We focus on winning elections, and a lot of times, it feels more like team sports or a fight based on abstract principles. But these races matter — just look at what’s happening in Wisconsin, New Mexico, and several other newly blue (or purple) states.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers unveiled his first budget and it did not disappoint. It’s loaded with progressive priorities, from a raised minimum wage and increased public school funding to automatic voter registration and nonpartisan redistricting reform. It would also fully expand Medicaid, decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, freeze school vouchers, and undo Scott Walker’s signature Right to Work For Less law, which nearly caused the lifelong government succubus to be recalled during his first term.
Even though Democrats won a vast majority of votes in November, the GOP’s egregious gerrymander helped the party keep control of the state legislature, which means that this ambitious budget will have to be scaled back. Republicans have vowed to ignore the funding levels and begin working from their paltry austerity budgets of the past few years, but Evers has laid down some bold markers, and there’s a lot he can do without GOP support.
Fully expanding Medicaid is particularly notable, because Scott Walker refused to do so for six years out of sheer malignant principle. He slightly expanded eligibility, but refused to take it to the point at which the state (and working people) would get hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government. That’s what we call being a spiteful jerk.
A country has no greater responsibility than protecting and nurturing its children. In America, students are now going to school expecting the worst. In an interview seen around the world, a 17-year-old Santa Fe student named Paige Curry bluntly told a TV reporter that, because “it’s happening everywhere,” she just “kind of felt like eventually it was going to happen here, too.”
Who can blame her? Especially in Texas. It’s an open carry state, which means people can openly possess guns just about anywhere. And instead of rethinking that barbaric law and working hard to protect children, Texas lawmakers are… blaming doors and pushing their own agendas.
Dig deep enough — or even just take a cursory glance — and you’ll find a plethora of insane lawmakers in Texas. They’ve become comfortable and complacent, unbothered in many places by more than cursory Democratic opposition, and so the Texas GOP has been able to slide to the extreme right on issues like guns. One of the most unhinged, dangerous Republicans in the state legislature is Jonathan Stickland, who represents district 92 in suburban Fort Worth.
He’s pushed for state constitutional amendments that would make carrying firearms an absolute right, which would, in turn, eliminate the state’s (already laughable) gun license requirements. He’s also a terrible person who has voted against employment discrimination laws and advocated for anti-trans bathroom bills, so rest assured we’re not targeting an otherwise productive and responsible government official. In fact, if you need any more evidence, check out this tweet that uses the Santa Fe tragedy to push his awful school voucher ideas.
Hearing from many parents they’re scared to send their kids to school. We need to give them as many different choices as possible. #txlege
Stickland’s opponent is a businessman and education advocate named Steve Riddell. Yes, another white guy, but one who wants to invest in alternative energy, create a more humane immigration system, and yes, focus on gun control measures. He’d be a far better (and more sane) member of the legislature, so he has our support.
In a quote heard round the country, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick said that high schools have too many entrances, which he thinks allow shooters to bypass security guards at schools (as if armed security guards at schools isn’t dystopian enough). He wants to redesign 8000 campuses in Texas, making them slaughterhouses and horrible fire hazards, instead of taking action on guns.
If you check out his website, you’ll understand that this wasn’t just a bone-headed comment; he’s absolutely obsessed with the proliferation of personal weapons of mass destruction. He touts his “A” rating from the NRA and offers a long list of insane gun bills that he either authored or sponsored, including laws that eliminated the educational requirements to renew gun licenses. He also continually fought to allow the concealed carriage of guns on college campuses.
Patrick is insane — and up for re-election this year. His Democratic opponent is a moderate businessman named Mike Collier, who comes recommended by the Dallas Morning News and other outlets. We don’t normally actively financially support former Republicans, but he switched parties back in 2011, when the GOP was hijacked by the Tea Party and went to the far right, so give him credit for that. Plus, he supports public education, asking the wealthy to pay their fair share of taxes (no small thing in Texas), labor unions (again, no small thing in Texas), and a living wage.
Most significantly for us at the moment, in a tweetstorm on Friday, Collier called for emergency action to prevent more mass shootings, including new sensible gun laws. In Texas, that’s enough to earn our endorsement, especially given his opponent.
Beto O’Rourke, the dynamic El Paso congressman running for Senate, was even more active on Twitter in the wake of the shooting. Unlike his cowardly opponent, Senator Ted Cruz, O’Rourke openly called for major reform, including stopping the sale of new assault-style weapons and the banning of high capacity magazines. This is incredibly bold coming from a candidate trying to get elected statewide in Texas, which makes us even more excited about his insurgent candidacy — and glad that we’ve been helping raise money for his campaign for months.
You’ll notice we haven’t touched on Governor Greg Abbott, who is also up for re-election this year. He’s a bad person who has terrible beliefs on gun laws. He just doesn’t have a definite Democratic opponent yet, as the two candidates — Lupe Valdez and Andrew White — will square off in a runoff election on Tuesday. We like Valdez’s positions on many issues, but figure with just two days before the election, it’s better to add the winner and not ask you to invest money in a candidate that may not be able to use it. Check ProgressivesEverywhere.org on Wednesday to see who won!