkey that put Texas in the national discussion of presidential polling (if you’re into that sort of thing). Donald Trump dominated campaign news at week’s-end with another round of praise for Vladimir Putin. Closer to home, several education issues heated up: the State Board of Education debated the textbook Mexican American Heritage and, well, Mexican-American heritage, Lt. Governor Patrick renewed his call to end in-state tuition for the children of undocumented immigrants, and the Texas Education Agency called for class size limits in pre-kindergarten. Read on for polling data and comment...
As the Labor Day weekend and the symbolic start of the Fall election campaign season nears, some comments and data on voting, the return of sanctuary cities, and, of course, immigration and border security, including Donald Trumps Wonderful Wednesday.
We close the week out with a final nod to Donald Trump’s visit to Austin and its intersection with politics and public opinion in Texas. Next week, we’ll return to at least some non-Trump related observations. Probably.
The fact that most Americans dislike both presidential candidates has a been a recurring observation in discussion of the 2016 campaign, one that has fed the sense that the public must be hankering for a third party, an independent candidate, or some other fantasy league alternative to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. A closer look has shown that this “fact” emerges from a misreading of the national data. Data from polling in Texas shows that it’s not true of Texas voters, either. Large shares of Texans have unfavorable views of one candidate or the other, but only a much smaller share have negative attitudes toward both candidates.
Donald Trump visits Austin Tuesday for a fundraising event hosted by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and a public rally in the Luedecke Arena at the Travis County Expo Center. Trump’s pending visit elicited a range of responses upon its announcement, from Democratic claims that Trump’s unlikely visit to Texas is a sign of weakness to Republican efforts to both laud the visit as an honor even as many GOP leaders dodge an appearance with Trump. Aside from Austin being an unlikely landing place for Trump -- the city isn't that weird, after all -- Trump's visit and the response of political class, especially among Republicans, illustrates just how mixed Trump's reception has been in Texas, where Trump finished behind favorite son Ted Cruz in the March primary. This isn’t to say that Texas is about to turn you-know-what-color in 2016 -- the combination of patterns of party identification and Republican antipathy to Hillary Clinton can be counted on the carry the day for Trump in the absence of a serious Trump meltdown. But conservatives and Republicans in Texas clearly have reservations about Trump that are evident in multiple results in the June 2016 University of Texas/Texas Politics Project Poll.