Let's begin with something other than the latest broken news.
Texas has not voted for a Democratic president for 44 years. However, Democrats have a real chance to win in 2020.— Plural Vote 📊🗳📈 (@plural_vote) June 30, 2020
Data shows that Texas is 9.2 points more Democratic than in 2016. Biden is now narrowly leading and is favored to win the state. #ElectionTwitter #VoteTexas pic.twitter.com/hdZdiI1O6U
Tellingly, of 18 Texas polls in the RealClearPolitics database matching Biden against Trump dating back to early last year, Trump has never led by more than seven points -- in a state he won by nine in 2016. It seems reasonable to assume that Trump is going to do worse in Texas than four years ago, particularly if his currently gloomy numbers in national surveys and state-level polls elsewhere do not improve.
In an average of the most recent polls, Trump leads by two points in Texas. In 2018, Sen. Ted Cruz won re-election over then-Rep. Beto O’Rourke by 2.6 points. If Trump were to win Texas by a similar margin this November, the congressional district-level results probably would look a lot like the Cruz-O’Rourke race. Those results are shown in Map 1 (see larger version at original link).
Cruz carried 18 districts to O’Rourke’s 16. That includes the 11 districts the Democrats already held in Texas going into the 2018 election, as well as the two additional ones where they beat GOP incumbents (TX-7 and TX-32) and three additional districts that Republicans still hold. Those are TX-23, an open swing seat stretching from San Antonio to El Paso; Rep. Michael McCaul’s TX-10, an Austin-to-Houston seat; and TX-24, another open seat in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.
TX-23 is competitive primarily because it’s two-thirds Hispanic, and it already leans to the Democrats in our ratings. TX-10 and TX-24 better fit the suburban mold: both have significantly higher levels of four-year college attainment than the national average (particularly TX-24), and Republican incumbents in both seats nearly lost to unheralded Democratic challengers in 2018.
Cruz won the remaining districts, but several of them were close: TX-2, TX-3, TX-6, TX-21, TX-22, TX-25, and TX-31 all voted for Cruz by margins ranging from 0.1 points (TX-21) to 5.1 (TX-25). These districts all have at least average and often significantly higher-than-average levels of four-year college attainment, and they all are racially diverse.
In other words, these districts share some characteristics of those that have moved toward the Democrats recently, even though they remain right of center.
This is all a long preamble to an alarming possibility for Republicans: If Biden were to actually carry Texas, he might carry many or even all of these districts in the process. In a time when ticket-splitting is less common than in previous eras of American politics (though hardly extinct), that could exert some real pressure on Republicans in these districts.
We already have several of these districts included in our House ratings (see Table 2 at original). But we are moving four additional ones from Safe Republican to Likely Republican: Reps. Dan Crenshaw (TX-2), Van Taylor (TX-3), Ron Wright (TX-6), and Roger Williams (TX-25). They join Rep. John Carter (TX-31) in the Likely Republican category.
To be clear, we don’t really see any of them in immediate danger, and they certainly can and probably will run ahead of Trump in their districts, just like they all ran ahead of Cruz in 2018 (they also likely will have the kind of resource edges that can help make this happen). The same can be said of Sen. John Cornyn at the statewide level, who appears to be doing better than Trump in polls (although that may not last in the end).
Trump’s Texas sag in 2016 didn’t immediately imperil any Texas Republican U.S. House members, except for retiring Rep. Will Hurd in the perpetually swingy TX-23; it took the 2018 midterm, when Trump’s unpopularity led to big House losses for Republicans, to make many of these districts much more competitive. So it’s possible that Biden could do really well, but not have strong enough coattails in these and other similar kinds of districts. We also still like Trump’s chances in Texas, despite the close polls.
However, if that changes -- and if Biden wins the state without much ticket-splitting -- there could be some unpleasant surprises down the ballot for Republicans in Texas. That could also include control of the Texas state House of Representatives, which might be in play if things get bad enough for Republicans this November.
Redistricting looms for 2021; at the very least, Republicans who currently control state government in Texas may have to dramatically re-draw the map to shore up incumbents whose safe seats have eroded over the course of the decade while also accommodating a few new House seats because of Texas’ explosive growth. For Republicans, their gerrymander after the last census (albeit blunted a little by judicial intervention) made practical political sense, but demographic changes and coalition shifts pushed 20 of the 36 districts to vote more Democratic than the state in the 2018 Senate race.
Yesterday, the mayor said he would prefer the convention be held virtually but did not want to “politicize” things by canceling it. He changed his #COVID19 executive order Monday to remove his own authority to nix the event: https://t.co/EYLSe0u6i2 #txlege https://t.co/ara9mEew4n— Jasper Scherer (@jaspscherer) July 3, 2020
Dan Patrick on models of the solar system— Retro Snacking (@Retrosnacking) July 3, 2020
“No thanks, Galileo! He doesn’t know what he is talking about. The sun at the center of the solar system,Ha! He’s been wrong every time on every issue. I don’t need his advice!”
A criminal complaint was filed against Cecily Aguilar on Thursday, charging her with one count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence, according to a press release sent by the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Texas. #VanessaGuillenhttps://t.co/gIJoH74A0i— Fitz (@Ladybugs702) July 3, 2020
Texas oil industry faces prospect of collapse amid Covid-19 losses https://t.co/0lR00H5UEt— Guardian US (@GuardianUS) June 26, 2020
If it weren't for government handouts, friends like Ted Cruz shielding them from "harmful legislation" and assorted other favors, it might be time to nationalize the industry and then tax it until it is small enough to drown in a bathtub. But it's hard to get a true picture of the value of these companies. They could be so overvalued and poorly managed it might not be worth it to the taxpayers.
"On March 1, 2016, McClendon was indicted on a charge of conspiring to rig bids on energy leases in Oklahoma. McClendon died the following day, the single occupant in his Chevrolet Tahoe that smashed into a concrete viaduct at nearly 90 mph." https://t.co/Eyb88gtsf9— JimmyShelter (@shelter_jimmy) June 28, 2020
Sharon Wilson at Earthworks follows up on Total's plans to frack Arlington, Downwinders at Risk identifies Dallas' air monitoring policy as 'CYA', Big D activists want the city to move 'Shingle Mountain', and Texas Environmental News, the very best aggregator for this topic, brings word of the United Steelworkers' lawsuit against the EPA.
The United Steelworkers, the largest U.S. industrial union, filed a suit in federal court to reverse the weakening of a safety rule implemented during the Obama administration. The Chemical Disaster Rule aimed to reduce risks and improve safety at chemical plants.
The Chemical Disaster Rule set stricter requirements in place for chemical plants. The measure followed an explosion in 2013 in a West, Texas fertilizer plant that killed 15 people, including 12 firefighters. The blast injured many more and damaged more than 500 homes.
In January 2017, before President Donald Trump assumed office, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced several changes to risk management plans companies submit to the EPA. These included requiring more analysis of a company's safety technology, more third-party audits, incident investigation analyses and stricter emergency preparedness mandates.
After President Trump took office, a coalition of chemical and energy industry groups, including the American Chemistry Council and American Petroleum Institute, submitted a petition to the EPA to delay and reconsider the Obama-era amendments.
The new rule, finalized in November 2019, eased requirements that chemical plant owners consider safer alternatives to various technologies, obtain third-party audits to verify compliance with accident prevention rules, conduct root cause analyses following incidents, and disclose certain information to communities about their operations. The new rule also delayed the dates of implementation of provisions on coordination with local emergency services and emergency situation exercises.
The new rule comes two years after the EPA sought to suspend the rule. In March 2018, a federal judge reinstated the rule.
At least five members of the choir and orchestra at the Dallas megachurch visited by Vice President Mike Pence this weekend tested positive for the coronavirus in June, @BuzzFeedNews found. https://t.co/S6Wrg2aRnE— Texas Observer (@TexasObserver) July 3, 2020
This story became news after her Tweets went *ahem* viral.
These are places in Houston with confirmed positive COVID staff members who have been closed down. I'm posting other city's in Texas with the link that I found in this thread pic.twitter.com/ekY3sdMQ3u— liquor bae bev (@theroyalbadness) June 24, 2020
Just before George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis, Houston police shot and killed six people in five weeks. https://t.co/DC0pdfgcsE— Texas Standard (@TexasStandard) June 29, 2020
Texas' anti-riot act snared a trio of women who said they were peaceful protesters of the police brutality suffered by the late #GeorgeFloyd. Then, the women sued. @MilesMoffeit on @TexasStandard https://t.co/YepnlH7psm— Dianne Solis (@disolis) July 2, 2020
We're about to close out a very busy week and head into a long weekend, with the realization that many Americans do not celebrate it in the same way as Anglos, and with few places to go without risk of contracting the plague.
Some say removing Confederate markers and memorials are an attempt to erase history.— Texas Standard (@TexasStandard) July 1, 2020
But, as our commentator @WFStrong notes, many of those monuments themselves try to erase history: https://t.co/An8iP4yv4P
"To be Latino is to constantly try to make sense of the contradictions flowing in our bloodlines, following centuries of mixing and the legacy [that] relegated black and indigenous bodies to the lowest rungs of society." Great article by @catrcardenas. https://t.co/1CsjM5gkhs— José R. Ralat (@TacoTrail) June 29, 2020
Allen Young in The Rag Blog remembers an image from his childhood -- an obscure moment from 1951 at the United Nations -- that underscores the long US history of racial injustice.
Rudolfo Anaya, ‘godfather’ of Chicano literature, dies at 82 https://t.co/CepISeALyR— Laredo Morning Times (@lmtnews) June 30, 2020
And finally ... beaches on Galveston Island are closed this holiday weekend, so read about a time when you would have also feared for your life if you went there.