At this, admittedly, extremely early stage in the process, let’s take a look at where each stands among Texas voters, and in particular, Texas Democrats and liberals ahead of the first Democratic debates.
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.
Judgments about the actual policy achievements of the 86th necessarily await their implementation and evidence of sustainability. In the meantime, legislative incumbents will hope to bask in the faint praise they earned in 2019, while worrying that they might well be drowned out in another election year defined by the deafening volume of chaotic national politics.
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.
Why is the Lieutenant Governor Killing the House’s Buzz on Marijuana Decriminalization and Medical Cannabis?
Talk of the Texas Legislature passing some legislation to lighten the state’s traditionally harsh marijuana laws have been in the air since long before the 86th legislature got underway in January. The expectations, cultivated by a combination of optimistic advocates and click-seeking news outlets, were fleetingly validated with the House of Representatives’ passage of Rep. Joe Moody’s bill (ultimately watered down) containing reduced misdemeanor penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and lowering the threshold for having those convictions expunged from one’s record.
The euphoria among supporters, however, was short lived.
The Texas Senate’s rejection of the much-hyped proposal by the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the House to ask voters to approve a 1-cent increase in the state sales tax has produced what passes for high drama in the Capitol. The Senate’s outright rejection of an approach promoted by its presiding officer, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, only worsened the already obvious problems in the House, where Democrats are publicly unified in their opposition amidst lower-key but palpable skepticism among House members who have to run in GOP primaries next year. (Shortly after the original version of this post appeared in TribTalk on May 7, the House sponsor of the bills pulled them from consideration, all but guaranteeing the death of the sales tax increase.)
We've made the new runs released by the House committee available in a spreadsheets for 2020 and 2021 via Google Drive, should you want to interact with the data yourself.
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.
The Texas House will take up HB3, the omnibus school finance bill years in the making, on Wednesday. As with any attempt to tweak the school finance system in Texas, the attention of legislators in the House has shifted to the "runs", the document produced by the Legislative Budget Board outlining how funding will change for each member's school districts. Old timers in the process will remember how, in the past, when new runs were released, members walked around with sheafs of paper, looking for the small handful (or less) of members who could walk them through the implications.
Ah, technology! For those who enjoy looking at the data themselves and maybe even playing with it, we have converted the .pdf's released by the LBB into spreadsheets and shared them for easy access.