A Boxful of Letters: Most Texas Churchgoers Don't Share Attorney General's Complaints About Cities' COVID-19 Containment
A trio of letters sent from the Texas Attorney General’s office to the leaders of three of the state’s major metropolitan areas again raised the public tension between the limits on religious practices contained in public health measures undertaken to contain the spread of coronavirus and the protection of religious liberties. That tension, however, may be more acutely felt by elected officials navigating party politics and personal rivalries than it is by most voters.
What’s missing in prominent interpretations of Governor Greg Abbott's response to COVID-19 — the criticism of Abbott as pandering to his base and the president at the expense of public health, and the adjusted take that this is the judicious Abbott we’ve always known — is that both the substance of the order and the style in which he issued it are consistent with one of the throughlines of his governorship to date: His ambition to strengthen the role of the executive branch in Texas’s political order, while at the same time aligning his reframing of that political order with the dispositions of conservative voters in his party’s base. Yes, Abbott is both political and deliberate in his approach. But there is a larger orientation to both his politics and the style of his approach, and he is following this orientation in his approach to confronting the most serious conjunction of crises the state has faced in the experience of most living Texans. While his political needs and institutional strategy reflect specific ideological and policy choices, reducing them to pandering or an inapt temperament misses the overall arc of Abbott’s approach – and its implications for the state both in the immediate crisis and in its uncertain aftermath.
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.
The June 2017 University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll underlined both the Lt. Governor’s success at getting his name out there, but also the continuing strength of a better known Governor. An increase in the salience of legislative efforts to regulate transgender people’s access to bathrooms among conservatives in the GOP is a testament, though, to Patrick’s ability to capture the imagination of his base. Or maybe it’s hearts and minds, judging by some of the patterns of support for another conservative cause, so-called conscience exemptions. You don’t need to practice much pattern recognition, though, to pick up on the odd fact that, for all the declarations that some people in the legislature let conservatives down in the 85th, the Tea Party faction seems pretty pleased with the achievements of the legislature and its leadership. One thing no one seems interested in is throwing legal voters in jail, even if they fail to use their photo id when they vote. Seems there are limits after all.
If you want to know why Republican candidates for lieutenant governor favor teaching creationism in schools, just look at conservative voters' views on the subject.
Whether or not the Catholic Church remains strongly opposed to gay marriage under Pope Francis I, one thing is for sure: There is a clear and widening gap between papal and public opinion on same-sex relationships in the U.S., and Texas is no exception.