A Houston voter checked in with poll workers for the primary runoff election July 14. Credit: Michael Stravato for The Texas Tribune
During a pandemic, an economic recession and public protests against racial injustice and police violence, it’s hard to say what Texas voters will be thinking about in this year’s election. Here’s a candidate: Reopening schools.
Now that the first official estimate of the coronavirus' effect on the Texas economy is out, the hard work starts. Legislators have to figure out which parts of the state budget to cut and which parts to keep.
The governor would face real competition if he were on the ballot this year — even in a Republican Party primary. His response to the pandemic has opened him to political attacks from the left and the right alike.
While Gov. Greg Abbott has been responding to the twin crises on his plate, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s been stirring the pot — at the governor’s expense.
When Texas stores closed and social distancing began at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, sales naturally dropped. So did sales taxes, and local and state government revenues. But not everywhere, it turns out.
The protests of the last week are about an affliction that's bigger than the pandemic — and important enough for people to forget about social distancing.
Gov. Greg Abbott has avoided the president's militaristic tenor and has expressed empathy with nonviolent demonstrators protesting George Floyd's death. But the conversations about what's next haven't started.
If you were looking for voting-by-mail advice from the Texas Supreme Court, you're out of luck. The court ruled that the pandemic is no reason to expand voting by mail, but also that election officials don't have to check voter claims of disability.
The partisan differences about voting by mail in Texas — Democrats want to expand it, Republicans believe it’s insecure — were in place long before COVID-19 came along. But the pandemic has escalated the debate.
State and local governments are at odds over what should and should not be allowed during a pandemic — a debate over health, economics and civil liberties. The old sparring partners have increasingly appealed to a referee: the courts.