MON brief 11.8.21
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The FIFTH CIRCUIT gave Greg Abbott a short-term political bailout over the weekend.
The ruling to stay Biden’s vaccine mandate should release some pressure to call an immediate fourth special session. It does not, however, change the underlying political dynamic.
This is the outcome for which Governor Abbott was almost certainly hoping and praying. It buys him time. His pollsters are likely (very) busy.
Like other common-sense policy discussions (i.e., trustworthy elections), bodily autonomy is currently being labeled a culture war fight. That distinction is not remarkably accurate, though it provides emotional comfort to those who make it in an attempt to trivialize the implications of the fight’s outcome.
SB 8, meanwhile, remains unsigned. This bill represents a political Sophie’s choice for Abbott. If he signs the bill, Biden’s executive orders become backed by state statute. However, if he vetoes the bill, he has to call a special session sooner rather than later.
DON HUFFINES has busted a state agency for promoting critical race theory.
This is very similar to last month’s controversy over transgender lunacy in state government. In both cases, bureaucracies where Greg Abbott appoints the senior leadership has promoted policies at the furthest left edge of the ideological spectrum.
Bureaucracies frequently operate within the unstated desires of the executive. Think Lois Lerner’s IRS during the Obama years. Just because there isn’t a smoking gun doesn’t mean there isn’t ‘wink and nod’ approval.
Greg Abbott would never say he “supports” critical race theory or transgender lunacy, and it’s plausible he was oblivious to these actions by Texas’ state-level bureaucracies, but it’s impossible to know.
Knowing if it’s malice or negligence isn’t the issue as neither is acceptable.
SOUTH TEXAS continues to produce noteworthy political developments, including three in the past week.
For starters, Senator Eddie Lucio has chosen not to run for re-election. Known for being one of the most socially conservative Democrats, Lucio also had a pro-crony capitalism streak. Lucio skillfully leveraged the former, in exchange for the latter, in Dan Patrick’s Senate.
It’s difficult to know what to make of Lucio’s decision. It’s consistent with the “Democrats weak in South Texas” narrative. While he might not want a fight, as one paper suggested, Lucio’s social conservatism ought to have positioned him firmly within the district. Still, at 75 years old, maybe he’s just sick of the hours.
Partially overlapping with Lucio’s Senate district is Texas house district 29, currently occupied by Democrat Ryan Guillen. Texas Scorecard has an extended discussion of Republican efforts to flip the seat. Regardless of whether such efforts are ultimately successful, it is revealing for them to be taking place at all.
Finally, the Texas Tribune’s most recent poll finds Joe Biden 41 points underwater on border security/immigration. While the Trib doesn’t break down its poll results by region, those numbers can’t mean anything good for Biden’s party in the area most directly impacted by Biden’s policies.
If the second round of allegations against Paxton were going to move the needle, they would have done so by now. This line of attack suggests Bush’s private polling isn’t much better than public polls.
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