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Xarthor
Nov 11, 2003

Is Your Printer Out
of Ink or Toner?

Check out my
Thread in SA-Mart!




Welcome to the Texas Politics Thread!

Texas is a big, beautiful state with 11 different topographic regions including mountains, hills, forests, woods, plains, deserts, streams, and only one natural lake. Caddo Lake

Over the years, Texas was ruled by three nations, became an independent republic for 9 years, then joined the United States as the 28th state. These days it’s ruled by a guy who likens homosexuality to alcoholism, but we’ll get to that in a little while.

In addition to its past oil-based economy, Texas has invested strongly in its universities and as a result, today it has a very diverse economy with various high tech industries including energy, computers, aerospace and biomedical sciences. Because the Texas economy is “thriving” relative to many states that were hit harder in the recession, Texas is currently a magnet for jobs and new Texans are moving to the state every day. If you believe Governor Good Hair, 1,000 people per day are moving to Texas, a fair portion of them from blue states like California.

This fact, along with the magic of latino sex, has made astute political observers note that Texas may become a full-fledged battleground state within the next X-number of years. Just what exactly that number is seems to depend on political ideology and hopefulness but the general consensus seems to between 6 and 15 years.

-------------

Battleground Texas


Whipping the horse that is the race for turning Texas blue is Battleground Texas, a political action committee started by ex-Obama national campaign field director Jeremy Bird and Ohio Field Director Jenn Brown. The idea to start Battleground Texas came from hearing reports about Democratic activity in Texas during the Obama 2012 campaign. For example, I heard Jenn Brown relay an anecdote about how in the month(s) leading up to November, Collin County Democrats had a phone bank where they were making thousands of calls into Broward County, Florida for Obama. For those not in the know, Collin County is one of the most WASPy, affluent, and Republican counties in the state.

Battleground was started in February of 2013 and was initially laughed off by the Republican establishment. Perry called the goal of Battleground “the biggest pipedream [he’d] ever heard” and then nearly a year later GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri admitted that the Texas GOP was changing and (essentially) having to work harder because Battleground has been more successful than they expected. The GOP even launched their own PAC called “Keep Texas Red” as a direct countermeasure to Battleground. If you caught any of the Texas GOP convention speeches this year in Fort Worth, nearly every major speaker including Perry, Cruz, and Abbott mentioned defeating Battleground Texas as an issue.

-----------

The Texas GOP

On the other side of the aisle we have the Texas GOP, which much like the national GOP seems to be in a civil war about which way to go forward. Texas GOP political strategists have been calling (sometimes loudly) for candidates to embrace some type of immigration reform as a way to bring Latinos into the tent, but so far that hasn’t caught on with the actual elected officials. The GOP understands it has to do something about the looming threat of Battleground, Latinos, and the general demographic shift of the state that is slowly turning it purple, if not outright blue, but so far it seems like the voices of “MOVE FARTHER TO THE RIGHT!” are winning over the “Maybe we should be slightly more inclusive?”

The one thing the GOP does have going for it is, as previously mentioned, Texas weathered the economic recession better than many states, and is moving faster out of it than many states. The flip side is, how long can that last? Without getting bogged down into a numerical slog, I’ve read several articles recently that note that there is a strong case for the Texas economy currently sitting on a perilous edge and depending on the economic decisions of the next year(s) the relative solidarity of the current Texas economy could be compromised in a significant way. LOL…but of course you’ll never hear most GOP officials talking about that because the liberals are trying to take away our guns and god, and force us to gay marry fetuses before we abort them.

-------------

Major Texas Elected Officials in the News


Republican Governor Rick Perry (a.k.a. Governor Good Hair, a.k.a Crotch)


After 8 13 exciting years and one failed presidential run, Rick Perry has decided not to seek another term. He leaves behind a legacy of financial debt and intentional verbal gaffes only rivaled by his predecessor. He and his uninformed views on homosexuality will not be missed.

Republican Junior State Senator Ted Cruz



Cruz won a run-off victory in 2012 against (vaguely) more moderate David Dewhurst. Since his election Curz has managed to piss off everyone, including his own party, with his smug brand of Tea Party politics. His “star making” moment was the filibuster to the funding of the government and him spearheading the government shutdown of 2013.

Republican U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert



Although not a hugely influential entity, Gohmert’s name pops up in the news from time to time, usually when he says something unrelentingly stupid about climate change, abortion, terrorism, economics, or y’know, pretty much anything about which he opines.

The Castro Brothers

Write-up coming in the next day or two, in the mean time read this excellent post by fade5.

-------------

2014 Gubernatorial Election

Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott


The current Attorney General of Texas and Rick Perry’s chosen successor. He is currently running for Governor in the usual Texas way: coasting on the -R after his name. Although his campaign did start off auspiciously after he compared South Texas to a third world country and doing events with known pedophile Ted Nugent. He has agreed to two debates with his opponent, State Senator Wendy Davis.

Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis


Wendy Davis was a solid, if slightly unknown, state senator (and former city councilwoman) before her filibuster of abortion restriction State Senate Bill 5 which propelled her onto the national stage. Although Wendy won the battle of the day, Gov. Perry called for a second special session and re-added the bill where it passed easily and now women in the valley are getting abortions in Mexico. Wendy’s ground game is being handled by Battleground Texas and although she is currently down in the polls, the election season hasn’t started yet. Expect things to get down and dirty and for the race to be a nail biter. Vote y’all.

Republican State Senator Dan Patrick


Current conservative talk show host and current State Senator is currently running for Lieutenant Governor. He handily against (vaguely) more moderate incumbent David Dewhurst. If your counting, that’s the second time in two years Dewhurst got his rear end whipped by a Tea Party candidate. Coming from a talk radio background it’s no surprise Patrick is an extremely vocal critic of just about everything he disagrees with, including abortion, immigration, gay marriage, etc.

Democratic State Senator Leticia Van De Putte



Current pharmacist, former State Representative, and current State Senator Leticia Van De Putte is running against Patrick for Lieutenant Governor. Van De Putte and Wendy Davis worked on many pieces of legislation together in the Senate and she is extremely passionate about immigration reform, human trafficking, and other issues effecting the southern half of the state.

-------------

I Want Wendy Davis to Win…How Can I Help?

First of all, GET THE gently caress OUT AND VOTE ON NOV. 4th and make sure all your Democratic friends and family members are both registered and their voting card matches exactly to their license. I heard during the primaries people were being turned away from the polls because their voting card said John Smith and their drivers license said John Q. Smith. It. Must. Match. Exactly.

Secondly, start volunteering with Battleground Texas. As previously mentioned, Battleground is handling all Wendy’s ground game, which includes phone banking, block walking, data entry, voter registration, field offices, etc. You can either fill out this form and wait for someone to contact you (they will), or simply put in your zip code here and show up at an event and start volunteering. No campaign experience required. Yes, it’s that easy.

The race is going to be hard and long and (likely) very close. Every extra volunteer matters. Wendy cannot win if Battleground does not register voters, recruit more volunteers, and turn out everyone to vote come election time. It sounds simple but it’s important and if Wendy wins it will all be worth it.

If you’re out of state and reading this, a monetary donation to Wendy's campaign or to Battleground Texas would be helpful.

I Want Greg Abbott to Win…How Can I Help?

Vote. Pray that Abbott doesn’t Todd Akin himself by saying something stupid about surprise sex. Maybe join up with Keep Texas Red if you want to do some calling or block walking. Remember though, it's hot outside and block walking cuts into your brunch time. Here's his donation link. For all you Randians, he also takes Bitcoin.

.
.
.

Feel free to talk about anything related to Texas politics, news items, the 2014 elections, etc. I'll update this rules section if anything becomes apparent.

I KNOW GUNS ARE A HOT TOPIC IN TEXAS BUT PLEASE KEEP ALL GUN CHAT (RULES/LAWS/REGISTRATION/REPEAL/ETHICS/ETC) IN THE D&D GUN THREAD AND NOT HERE.

Xarthor fucked around with this message at Jun 18, 2014 around 19:27

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Xarthor
Nov 11, 2003

Is Your Printer Out
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RESOURCES AND OTHER MISC INFORMATION POST:

Websites

Texas Tribune -- For state news and quality political coverage
Burnt Orange Report -- Texas Democratic politics blog
Lone Star Q -- For statewide LGBT news

Reading

Texas on the Brink -- Report about the current state of Texas.
2014 Texas Republican Party Platform
2014 Texas Democratic Party Platform

Xarthor fucked around with this message at Jul 17, 2014 around 16:54

SirKibbles
Feb 27, 2011

MY POLITICAL OPINIONS AND ICE-BURNS MAY SEEM OVERSIMPLIFIED AND CHILDISH DUE TO MY BROKEN RETARD GRAMMAR BUT DON'T WORRY THEY'RE COMPLETELY IDIOTIC JUVENILIA TO BEGIN WITH

Xarthor posted:

Post reserved for anything I've missed. Or maybe election results? Something else?

Nothing about the Castro brothers? I don't usually vote D but definitely going to have to it's kind of looking like Davis might have a shot here. I am worried about the economy imploding in the next few years and it getting blamed on Davis if she wins though.

zoux
Apr 28, 2006



SirKibbles posted:

Nothing about the Castro brothers? I don't usually vote D but definitely going to have to it's kind of looking like Davis might have a shot here. I am worried about the economy imploding in the next few years and it getting blamed on Davis if she wins though.

She's 12 points down. She has zero chance.

Tatum Girlparts
Sep 8, 2011

More like Tantrum Girlparts!
I can't be smug if I never stop whining.



Davis isn't gonna win, but I don't think anyone expected her to, she's a symbolic run.

zoux
Apr 28, 2006



Tatum Girlparts posted:

Davis isn't gonna win, but I don't think anyone expected her to, she's a symbolic run.

Yeah but at this point she's gonna lose worse than Chris Bell. I figured it would be five points but it might be double digits.

There is always the chance that there is a massive Latino turnout and that the polls just aren't capturing it but it don't look good.

Xarthor
Nov 11, 2003

Is Your Printer Out
of Ink or Toner?

Check out my
Thread in SA-Mart!


zoux posted:

She's 12 points down. She has zero chance.

Election season hasn't even started fully. No TV/radio ads have even aired! Not to mention debates, etc. Let's not put the cart before the horse.

SirKibbles posted:

Nothing about the Castro brothers?

Ah! I knew I forgot something important. Apologies. I'll put them in the OP tomorrow.

SirKibbles
Feb 27, 2011

MY POLITICAL OPINIONS AND ICE-BURNS MAY SEEM OVERSIMPLIFIED AND CHILDISH DUE TO MY BROKEN RETARD GRAMMAR BUT DON'T WORRY THEY'RE COMPLETELY IDIOTIC JUVENILIA TO BEGIN WITH

Tatum Girlparts posted:

Davis isn't gonna win, but I don't think anyone expected her to, she's a symbolic run.

Hell I was trying to positive the districts are gerrymandered to hell so there's pretty much no chance for a D gov for awhile.

zoux
Apr 28, 2006



Gerrymandering has nothing to do with statewide elections. US Congressional and Texas House and Senate districts are the only thing affected by gerrymandering.

https://www.texastribune.org/ is a really good source for Texas politics so you might want to link it in the OP.

Acelerion
May 3, 2005

I say what I like


Speaking of the Texas economy, the entire goddamn thing is pretty much built on the energy sector (surprise..).

This year in particular many of the major operators (the Shells and BPs of the world) are slashing expenditures and in some cases headcount in order to increase returns in the face of stagnating oil prices. Because you know, its not good enough to make 100 gazillion dollars two years in a row. This is going to take some time to trickle down through the various service and support companies but belt-tightening is already a thing. Not likely to have any political impact this round but I personally think this will play a role in the near future.

Housing prices have already rebounded to "ridiculous" in most urban areas. Combined with a swift local recession this could cause some pain.

computer parts
Nov 18, 2010

A homeless person was out on the street, looked up at me and said, "Draft Manziel." Just like that.

And that convinced me, that the Cleveland Browns' fans wanted Manziel.

SirKibbles posted:

Hell I was trying to positive the districts are gerrymandered to hell so there's pretty much no chance for a D gov for awhile.

Governor votes in most states (Texas included) are at large, not by district.

Shifty Pony
Dec 28, 2004

Up ta somethin'


While the Bush governorship (and particularly Laura Bush) really pushed education in the state, Rick Perry and the recent legislatures seems to actively hate that book learnin' and cut funding 5.4 billion in 2011. This was ruled unconstitutional by the courts both because the funding levels are comically and because the shifting of the burden to local districts in essence forces a statewide property tax (a big no-no according to the TX constitution) but of course jack poo poo has been done.

Also fun: The huge taxpayer funded slush fund which Perry has been using to bribe businesses to relocate and also to raise his own national profile. Most recently Toyota was given $40m from it to relocate 4,000 jobs to Texas. But they came from California so it really sticks it to those liberals!

fade5
May 31, 2012


Cool, it's here. Nice job on the OP Xarthor.

E: You can use a portion of this (or all of it) as the write-up for Julian Castro, I am happy to give my home town mayor props on all he's done.

Politics-wise, Julian Castro has been nominated by Obama to be HUD secretary, and the confirmation hearings are starting today. Hopefully it will be a smooth process, but I've learned never to underestimate the spitefulness of Republicans.

Since this is the Texas politics thread, a (giant) recap: Julian Castro was elected in 2009 as mayor of San Antonio (aka my awesome hometown), and re-elected twice, in 2011 and 2013. As mayor, he got SA 2020 going (SA 2020 is basically a citywide project to help make San Antonio a leading, powerful city by 2020), got Pre-K 4 SA passed (it aims to eventually get Pre-K for every child in San Antonio, and is funded through a 1/8 cent sales tax. Good god did the "muh taxes" parts of San Antonio scream about that, but it passed), and finally, he was a big push behind getting San Antonio's non-discrimination ordinance passed, which bans discrimination based sexual orientation and gender identity.

Julian Castro rose to national prominence when he gave the keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. That speech was great, and it made me so happy that now everyone knows how awesome he is.

On the non-discrimination ordinance, just because I am so drat proud of my city: Texas does not have a statewide non-discrimination policy (because Republicans), so we did it ourselves. As with Pre-K 4 SA, there was a hell of a lot of screaming and complaining and fearmongering; councilwoman Elisa Chan ended up being revealed as a horrible bigot and later ended up resigning. When it was all said and done, the non-discrimination ordinance passed 8-3, and all the screaming was for naught.

Given all of the above, Julian Castro's been an excellent mayor, I'm pleased as hell to have voted for him twice, and look forward to seeing him work his magic as HUD secretary. Oh and hope that the goon idea pipe dream of Clinton/Castro 2016 comes true, till then, I'll settle for voting for his twin brother Joaquin Castro as my congressional Representative. Chicago Politics best Politics.


So basically, say hello to the guy my dad unironically refers to as "the new great Brown hope" (the previous one being Henry Cisneros, before his affair came out). He says and means that in a positive way believe it or not; he's a solid, party-line Democrat, voted for Julian Castro all three times and is also pleased as hell at how he's done as Mayor, and would happily vote for Julian Castro for President.

Xarthor posted:

This fact, along with the magic of latino sex
Thank you so much for including that line by the way.

fade5 fucked around with this message at Jun 17, 2014 around 23:07

Sir Tonk
Apr 18, 2006

11 August 1987

Great, now ReindeerF has his own thread.

Tatum Girlparts
Sep 8, 2011

More like Tantrum Girlparts!
I can't be smug if I never stop whining.



SirKibbles posted:

Hell I was trying to positive the districts are gerrymandered to hell so there's pretty much no chance for a D gov for awhile.

Totally meaningless, we're not gonna have a D governor because Davis, while a pretty charismatic and generally neat lady, is a pretty poor candidate and is against a major machine supporting her opponent (wheelchair joke?). The votes are at large, district means nothing, it's just Davis herself probably isn't the one to make the change.

Don't me wrong I think Davis is great, she's got some poo poo I'm not happy with but hell she's a Texas democrat and I'm a socialist, of course she does. I think when the election 'really' starts Davis will rise in popularity but I just think Abbot has too much momentum to keep him rolling (wheelchair joke for sure).

Sheng-ji Yang
Mar 5, 2014

It is every citizen's final duty to go into the tanks and become one with all the people.

Texas will remain Republican for another decade at least. It is certainly not going to be a battleground state in the next several presidential elections.

ReidRansom
Oct 25, 2004


Tatum Girlparts posted:

Totally meaningless, we're not gonna have a D governor because Davis, while a pretty charismatic and generally neat lady, is a pretty poor candidate and is against a major machine supporting her opponent (wheelchair joke?). The votes are at large, district means nothing, it's just Davis herself probably isn't the one to make the change.

Don't me wrong I think Davis is great, she's got some poo poo I'm not happy with but hell she's a Texas democrat and I'm a socialist, of course she does. I think when the election 'really' starts Davis will rise in popularity but I just think Abbot has too much momentum to keep him rolling (wheelchair joke for sure).

Yeah, basically I feel the same. I'll vote for her because she's a D in Texas though I consider myself a socialist also, but it's probably too early for any Democrat in this state barring Abbott having a Clayton Williams moment, and even then he'd probably still win. What I could see for her though is maybe a stab at a house seat if she makes a good showing in the general, or possibly getting plucked out of Texas for an appointed position in DC if it looks like she may have a future that Texas won't allow her. That's all assuming she ups her performance as we approach the general.

CannonFodder
Jan 26, 2001



Sir Tonk posted:

Great, now ReindeerF has his own thread.
He already has the Southeast Asia thread, because he thought Houston wasn't hot and humid enough. Love ya ReindeerF!


Anywho, what is the political scene like in some of the less talked about cities, like Amarillo or Lubbock or El Paso? As an outsider who drives through Texas often, my impression of the state is:
Dallas: Rich assholes who water the sidewalks during a drought
Houston: OIL and an enormous Walmart hub sweet Jesus it's humid
Austin: Weird™ and an elevated freeway over a regular freeway where I don't feel safe on any part of it
San Antonio: Castros and Tim Duncan
Midland: OIL and smells like rotten eggs
Tyler: best truck stop BBQ with a selection of awesome jerky

There's just a tremendous amount of fuckall once you leave the big cities, and I wonder how that all works out politically.

1stGear
Jan 16, 2010

What?


Davis' election (or pretty much any major D's) isn't really about winning, its about seeing how effective the Battleground Texas machine is. If the race comes within a few percentage points with high voter turnout from minorities, expect to see tons more money being pumped into Texas in 2016 and a brown stain forming on the seat of every Republican's trousers.

Also, I want Leticia van der Putte to win because the thought of Tyler Seiswerda having to say "van der Putte" every so often for the next four years makes me smile.

radical meme
Apr 17, 2009

Let her speak!


Thanks much for this thread Xarthor and the excellent info about Battleground Texas in the OP.

I've said it before but, I've been really disappointed in the campaign run by Davis up to this point. The person I feel really bad for is Leticia Van De Putte, and by extension, the people of Texas who are going to get Dan Patrick as our Lt. Governor. I was expecting commitment, not just participation from Davis; Ann Richards', Barbara Jordan level of commitment. I was hoping from someone who was going to ignite the young voters of Texas with new, progressive ideas; bold and exciting ideas.

Tatum Girlparts
Sep 8, 2011

More like Tantrum Girlparts!
I can't be smug if I never stop whining.



radical meme posted:

Thanks much for this thread Xarthor and the excellent info about Battleground Texas in the OP.

I've said it before but, I've been really disappointed in the campaign run by Davis up to this point. The person I feel really bad for is Leticia Van De Putte, and by extension, the people of Texas who are going to get Dan Patrick as our Lt. Governor. I was expecting commitment, not just participation from Davis; Ann Richards', Barbara Jordan level of commitment. I was hoping from someone who was going to ignite the young voters of Texas with new, progressive ideas; bold and exciting ideas.

Do you, uh, know Davis well because as charismatic as she is she's pretty much a factory standard Texas democrat. Her ability to ignite young voters was never much of her selling point.

PostNouveau
Sep 3, 2011

VY till I die

CannonFodder posted:

He already has the Southeast Asia thread, because he thought Houston wasn't hot and humid enough. Love ya ReindeerF!


Anywho, what is the political scene like in some of the less talked about cities, like Amarillo or Lubbock or El Paso? As an outsider who drives through Texas often, my impression of the state is:
Dallas: Rich assholes who water the sidewalks during a drought
Houston: OIL and an enormous Walmart hub sweet Jesus it's humid
Austin: Weird™ and an elevated freeway over a regular freeway where I don't feel safe on any part of it
San Antonio: Castros and Tim Duncan
Midland: OIL and smells like rotten eggs
Tyler: best truck stop BBQ with a selection of awesome jerky

There's just a tremendous amount of fuckall once you leave the big cities, and I wonder how that all works out politically.

"A tremendous amount of fuckall" is an excellent way to describe Amarillo, Lubbock and anything else in the panhandle. I feel like El Paso is this huge enigma to most Texans, despite it being a big city.

Edit: Add this to OP http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JREkqCvLzSo

PostNouveau fucked around with this message at Jun 18, 2014 around 03:04

Shifty Pony
Dec 28, 2004

Up ta somethin'


PostNouveau posted:

"A tremendous amount of fuckall" is an excellent way to describe Amarillo, Lubbock and anything else in the panhandle. I feel like El Paso is this huge enigma to most Texans, despite it being a big city.

It describes most of the state really and if you've never driven through Texas it is hard to get a grip on it. The regular highways are 75-80mph slowing to 55 for 400ft every 30 miles when you pass a town of 100 and it still takes forever to get anywhere. You hit the state line on I-10 going West and you are greeted with exit 878.

Yes you see giant swaths of red counties on the big electoral maps but that only represents a thousand people or so. The real voting power is in the suburbs that sprawl around the cities. It just so happens that many of the suburbs are concentrations of awful awful people.

HorseRenoir
Dec 25, 2011

LET'S BE STUPID FOREVER



CannonFodder posted:

He already has the Southeast Asia thread, because he thought Houston wasn't hot and humid enough. Love ya ReindeerF!


Anywho, what is the political scene like in some of the less talked about cities, like Amarillo or Lubbock or El Paso? As an outsider who drives through Texas often, my impression of the state is:
Dallas: Rich assholes who water the sidewalks during a drought
Houston: OIL and an enormous Walmart hub sweet Jesus it's humid
Austin: Weird™ and an elevated freeway over a regular freeway where I don't feel safe on any part of it
San Antonio: Castros and Tim Duncan
Midland: OIL and smells like rotten eggs
Tyler: best truck stop BBQ with a selection of awesome jerky

There's just a tremendous amount of fuckall once you leave the big cities, and I wonder how that all works out politically.

I haven't been to every major city in Texas, but my impressions are:

Dallas/Fort Worth - Endless suburban sprawl and highway construction. Dallas proper is pretty blue but it's completely drowned out by conservative suburbs.
Houston - Oil, chemicals, NASA, various financial industrial industries, and more sprawl. Outer counties are solidly red, but Harris County is split down the middle (Obama beat Romney here by less than 100 votes!).
Austin - State capital, has the University of Texas and a lot of tech jobs. Austin has the reputation of being this weird hippie town, but living here I'd say it's more of a trendy tech city nowadays, the kind you would see in California. The Dem stronghold of Texas.
San Antonio - Probably the coolest city in Texas, has the Alamo, Riverwalk, and a lot of cool Spanish stuff as well as a bunch of military bases. Pretty solidly Democratic, with a large Latino population
Brownsville/Rio Grande Valley - A bunch of cities at the south end of the state that run mostly on agriculture and business with Mexico. Extremely Hispanic and Democratic, although some Dems down here are a bit more socially conservative than elsewhere. The borderlands are pretty much the only rural region of the state that the Dems have a stronghold in.
Amarillo - Biggest city in the Panhandle, big railway/cattle hub and not much else. Like the rest of the Panhandle, heavily Republican.
Lubbock - Home to Texas Tech and one of the biggest cities in West Texas. Heavily Republican.
Odessa/Midland/Abilene - Never been, but I'd assume they're pretty similar to Lubbock.
Corpus Christi - On the gulf coast, has a really big port and a lot of military installations. Also votes Republican.
Beaumont/Port Arthur - Big petrochemical industry. At the very least, Jefferson County votes Democratic.
El Paso - All the way at the rear end end of the desert, near New Mexico and Juarez. Home to Fort Bliss and a big Hispanic population. Like most border towns in the state, heavily Democratic.
Tyler/East Texas - East Texas is pretty much just West Louisiana, and more culturally "southern" than the rest of the state. Pretty solidly Republican.

The general rule of thumb is that everything outside the Rio Grande Valley, Austin, and a bunch of urban centers is Republican. Note that while this include a tremendous amount of fuckall outside the cities, this also includes the sprawling suburbs around the cities too, which is where the Republicans get a lot of their support from.

This is pretty much the extent of my knowledge regarding regional politics here, but if anyone has a more detailed guide they'd like to post, go ahead.

computer parts
Nov 18, 2010

A homeless person was out on the street, looked up at me and said, "Draft Manziel." Just like that.

And that convinced me, that the Cleveland Browns' fans wanted Manziel.

Everything that can be described as "uniquely Texan" would be whatever is in the Texas Triangle (Houston, Dallas, Austin/San Antonio). Everything to the South/West of it is more Mexican, everything to the North/West of it is Mid-Western/Plains State, and everything East of it is Southern.

Mecca-Benghazi
Mar 31, 2012



I remember the day after the presidential election when not everything had been fully counted and KPRC had a graphic on the news that said Obama had beaten Romney in Harris county by 2 votes and just going at the screen for a good minute.

Also how many ring roads does San Antonio have? Drove through it relatively recently from Houston to El Paso (so I really shouldn't be talking about ring roads ), but drat it seemed like a lot at the time.

Omi-Polari
Oct 4, 2012


I agree with a lot of what others have said about Wendy Davis. But another thing that's worth pointing out about the Texas Democratic Party is that it's adapted and comfortable with being the minority party, and it'll take a real psychological shift (in addition to financial) for this to change.

One little fact about the Texas legislature is that it's actually quite bipartisan in how it's governed. Democrats regularly lead committees despite being a marginal force electorally, and are even over-represented on those committees. Right now there are six (I think, possibly seven) Senate committee chairmanships held by Democrats despite there being only 12 Democrats in the entire Senate (31 senators total).

This kind of power-sharing is of course done to mollify and neutralize Democratic opposition to Republican policies. But the other thing it does is to keep these Democrats fat and happy in a small number of safe urban and border districts. So the party is really dominated by these somewhat corrupt and comfortable politicos, and they end up serving as an impediment to building the sort of state-wide organization that can challenge Republican hegemony.

Shifty Pony
Dec 28, 2004

Up ta somethin'


I didn't see it mentioned so far so: Texas has a very limited legislative session that only lasts 140 days every two years. Special sessions, each lasting 30 days, can be called by the governor. Before Rick Perry this wasn't all that common but Perry has routinely called session after session to keep the lawmakers in town until they pass whatever bill he wants, as everyone saw with him calling another session after Davis's filibuster.

This gives commissions and appointed positions much more power than they would otherwise have because they are running the state without the legislature there to quickly step in. Perry has by now stuffed every vacancy he could with people that align with him and/or owe him favors.

As a side note every session for some reason a slew of bills gets introduced to stick it to the liberal cities. For example Austin passed a ban on disposable bags before the last legislative session, so a North Texas rep was just forced by his love of freedom to introduce The Shopping Bag Freedom Act .

Omi-Polari posted:

One little fact about the Texas legislature is that it's actually quite bipartisan in how it's governed. Democrats regularly lead committees despite being a marginal force electorally, and are even over-represented on those committees. Right now there are six (I think, possibly seven) Senate committee chairmanships held by Democrats despite there being only 12 Democrats in the entire Senate (31 senators total).

This kind of power-sharing is of course done to mollify and neutralize Democratic opposition to Republican policies. But the other thing it does is to keep these Democrats fat and happy in a small number of safe urban and border districts. So the party is really dominated by these somewhat corrupt and comfortable politicos, and they end up serving as an impediment to building the sort of state-wide organization that can challenge Republican hegemony.

Well, it WAS quite bipartisan. Dan Patrick beat Dewhurst in the primary partly by attacking Dewhurst for appointing Democrats to committee chairs. I expect to see the practice not return for the next legislative session.

Shifty Pony fucked around with this message at Jun 18, 2014 around 03:31

Omi-Polari
Oct 4, 2012


Also, if anyone's interested in a new Austin-based state-wide website on LGBT politics in Texas, check this out. I think it just started.

http://www.lonestarq.com/

The editor is John Wright, the former editor of the Dallas Voice who got sacked by the publisher after pissing off the Dallas Tavern Guild (a gay bar/nightclub business association) after the guild took umbrage over his critical coverage of the pride parade enforcing more restrictive dress codes. The Tavern Guild sponsors the parade, and also heavily advertises in the Voice. (I'm biased, but the Voice started sucking big time after they fired him.)

Accretionist
Nov 7, 2012


Omi-Polari posted:

...So the party is really dominated by these somewhat corrupt and comfortable politicos, and they end up serving as an impediment to building the sort of state-wide organization that can challenge Republican hegemony.

Think local politics are amenable to an attack from the left? Socialist Alternative indicates they have a new branch in Austin. Juicing them up with money and volunteers could help light a fire under the Democrats. It would also mean juicing up Texan Socialists. Win-win!

computer parts
Nov 18, 2010

A homeless person was out on the street, looked up at me and said, "Draft Manziel." Just like that.

And that convinced me, that the Cleveland Browns' fans wanted Manziel.

Accretionist posted:

Think local politics are amenable to an attack from the left? Socialist Alternative indicates they have a new branch in Austin. Juicing them up with money and volunteers could help light a fire under the Democrats. It would also mean juicing up Texan Socialists. Win-win!

You would probably have better luck if you actually galvanized the Hispanics in the Valley, even if you had them go to your Socialists rather than Democrats.

Omi-Polari
Oct 4, 2012


Accretionist posted:

Think local politics are amenable to an attack from the left? Socialist Alternative indicates they have a new branch in Austin. Juicing them up with money and volunteers could help light a fire under the Democrats. It would also mean juicing up Texan Socialists. Win-win!
A revolutionary Trotskyist club in Austin might be able to get someone elected on the Austin city council someday with the new single-member districts, but as a means for rebuilding a state-wide progressive movement? Count me skeptical.

ReidRansom
Oct 25, 2004


Shifty Pony posted:

Legislature stuff

In addition to this, for those of you who don't know, the salary for a legislator in Texas is $7400/yr (+ a small per diem while is session) despite becoming an increasingly full time job. This means of course that pretty much only the wealthy can afford to do the job. Or people for whom legislating is their job, in which case they do so on behalf of their clients rather than their consituents. The pay is written into the constitution and has to be raised by the voters, something they have failed to do since 1974 despite the issue having come up several times.

Zwabu
Aug 7, 2006



What percentage of Hispanic Texans are registered to vote, and vote? And how does this break down between the different cities and regions? Anyone know?

SirKibbles
Feb 27, 2011

MY POLITICAL OPINIONS AND ICE-BURNS MAY SEEM OVERSIMPLIFIED AND CHILDISH DUE TO MY BROKEN RETARD GRAMMAR BUT DON'T WORRY THEY'RE COMPLETELY IDIOTIC JUVENILIA TO BEGIN WITH

Omi-Polari posted:

A revolutionary Trotskyist club in Austin might be able to get someone elected on the Austin city council someday with the new single-member districts, but as a means for rebuilding a state-wide progressive movement? Count me skeptical.

Right Socialists don't need to be near the ballot right now, doing unionization stuff and fighting for workers rights and wages is doing far more and gives them something to run on later.

ReidRansom posted:

In addition to this, for those of you who don't know, the salary for a legislator in Texas is $7400/yr (+ a small per diem while is session) despite becoming an increasingly full time job. This means of course that pretty much only the wealthy can afford to do the job. Or people for whom legislating is their job, in which case they do so on behalf of their clients rather than their consituents. The pay is written into the constitution and has to be raised by the voters, something they have failed to do since 1974 despite the issue having come up several times.

No one is going to give a pay raise to anyone in Texas it's like pulling teeth. Also I wonder if Julian Castro is aiming for VP? San Antonio seems to be doing ok as far as I can tell from staying here maybe he can use that.

SirKibbles fucked around with this message at Jun 18, 2014 around 04:08

HorseRenoir
Dec 25, 2011

LET'S BE STUPID FOREVER



Zwabu posted:

What percentage of Hispanic Texans are registered to vote, and vote? And how does this break down between the different cities and regions? Anyone know?

A big problem is that most registered Hispanics in Texans don't actually vote. I don't know what percent is actually registered, but only 39% of eligible Hispanics in Texas actually voted in 2012.

Zwabu
Aug 7, 2006



SirKibbles posted:

I wonder if Julian Castro is aiming for VP? San Antonio seems to be doing ok as far as I can tell from staying here maybe he can use that.

The HUD appointment pretty much has to be to bolster Castro's political profile and resume from "appealing mayor of a city that is second or third tier in size", aside from him possibly being really good for the post.

From there he can either run for statewide office in Texas, or elsewhere, or perhaps angle straight for a national ticket spot as a VP candidate and bypass the problematic issue of trying to win statewide in Texas as a Democrat.

HorseRenoir posted:

A big problem is that most registered Hispanics in Texans don't actually vote. I don't know what percent is actually registered, but only 39% of eligible Hispanics in Texas actually voted in 2012.

So what would it take to awaken the sleeping El Paso giant? A well run and well supported Julian Castro Senate or Governor run?

Number_6
Jul 23, 2006

BAN ALL GAS GUZZLERS

(except for mine)


Xarthor posted:


Republican Governor Rick Perry (a.k.a. Governor Good Hair, a.k.a Crotch)


After 8 exciting years and one failed presidential run, Rick Perry has decided not to seek another term.

A tiny correction to this statement about Perry; he became Governor of Texas in December 2000, due to Bush movin' on up to the White House after winning* the 2000 presidential election. So Perry has actually been Governor for more than 13 years, not 8 years.

Omi-Polari
Oct 4, 2012


Zwabu posted:

So what would it take to awaken the sleeping El Paso giant? A well run and well supported Julian Castro Senate or Governor run?
It's not one thing, it's lots of things. Hispanics in Texas, like in a lot of other places, tend to be concentrated in non-competitive districts, which tends to lower turnout. They tend to be younger, so less likely to vote.

If you look at the population percentage, you'll think, hell that's a lot of Hispanics. But a big chunk of that number are below voting age or they're in their twenties. There's obviously stuff like low voter registration that's a problem. And then there's the fact that the Texas Democratic Party doesn't give anyone very good reasons to vote for them -- they don't have much of an identity. The Texas GOP has also been more adept than other state GOPs at attracting Hispanic voters, which cuts into the Democrats' base. Not a lot. But enough that it matters.

So I think it's partly time, partly the Democrats having their work cut out for them, and partly what the GOP does in the future. The GOP looks like it's moving away in this election from the more moderate Bush and Perry approach, and is going totally hard-line on immigration. But Wendy Davis is such a waxwork that I think -- for the Republicans -- this will be a successful strategy for the immediately foreseeable future.

The real question is about whether Texas will become competitive. My feeling is that it will naturally become more competitive, but whether it will become actually more competitive depends on other factors. It's not inevitable. But I think Texas needs to become competitive. I'm an independent and have no loyalties to either party, but in general I think power-sharing and a strong two-party system is the least bad of all the other possibilities.

Omi-Polari fucked around with this message at Jun 18, 2014 around 06:03

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Swan Oat
Oct 9, 2012

And he did not FREE JONATHAN POLLARD

... for his heart had been hardened.

Texas on the Brink is a report put out by the Texas Legislative Study Group, a caucus in the state legislature that appears to be primarily or entirely (probably entirely but I am not googling every name; all the ones I googled were Democrats) that shows the various ways in which Texas is hosed. Spoiler: it's a bunch!

Our Department of Transportation is so underbudget that it has converted some portions of our roads to gravel to save on maintenance fees, and I have heard that roads in areas with a lot of fracking are in absolutely terrible condition due to vehicle damage from heavy trucks. Anecdotally, living in Houston, I can say that while our highways are generally well maintained, with one notable exception, the surface streets are in pretty bad condition.

TXDoT's prime/only solution to increasing traffic problems throughout the state seem to be "build more roads" even though this doesn't work. For comparison's sake, noted progressive utopia Moscow -- the Russian one -- is attempting to solve it's horrendous traffic issue by massively expanding the metro, the bus system, and commuter rail, while plans for congestion pricing and other means of discouraging car travel are on the table. Good job Texas!

I know that John Culberson has hosed with plans to expand mass transit in Houston but I don't remember any of the details. I think he has blocked federal funding several times?

In good news, Houston recently passed a non-discrimination ordinance that applies to LGBT people

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