Post Date: November 2023
Jim Henson and Josh Blank look the state of play in the final days of the special session, and discuss how to assess the overall performance of the 88th Legislature.
Revisiting Texas attitudes on immigration and border security as Abbott doubles down in McAllen with Donald Trump
As the Thanksgiving holiday and the expiration date of a fourth special session of the Texas Legislature draw near, Gov. Greg Abbott and the Republican legislative majority are close to enacting a new batch of legislation related to immigrants and border security that yet again push the boundaries of both the U.S. Constitution and historical norms around the treatment of migrants and immigrants in the U.S.. Expect the new legal and rhetorical boundaries (or lack thereof) around “securing the border” to be on full display when Gov. Abbott and Donald Trump stage a joint visit to McAllen this weekend, where Abbott is expected to endorse Trump’s bid to return to the White House and the two are expected to discuss “future plans for curbing illegal immigration.”
Even as people who work in the Texas Capitol continue to obsess about the death match over school choice playing out in the legislature in the final days of the special session, it should be no surprise that Republicans from Trump and Abbott down to legislative backbenchers all view immigration and border security as their political lifelines after a bruising year of unprecedented political infighting. With the prospects of delivering an ESA/voucher/choice bill still too close to call amidst continued resistance in the Texas House, there's no denying the political logic of keeping immigration and border security on the legislative agenda, which sustain Republican campaigns in both primary and general election campaigns more than any other policy issues.
The Attorney General’s current and promised public efforts to strike back at enemies from within his own party make questions about Paxton’s standing with the public – especially Republican voters’ views of the now concluded impeachment and trial, and of Paxton himself – a practical matter for incumbent legislators preparing to face primary challengers who, in some cases, will be looking to rely on Paxton’s support. To a lesser extent, but maybe more consequentially, these public perceptions also bear on the question of how much deep funders of those challengers will attempt to use Paxton as an asset in their recurring efforts to dislodge Republicans not to their liking.
Second Reading Podcast: Texas public opinion toward vouchers and Ken Paxton in the latest UT/Texas Politics Project Poll
Jim Henson and Joshua Blank look at Texans' views of vouchers as the legislature remains at an impasse on the issue, and discuss what the latest UT/Texas Politics Project Poll reveals about views of Ken Paxton as his securities fraud trial begins in Houston.