Texas politics draws national attention
California fancies itself as a trendsetter and Florida prizes its claim as a microcosm of America.But when it comes to politics — both present-day battles and future trends — ground zero right now is the fastest-growing of the mega-states: Texas.
Just consider the data points:
•Texas Republicans now mirror their national counterparts, a party cleaved between conservatives radicalized by President Barack Obama and an establishment wing that alternates between taming the fire-breathers and accommodating them. The powerful House speaker here, Joe Straus, has sought to keep conservatives at bay, killing such made-for-cable-news legislation as bans on TSA groping.
(PHOTOS: Republicans on how to fix the GOP)
•The Republican fear of being “primaried” has infected the Lone Star State at high levels. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the second-ranking Senate Republican, is going to lengths to preempt a primary challenge from the right by sticking close to his colleague, tea party-backed Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has been in the chamber for all of a month. The wise-guy joke going around Austin: Cruz is the only freshman in Congress with two votes.
How inflamed are conservatives looking at four more years of Obama? One longtime Texas congressman even said he expects every GOP member of the delegation to face some kind of primary next year.
(Also on POLITICO: Senators wary of combative Cruz)
•Both through its geography and its political ecosystem, Texas is at the very center of the burgeoning national debate on immigration. Two Republican members of the House delegation, Reps. Sam Johnson and John Carter, have been part of a working group on the issue but Cornyn and Cruz have kept their distance from the bipartisan Senate gang pushing comprehensive reform.
•Texas could be the backdrop for a future Bush family restoration; Republicans here are already talking up 36-year-old George P. Bush, the half-Hispanic son of Jeb Bush, who has raised $1.3 million for a 2014 run for some statewide office to be named later.
•For just sheer enjoyment, Texas has the continuing saga of its seeming governor-for-life, Rick Perry — who recently picked a priceless fight with California Gov. Jerry Brown and who doesn’t swear off another run for his seat or another presidential run.
•And for both parties, Texas is arguably Exhibit A in how demographic forces are shaping electoral destiny.
Democrats here, shut out of statewide office since 1994, are glum about their current prospects but hopeful about a future revival for the same reason the national party is optimistic about their chances of retaining majority status in the coming years: the electorate is changing in their favor.
In Texas and beyond, the Castro twins — one (Julian) mayor of San Antonio and the other (Joaquin) a freshman congressman — are seen as the face of the Democratic future. Hispanics now make up a majority of Texas public school students and estimates are that they’ll comprise over half of the state’s residents in less than 20 years. Texas is already a “majority-minority” state.
...The Castro twin's mother was a leader of the racist La Raza group which would probably become an issue if they sought statewide office. The article also makes the mistake of assuming that Texas Hispanics all gravitate to the Democrats. In fact there are several Hispanic Republican office holders and voters. Democrats have a weak brand in Texas because the liberalism they espouse and the tax and spend policies are seen as not working.