Sure, this is establishment Democrat Joaquin Castro regurgitating something from the Democratic party on social media. And sure, politics means never backing yourself into a corner. But, like Donald Trump, can Governor Greg Abbott really not unequivocally repudiate even the most obviously racist group?
CNN: Greg Abbott "doesn't know" if Republicans should disavow KKK support – YouTube https://t.co/NaD7ZrcN3v
— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) March 1, 2016
The Reckoning — It’s all happening, y’all! Will Donald Trump, the most symbolic representation ever of our clown car of a political system sweep the primaries, or will our own senator manage to pull away with a win on Super Tuesday? Just about every major Texas paper is running with the idea that Ted Cruz must win his home state, but the between-the-lines reading is that “must” = “might not.” As the Austin American-Statesman writes, Cruz has been “barnstorming” across the state with his all-star team of Texas heavyweights (the Houston Chronicle called them the “big guns”), i.e. Governor Greg Abbott and Rick Perry. Despite all of his politicking, the Statesman points to Cruz’s third-rate wins in the previous primaries and caucuses, and it appears that even Cruz isn’t exactly confident. “We are running neck and neck with Donald Trump in Super Tuesday states all across the country,” said Cruz. Or, as one Austin lobbyist (unnamed, of course) said, “He’s hanging on for dear life.” The number of voters who turn out for Super Tuesday has no easy answer either, particularly since the (again, completely unnecessary) voter ID law is in effect. Turns out, “a federal court in Texas found that 608,470 registered voters don’t have the voter IDs that the state now requires for voting,” according to the Washington Post. What’s three percent of citizens who want to exercise their right? But hey, if you can vote and actually want to participate in the circus, KXAN has a readers’ digest on how to do it.
Plan C — And just after Super Tuesday, there’s, um, Trouble Wednesday at the U.S. Supreme Court (the Ides of March really can’t come soon enough). “On Wednesday, a suddenly short-staffed Supreme Court will hear the most significant challenge in a generation to the ever-rising number of state abortion restrictions. Clinics in Texas, a dwindling breed under the 2013 law, are fighting requirements that doctors must have admitting privileges at local hospitals and clinics must meet the same operating standards as surgical centers,” writes USA Today in its easy-to-understand preview of the abortion debate that’s pretty much taken over Texas politics in the past couple of years. As if things weren’t tense enough with the debate over a women’s right to choose, and, like, have access to that choice, CNN just did a story could make anyone wince. “I’m an abortion travel agent’ and other tales from Texas’ new desert,” screams the headline. The stories of the women in need paint the realities that politicians hate dealing with, and as the piece notes, the direct truth from said agent, Natalie St. Clair, “is blunt, bold and a sign of the times.” The job was created, of course, after HB2 shut down access (or made the rules more strict for the “safety” of the women, if you wanna go that way) across the state. “Working out of an office in Austin, St. Clair often wires women gas money … books flights, taxis, bus tickets and hotel rooms. She regularly studies Greyhound routes and bookmarks airline schedules. Once she drove 3½ hours one-way to hand deliver last-minute financial help.” It’s a long and fascinating, albeit sad look, at the state of things in Texas just as SCOTUS-minus-one begins considering the case.
Immovable Object/Unstoppable Force — Texas has been fighting the federal government, specifically the EPA, for so long at this point that it really deserves its own collection of folk songs. Regardless, the unstoppable attorney general’s office once again runs up against the immoveable federal government. “Texas is suing the agency for rejecting parts of a seven-year-old state proposal to reduce haze in wilderness areas,” writes the Texas Tribune. “The EPA rejected portions of the plan in January, citing concerns that it did not adequately address requirements of the agency’s Regional Haze Rule, which regulates the air in natural areas in Texas and Oklahoma.” All the usual suspects are involved, including the Sierra Club, which, of course, objected to the lawsuit. At least it took Texas two whole months to file its first lawsuit against the EPA this year?
Welcome Back — The Austin-based State District Judge Julie Kocurek returned with some fanfare, “nearly four months after an assassination attempt in the driveway of her Tarrytown home that seriously wounded her,” writes the Statesman and KVUE. The shooting attack left her in the hospital for almost two months. “Kocurek’s return will be her first public appearance at the courthouse since the Nov. 6 attack … Kocurek had said within days of the shooting that she planned to return to the bench, and hers is the only name on the ballot for a new term in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. It is unclear whether Kocurek, who has declined interview requests, plans to comment publicly about the attack.” The attack is still under investigation, and the man suspected in the shooting—with ties to a Nigerian drug ring—has yet to be formally charged.