Texas

Wait, Can the Democrats Take Texas in 2012?
March 08, 2012

Political observers know that Republicans tend to perform poorly with Latino voters, but even they might have been surprised by a recent poll showing that, among Latinos, Barack Obama would beat Mitt Romney 70-14. Numbers like that are making Democrats more and more optimistic that they’ll be able to consolidate recent gains in Colorado and maybe even turn Arizona blue. But while flipping Arizona would certainly be a major coup for Democrats, it’s not the biggest prize: That honor belongs to solidly-red Texas, with its huge Latino population and its 38 electoral votes.

Does Romney Have a 'Southern Problem'?
March 07, 2012

After just barely pulling out a win in Ohio, Mitt Romney has “won Super Tuesday” by most media accounts. But even with his successes (wins in Virginia, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Idaho, and a decent shot in Alaska), you’ll likely hear some people echo a recent claim by Newt Gingrich: that Romney can’t be confident of the nomination if he can’t win anywhere in the South. This concern didn’t suddenly present itself: Mitt’s first real stumble in the race, of course, was in South Carolina, where he got righteously stomped by Newt.

Mission Impossible
February 23, 2012

In late January, on the eve of the Florida primary, Bettina Inclán, the 32-year-old head of Hispanic outreach for the Republican National Committee (RNC), appeared on Fox News opposite progressive activist Simon Rosenberg to discuss the Latino vote. To say that the deck was stacked against Inclán in this fight would be an understatement. Over the past year, the major Republican candidates have gone out of their way to make anti-immigrant sentiment a centerpiece of their campaigns.

Quarantined
February 08, 2012

Some months ago, I phoned my 84-year-old grandmother on a quiet Saturday afternoon after enduring a torrent of pleading from my father. I hadn’t spoken to her in two or three years, and she was lonely, he said.

The Promiscuity Of the Very Rich
February 01, 2012

Sorry, Florida, but the biggest political news Tuesday was not Mitt Romney’s predictable win after his carpet-bombing of Newt Gingrich, but the long-awaited release of the financial disclosures for the Super-PACs that, courtesy of the Roberts Court, will utterly dominate the 2012 campaign. As Dan Eggen and Tim Farnam lay out in today’s Washington Post, Barack Obama’s record-breaking small-donor machine will be sorely tested by the big-dollar Republican donors who, liberated by Citizens United and other rulings, are giving in truly eye-popping sums.

The Rude Welcome That Awaits Rick Perry Back in Texas
January 21, 2012

Rick Perry’s departure from the Republican presidential primary was, by any standard, the result of a walloping. Simply put, he was terrible at running for president. In fact, I probably owe the readers of TNR a mea culpa. Back in September, I wrote that Rick Perry probably wouldn’t be a catastrophic debater. Sorry, guys. Perhaps I didn’t consider just how much the local view of Perry—I’ve been following Perry from Austin for years—would fail to translate to the wider, and in some ways stranger, landscape of national politics.

Is Lone Star Money Cursed In Politics?
January 19, 2012

God knows Rick Perry was his own worst enemy as a presidential candidate--always spoiling for a fight but never mentally agile enough to win one. But Perry entered the race with one substantial asset: He was really good at raising money. Perry had reportedly raised more than $100 million in campaign contributions since he entered the Texas governor's mansion in 2001. Paul Begala estimates that Perry ended up spending at least $1,477 for every vote he received in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The Perry-Newt Nexus
January 19, 2012

I don't have much in the way of a grand valedictory for Rick Perry as he returns to Austin to prepare for Texas' coming war with Turkey. I already penned (Romney word!) my Perry farewell out in Iowa, when the aura of defeat was all over him. But I will offer a thought on Perry's decision to throw his parting endorsement Newt Gingrich's way.

What Will Rick Perry's Homecoming Mean?
January 19, 2012

It’s all over, folks. Rick Perry, who so confidently muscled his way into the GOP frontrunners’ pack this summer, is bowing out. But while Perry’s overhyped, underperforming presidential campaign may be over, his third term as Texas governor doesn’t end until 2014. What can we expect when Perry returns to Austin? A study of Perry’s past budget maneuvers provides some insight. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Texas is in the midst of a $9 billion shortfall for its current two-year budget period—only slightly less than the state’s projected shortfall in 2004/2005.

Reports of the Religious Right's Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
January 19, 2012

The political fumbling by Christian conservatives has been even worse this presidential cycle than it was in 2008, when their blood-enemy, John McCain, won the top spot on the Republican ticket. The Christian Right’s fatal failure this time was its inability to form a consensus behind a single candidate. Last weekend’s Texas conclave of religious conservatives, engineered by Family Research Center president and Christian Right warhorse Tony Perkins, initially appeared to have generated a united front behind Rick Santorum.

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