Now What? Sessions: From the 2012 Elections to the 2013 Session

Uploaded by TexasPoliticsProject on 10.12.2012

[ Silence ]
>> We call this session very imaginatively
from the 2012 elections to the 2013 session.
I think of it as, you know,
gossiping with the journalist friends
which is hopefully what we'll get into soon.
For those of you that have not been here for the rest
of the day, this is the third session that we've done
in this setting plus our--
you know, sort of charter session this morning
that Evan started at the Austin Club.
This has been a series of panels co-sponsored
by the Texas Tribune and the Texas Politics Project at UT.
I'm the director of the Texas Politics Project at UT Austin
and I'm very happy to be here with Tim Eaton, on my left,
from the Austin American-Statesman,
Mr. Gromer Jeffers Jr. from the Dallas Morning News
and my friend, colleague and partner in crime,
Ross Ramsey from the Texas Tribune.
Now, I want to jump right into it.
I want to ask you guys just sort of starting really with you Tim.
What's the big story line from the perspective
of your hometown paper now that gives you a lot
of wide latitude, but talk a little about Central Texas
and what the big story coming out of the election is.
>> Yeah, well, you know, lots of big stories, I mean, but really,
one of the more interesting ones or potentially one
of the bigger ones coming down the road is, you know,
may center around what's going on in Round Rock ISD.
You know, they've offered domestic partner benefits
to employees and their partners.
And I think it's the first ISD across the state to do
that which has got a lot of people's feathers ruffled up,
and I think Dan Patrick in particular.
So, you know, this could end up being one of those issues
that we see in the session that becomes, you know,
will come out of nowhere but it could be something
where we see a lot of social conservatives try
to make that illegal.
>> And do you draw any bigger conclusions also
out of other things that happen in the Austin elections, the--
you know, the Prop 1, the--
>> Yeah, that's going to be the big one, really.
And, you know, I was talking to a lot of people ahead of time
and a lot of people were concerned or rather thinking
that it was not going to pass.
They figured, look, we got everybody lined
up in the establishment behind this thing
and we don't have the voters, and it was a lot closer I think
than people thought, but, you know, we'll have to see it.
At this point, you know, I'm starting to hear a lot
of people look at the math and do the numbers and realize,
all right, well, this is what it's going to mean for me
in terms of taxes every year
and they get a little nervous for sure.
>> Gromer, how about the Dallas area?
>> Well, the big race was the senate race Wendy Davis held on
and beat Mark Shelton.
That was an important race for democrats in North Texas
and pretty much for Democrats state wide because if she loses
that race, it's sort of demoralizing.
But it was fascinating to watch.
It was a united front on the democratic side
and she managed to win.
The other big story was that the new Congressional District 33,
that's a democratic district as well,
Mark DC who was here a minute ago.
>> I think he's out cleaning out his office.
>> That's right.
>> That's what he said, yeah.
>> So, he will represent Congress in that new district.
He won't have a lot of time to rest though,
depending on what happens with redistricting.
You might see another battle, a rematch with Domingo Garcia
who vows to sort of bring more Hispanic voters to the table.
I mean, that race was only 1100 votes, so,
depending on the makeup of the district,
we might see another big race in that district in two years.
You know, the state house races, pretty routine,
redistricting sort of resulted in no real interesting contest,
[inaudible] and House District 107.
And Jason Diablo and Will Hartmann's district,
he's retiring, he managed to beat Carol Kemp pretty easily.
What we-- I think we kind
of missed was Linda Harper-Brown struggled in that new district.
As you know, Rodney Anderson was sort of cut out by redistricting
so he had a lot of Grand Prairie that Linda Harper-Brown had
to appeal to-- she didn't really know those voters
and these were the same voters
that put Kirk England in in 2008.
So, that was a close race.
It wasn't expected to be, but when you look back,
it makes sense that it was.
So, we'll see going forward what happens in my area.
We had some retirements.
Send in a couple of new people to House and can pass them
to the Senate to replace Florence Shapiro.
So, it should interesting.
>> You know, I want to follow
up with you just a little bit before we move on to Ross.
That Wendy Davis-- Dr.
Shelton race had a lot--
obviously, kind of the marquee race in the state,
got a lot of attention in Austin.
Can you tell us something from the ground
in the Dallas-Fort Worth area that we didn't see here?
I mean, what can you tell us
about that race that we don't know?
>> Well, you know, I think you saw a real split and we talked
about this with the Republican effort
and the consultants sort of, you know, bickering
and not being on the same page.
I think that hurt the effort
because what you really needed was what the democrats had was
really a united front.
And you didn't see that sort of unity
with Mark Shelton's team, I think.
It's just my opinion, but I don't think that unity was there
and that's why Davis was able to win.
>> It's kind of only your opinion 'cause people don't want
to talk on the record about it, right?
>> Exactly.
>> Well, there was a stolen votes memo that went out.
I mean, you saw this, right?
>> Yeah.
>> There were some number--
a small number of precincts that went overwhelmingly for Davis
and overwhelmingly against Shelton,
and the Shelton campaign was, you know,
whining about it the next day.
I noticed nobody filed an official complaint.
>> Right.
>> They filed a press release kind of whined about it.
>> That's almost official.
>> But, it looks like--
I mean it's kind of what you're talking about.
If those numbers-- you just look at those numbers and you go,
you know, the democrats really had a great get
out the vote routine going in these 8
or 10 wherever the number was of democratic districts.
And it's been described to me anecdotally as they did
and old-fashioned, go knock on their doors and throw them
in the van and take them to the polling place.
>> You're starting to see their efforts from several years ago,
you know, bear fruit, great voter file.
They target voters now better than ever before.
And so in these swing districts particularly
in presidential years, they really have a shot at winning.
And you see it in the guy ago congressional race.
I mean, on new ground, targeting voters,
they know where the democratic votes are
and they're able to turn them up.
Now, if they can just make it work
on a state wide level, one day it will.
But in terms of those end district races,
end-swing districts during presidential years,
it's pretty tough to beat-- at least in North Texas,
tough to be a democrat.
>> It seems to me one of the emerging tales
of this cycle that's percolating
down from the national level is this kind of Sasha Eisenberg,
you know, discussion about the renewal,
the kind of a reinjection of targeting
that has really resulted a reinvigorated ground game
and the importance-- renew the tension to the importance
of getting out the vote and how much more efficient
that's become.
>> And we saw it in the presidential election.
>> Sure--
>> Remember the question, Ground Game versus Enthusiasm?
Well, the reality is an unenthusiastic vote counts just
as much as an enthusiastic vote.
It doesn't matter if you run to the polls
or if someone drags you to the polls, it's a vote.
>> Right, or chains you to the polls.
>> Exactly, yeah.
And so if you have a ground game, chances are,
in a close election, you'll win even add 2, 3, 4 points,
maybe more to your total.
>> And now they could bring us something good.
It's not just, you know, I mean everybody that's worked
in campaigns, those ground game matters except there's new tools
and new approaches to the ground game.
>> Exactly.
>> So Ross, what's your take away in terms of, you know,
your beat as the whole state, so you have.
>> Yeah, there were more suicides than murders.
There were 40.
We get 49 freshmen coming in the Texas legislature,
43 in the House, 6 in the Senate of the 246 elected officials,
the legislature, congressional delegation and the state wides,
only 16 got beat all year.
So, it's kind of a testament to how good redistricting is
and how powerful incumbency is.
But a lot of people dropped out, you know,
either because they saw their fortune in the maps
or they saw something coming or they ran for some higher office.
So, we'll have 43 freshmen in the Texas House.
We have 24 of the 35 who were elected in 2010 coming back.
So, the size of the freshmen and sophomore classes,
the people who are still walking around looking for the bathrooms
and the Coke machines here is going to be 67.
So, that's a really, you know, that's a really big number.
>> How many freshmen the last time?
>> There were 35 and 11 of them aren't coming back.
So, the partisan numbers are roughly the same.
It was 102 republicans and 48 democrats in the current House.
They didn't think they could hold that.
And, privately, when they were drawing the maps, they said,
you know, we had a great year in 2010.
It's going to slide and it turns out the slide is about 7 seats.
Of course, the democrats on the other side, you know,
if you're on the other side of that, you say, you know,
we gained 7 seats, they lost 7 seats.
We've got momentum, you know?
You either shoot at everything that moves
and climb everything that falls, right?
>> Right.
>> So, you know, I think the big story is going
to be all the new names.
And, you know, the partisan mix is about the same.
And then, you know, one of the sub stories--
and we can kind of see this personified in the Speaker
and in the Lieutenant Governors, this national and state story
that there are two republican parties and the sort of,
you know, we got this-- I don't know.
I don't like calling it the Tea Party
because it's not ideologically similar, but they're sort
of populous republicans and the sort
of the old traditional republicans
and we still don't know who is going to win that thing.
You know, Romney was the traditional
republican candidate.
Ted Cruz is an example of the other kind.
I think the lesson that David Dewhurst came out of the primary
with was I need to run to the right.
It doesn't look like Joe Straus is going to run to the right
and I think we'll watch those two and kind of see this
in micro-chasm as the session goes forward.
>> We're also going to welcome Patti Hart to the party.
>> I am so sorry I'm late.
I got my times wrong.
>> Actually you came here at precisely the right moment.
So, we're asking what's the big narrative from the election
in your kind of locality-- sort of we--
Tim talked a little bit about Austin.
Dallas talked a little bit about the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Ross talked about whatever the hell he wanted
and we're now going to go to you.
>> Back in Harris County, we're celebrating the election
of a deceased person, Mario Gallegos which is always great
in Texas politics when that happens.
Before the election, there had been a lot of speculation
that if Wendy Davis failed to retain her seat, that some,
you know, high jinx might happen
and how the governor would call the special election
to replace Senator Gallegos.
Since she held on to her seat, there's less of a motivation
for the-- he could wait a very long time with each step
of the process so that there wasn't another democrat
and the senate was sort of what the conventional wisdom was.
But I'm not sure that will happen.
It won't make that big of a difference
and it certainly wouldn't win him any points in Houston
to have one less senator from Harris County in the senate.
So, that's the big talk and I don't know
if you all just talked on the bigger themes,
but one of the things that caught my eye today was a story
in the New Republic that Rick Perry got the last laugh
because Romney really did fall down in appealing
to Hispanic voters by his aggressive sort of comments
about immigration and the DREAM Act.
And the suggestion was that, you know,
maybe Rick Perry had it right.
I think that's not exactly right.
I think that's given our governor too much credit.
I think he would have liked to have not have signed that bill,
given-- I think that was the Rick Perry of 2001 who was
in favor of the DREAM Act.
Certainly nothing last session made us think
that he was anything about courting Hispanic voters.
So, you know, I think-- I think that's sort of a facile way
of looking at Perry and his approach to immigration.
I do think that this election is when, you know,
the giant Hispanic-- we'll look back on this as the moment
that we've all been waiting for.
When will Hispanics make a big difference in an election?
The question that I have is did anybody
in Texas learn that lesson?
Because I think, you know, that there is going to be, you know,
continued march to the right here in Texas.
I'm not sure that's going to, you know,
do the republican party any favors
in the next election cycle because I think if, you know,
the numbers are true, the exit polls are true, that Romney--
that Obama did get such a big bump from such a large,
you know, unprecedented turnout, then that's going
to happen here in Texas really soon.
And so the republicans ought to start reassessing how they deal
with that voter, you know, voter-- voting block.
The other voting block that I don't want
to not mention is women.
And Kay Bailey Hutchison had some comments
about that this morning with Soledad O'Brien which is
that she feels like her party made the mistake of not sticking
to its economic message that that's as strongest message
that the republican party has that and her words,
if you try to get into what many people consider personal issues,
it's hard to build a party around that,
that's a very centered party or it has center of gravity.
And so she was, you know,
pointing out that her party has some work to do on those issues.
And if you look at the exit polls, there was a gender gap.
We were told there wouldn't be, but I think what I'm hearing is
that 55 percent of women went with--
>> Nationally, yeah.
>> Nationally.
You know, we all know what the narrative of the campaign was
and that just amazing forehead-slapping kind
of goofball comments about rape and abortion.
That's-- I think her message is exactly right.
And she's leaving the state,
she's giving some sage advice to her party.
>> And women made of 54 percent of the overall vote,
so more women voted than men.
>> Right, right.
>> It's like in '08, 10 million more women voted than men.
I don't know what the number was this time around.
>> Well, you helped set something up for us, Patti.
I mean, you're committing panel malpractice now
if you don't do a post election panel without talking
about the Hispanic vote.
Although, you know, I think I'm a little more skeptical
than you are about how it's playing out in Texas and,
you know, it's-- I think the effect is a little bit mixed.
What do you guys think, Tim?
>> Yeah, you know, I think it's going to be really interesting
to see what the republicans do with this, you know?
On one hand, they've got to pay attention to these factions
of the party that got them elected, you know,
the ones that want really strict immigration laws.
And at the same time, I think, a lot of leaders in the party,
I think particularly Steve Munisteri, the State Chair,
you know, wants to, you know, welcome Hispanics in a lot more.
Wants to tone down the language
and make them feel more comfortable.
I don't know how much buy-in he's got.
At last check, David Dewhurst still is opposed
to in state tuition for undocumented immigrants.
You know, I think that's something a lot
of Hispanics maybe take personally, maybe repented by.
But he's sticking to his guns, you know?
There's huge numbers of people in the State House who agree
with them and want to reintroduce these bills.
But at the same time, I guess I see, you know,
moderate republicans sort of cringing a little bit
when these bills get brought up.
>> I wanted to pick up on something Ross said about that
because I think that, you know, when we look
at the division inside the republican party, when you look
at it in terms of polling numbers, when you look at it
at the distinction between the stuff that we've done
in the inside intelligence poll for example, Ross's,
that a bunch of people in this room are probably on,
Ross's survey of people that work in the process
versus our general polling.
And you look at the discussions inside the republican party,
the split is not just a vertical split down the middle
between traditional and moderate republicans or moderate
and more conservative republicans.
It's also a bit of a vertical split too between the base
and a faction of the leadership--
>> Right.
>> That is thinking in the longer term, thinking things
about demographics, thinks strategically but also,
you know, has contention with other people
that are still opportunistic
and understand what's going on in the base.
So, the incentives I think electorally inside the party are
very mixed right now.
What are you going to say Gromer?
>> Well, you can only pay attention
to the election that's in front of you.
And if you look in Texas this year, I mean Dewhurst got mauled
and knifed in the alley by the base of his own party.
And so if you are a candidate in 2014 and you see that
and you see how Rick Perry just, you know,
just devastated Kay Bailey Hutchison who, you know,
many consider a moderate.
Then the motivation is not to look at the national election
and say, well, you know what, we have to look
out for the Hispanic voters coming
and we don't want to get trapped.
No, the motivation will be, well, let them show us.
And until then, we're going to run with what works
and what works in Texas for republicans
so far is running to the right.
>> You know, I think on the morning panel this morning,
Jason Johnson said something very-- was the--
you know, involved in the Cruz campaign.
He said something very interesting.
He basically said, "I think if there's something that comes
out of Ted's campaign, it's that there is going
to be no more anointments in the republican primary."
>> Well, you know, the other thing that's different here is
in national elections you have to go
through a general election, so you got to keep at least a toe
in where moderates can come to your candidacy.
In Texas elections, you don't have
to have a general election unless you're in one of those 4
or 5 or 6 or 7 house districts.
So, in the general election yesterday in Texas,
you have to have about four millions votes to win.
But it didn't really matter to Republicans
because they were all in the 57-56 percent range,
it wasn't really an election.
In the Republican Primary where they had to win in order
to become statewide officials, they only had to win
about 740,000 votes and it's an entirely different electorate,
it's entirely a different set of issues and they can run
in a way-- and they're running in a state where they don't have
to say, "I'm going to run to the right for the primary
but then I'm going to repair that,"
this is where Mitt Romney stumbled some.
>> Right.
>> I'm going to repair that and come back to the middle--
they never have to come back to the middle.
>> There's no repair necessary.
>> So there's-- right, so, you know,
as long as that's the case, despite in the republican party,
it's like rewinding or winding back 40 years and saying, well,
you run in the Democratic primary and then you're done.
>> I think that's a-- I think that's a short-term view.
I think that's going to be--
>> It is.
>> I think that's going to be true for, you know, we keep--
you know, I'm not going to put any money tonight on what--
election cycle I think this will happen but I think
that the story of the national election means
that this is coming here
where Republicans can no longer just worry about their primary.
And you go back, you know, it didn't do George Bush any harm
to reach out to Hispanics.
It really helped somebody who is concerned
about the long-term future of the Republican Party
in Texas is going to need, you know, to make--
take this message that at your peril, do you just assume
that you only have to get those 740,000 votes?
>> But the marker there is that, you know,
that's exactly what Ted Cruz did.
>> Its true.
>> And if George Bush had had somebody running to his right
like David Dewhurst did, I think he would have had problems.
He certainly have problems in this primary, I don't know
if he would have had problems in the '94 primary.
But in this primary, nobody is going to--
nobody is going to lose by going to the right.
>> And Tim you've-- although, Tim,
you've done some reporting suggesting that there are people
in the Republican Party doing exactly what Patti is saying.
It's just-- it's a little bit of an uphill slog.
>> That's right.
And that, you know, a lot of-- it was described to me as,
you know, they were doing it for personal gain.
They weren't thinking about the long-term effects on the party.
And I think peril was the word that kept coming over--
up over and over again in my reporting.
"You're doing this at the peril of your party in the long-term."
But, you know, it's hard I guess if you're that one candidate
who knows what-- you know what you have to say today
to get elected tomorrow.
>> Were those all general election candidates though?
We're they Republicans that only had to win in March?
>> They were Republicans that only had to win in March.
>> So--
>> But I think-- I'm sorry,
but I think if the party officials look at that,
you know, the Steve Munisteris of the world, and they say,
"Look, can we just tone everything down here?"
I mean, we don't have to talk like this.
We can all, you know, plan and even field here and, you know,
let's talk about other issues.
We don't have to keep coming back
to this one as the main issue.
>> Yeah, the question is whether we'll have a warning sign
with Texas statewide races or will it--
the dam break just all at once.
I know in Dallas County, in 2004,
Lupe Valdez was elected Sheriff of Democrat,
she was elected Sherriff, and people were like, "Whoa,
wait a minute, how did this happen?"
And the Republicans still didn't think that--
they thought it was kind of a fluke though.
>> Right.
>> And in 2006, you know, two years later,
the Republicans lost every statewide race on the ballot--
on every countywide race on the ballot.
So, the question is will we get a warning sign?
Will someone-- some statewide candidate finally break the rule
on a democratic side on the strength of the Hispanic vote?
And then the next cycle, you get more and more, or will it be
like Jeb Bush, I guess, in 2016, we'll see the change come.
>> Let me ask you guys this question a different way 'cause
it seems to me that we get-- this conversation takes place
and what we forget to talk about is the other big racial dynamic
and that's the white vote.
>> Right.
>> Right? And so it seems to me the other piece
of this is do we foresee any possibility of change
in the Anglo vote and the overwhelming support right now
of white Texans in, you know,
the major demographic categories,
particularly older voters,
for the Republican Party 'cause it seems to me
that could be the other hidden tripwire is that a candidate
that will come along
and mobilize not necessarily just Latino voters
but somehow fills a space that's left open potentially
for Anglo voters but I don't see a lot of--
I see a couple of areas where that could possibly happen
in terms of issues but not in terms
of the overall composition of the electorate.
So, in other words, where are the white folks?
>> Well, I think if you look at the charts, and these are some
of the ones that, you know, Republican leadership carry
around to try to communicate their point, it looks, you know,
like a mountain with a valley in the middle and over here is,
if it's a snapshot, it's older white voters, and,
you know, 65, 55, I mean--
>> They're dying.
>> They're going to die, they're going to die.
And who's going to come in and replace them?
You know, Hispanics on the other side of the valley are young
and becoming a voting age and they'll just slide right
into that position so,
it's pretty interesting thing to look at.
>> Also maybe young white votes--
>> Fewer. Fewer.
>> -- replacing the older.
>> But there's--
>> But not a white--
>> Fewer white numbers.
>> Right.
>> Yeah.
>> I think you're going to have the winner, so like a--
you're going to have people on these various demographics
who are tired of voting for losers,
so until Republicans start losing elections here,
I think you won't see a change.
I think you'll still see white voters sticking
with the tried and true.
>> There went backwards this time.
The Democrats did.
The top vote getter I think was Patti and the Supreme Court race
against Nathan Hecht, she got 42 percent.
You know, the number for ages has been--
if you were in a Democratic blue jersey and they held a mirror
on under your nose and it fogged up,
you can get 43 or 44 percent.
And, you know, that number slid, so I don't--
you know, it's the dark before the-- darkest before, you know,
the storm breaks or-- are they sliding.
And, you know, it doesn't look good right now.
>> Or even nationally, Obama slid to 39 percent, so--
>> Let's pivot just a little bit.
So, what is this then?
I mean, we've talked already about the fact
that there is going to be an enormous number
of new members walking these halls come January.
And, you know, it's get even larger if you include the people
that are just, you know, to build on what Ross said,
at least know where the bathrooms are, but only barely
because it's only they're second term.
What does the election tell you about what we might expect
from this session at this point?
Any big differences does it move left, does it move right,
are we going to see a big change in the climate
that we saw last time that I think everybody agreed really
at the end was kind of one
of the most grinding obsessions we'd had in a while?
How does it look, Patti?
>> You know, I want to make the observation first
that I think privately, one of the people
who was really very happy
about the Wendy Davis victory was Joe Straus because if
that hadn't happened, he would have been--
the House would have been the place
where really crazy town legislation would have to stop
because of the, you know,
the Republicans could have just written the agenda.
So, I'll just make that observation.
I do think he is going to have a difficult session anyway with,
you know, fewer Republicans.
He may see it differently.
I mean, it maybe-- he may-- you can tell me Ross what you think,
is it going to make it easier or harder for Straus
to have fewer Republicans?
>> I think it's easier 'cause he doesn't have, you know,
if you're the third parties outside then you know
who you are.
If you're the third parties outside yelling at the speaker
and part of your thing is you got 100 votes over there.
You got 102 votes over there,
you have to be able to, you know, you could--
>> It's true.
>> You know, you could pass anything you wanted and
yet you won't, so you must not be a conservative.
I think, he's you know, got a little buffer there.
I think the House is still where crazy town comes.
I think that it will get there slower now.
You know, the democrats will provide more of a speed bump,
it's a higher speed bump in the senate
but I thing school vouchers, end of testing, all of these kinds
of things are going to come flying out of the Senate
and if they die, they die in the House.
>> Right.
>> Yeah, I agree particularly with school vouchers.
You have a new-- with Patrick in the senate and so--
>> A new Sherriff in town?
>> Yeah, a big loss with Shapiro gone
but I guess he's committed to vouchers.
>> But he committed before he was appointed
which was actually sort of a statement
from Dewhurst, you know?
Patrick was quoted I think in the Chronicle, right?
Saying, you know, vouchers is going
to be the voter ID of this session.
>> Right.
>> You know, on forum and, you know, we ought to push him.
And then David Dewhurst appointed him.
So, it's like he made a statement
and then Dewhurst made a statement.
>> Who is actually saying
that at the national Republican convention this summer.
>> Yeah. But I don't think Straus wants that
and I think vouchers die in the House.
>> I think vouchers would be a, you know,
it's going to fascinating issue.
It's not one that is a Democrat or Republican issue.
I mean, you've got Rural Republicans,
you know, hate the idea.
You've got-- it's only, you know,
even within religions, right?
You've got the Catholics who love the idea, Baptists hate it.
Which just sets up for one glorious fight that could flow.
>> Easy boy.
>> Yeah, looking forward to that.
We hate when they do this.
>> It makes for a good newspaper stories.
>> Well, you know, it seems to me that-- do you guys--
it seems to me that the vouchers have become more
than simply the new voter ID.
It's become an interesting kind of heat check of what the mood
of the chamber is 'cause it seems to me that maybe,
Senator Patrick has been very coy
which is not really a term you usually use with him, but,
has been coy about saying exactly what's going
to be in his proposal.
Now, it may turn out to be that the surprise is
that there's no surprise, but I suspect, that's not going
to be the case, I suspect you're going
to see something that's crafted to speak to the situation
that Tim is implying here.
The vouchers have always intrude--
vouchers as stand alone proposals have always engendered
a certain amount of automatic opposition by this coalition
of cities and of people in the cities,
people in the rural areas, and that there's going
to be some kind of attempt to overcome that.
Does that make sense to you?
>> It's one of the few issues where Lang Burnham
and Kathy Adams are on the same side.
You know, it has these weird cuts like Tim was saying,
you know Kathy Adam's on the-- at the Texas Eagle Forum says,
"You know, if you give government money
to private schools, regulation will follow,
so we're against this."
That Garnet Coleman say, "We're against this."
The rural Republicans and Democrats, say, you know,
"The community center
in our community is the school system, don't screw that up."
And the besides which, why would you take money
out of our school system to send city kids to a private school
because our kids don't have a private school they can go
to anyway, so why are we planning?
Patrick's problem, you know, his practical problem,
putting something like this together is going
to be finding some version of vouchers
that can get enough votes to get out of there.
I think that even if--
>> It's almost impossible.
>> Yeah. I just think it's really, really tough.
>> Pilot program.
>> Right.
>> Well, yeah.
Last time they had the pilot program
and then they had the great Charlie Geren maneuver
where he-- they have a pilot program that looks
like it was going to pass until he amended it so that it went
in the sponsor's district.
>> One of the things I always found fascinating
about the vouchers issue is it's always been
such a conservative issue.
It's one that they've loved and wrapped it up, but,
it's also ones that you know, and in some reporting
that I've done has been very, very popular in poor,
urban neighborhoods among the voters and among the parents.
And it just seems really interesting to see, you know,
to-- so different, you know, approves with the, you know,
Republican law makers and the intercity parents agreeing
on something.
And it makes sense if you're that parent too
if you think about it, you know.
If you have your child going to a terrible school, you know,
wouldn't you want to think about moving that child
to a private school and not think of the grander--
>> Right.
>> -- issue of public school system.
>> Patti?
>> One of the things that might complicate it is
that there will be a drive to expand charters in Texas
which as, you know, you well know intercity neighborhoods
like charters, they like to have that choice.
And, you know, the politics of the two issues are just bound
to get all balled up together.
And so I think people are going to have to make a choice.
Do they go with--
>> So to speak.
>> -- expanding charters or vouchers, and I don't know,
I don't see both happening.
>> Although that is kind of the Rubik's cube
if you can get it exactly right, some combination
of those I think would be how you would make it fly
in some way and also, you know, I think something else is going
on here is some other underlying demographic change
that is not getting as much attention, you know,
as a Latino change and that's demographic change in terms
of urbanization which continues.
And at some point, the politics at this issue do change
because the depopulation
of the rural area changes the vote balance
at least in the House.
>> Right.
>> Right. But well, on the senate too.
So, I want to go on to another sort of set
of issue topics for the legislature.
In the last panel where we had former heads of HHS, Education
and Transportation, and former head of the LCRA,
we talked about, you know, water transportation, et cetera,
infrastructure and kind of human capital issues.
Now, I ended the panel by asking everybody, you know,
after we kind of unpacked some of the issues,
are you optimistic or pessimistic about the ability
of the incoming legislature
to actually move forward a little bit on some
of these needs that as we've seen
in the inside intelligence poll,
people really inside the process think are really important.
>> Right.
>> Only one person-- the worst,
the most negative response we got was neutral.
Everybody expressed the sense of cautious optimism
and they're not currently heading those agencies,
so they weren't necessarily tying to frontload.
I'm wondering if you all think that the discussion
of these infrastructure issues--
and let's focus a little more narrowly, particularly water
and transportation has gotten to the point
where the legislature may actually move forward
on this, this time.
>> I would say cautious optimism is-- I probably agree with that.
I think a lot of people are in agreement that at least some
of the rainy day fund will be used one time with water issues,
so, it's a start I suppose.
>> You seem a little more skeptical over it.
>> Yeah--
>> I'm just reading body language.
>> I'm not so sure why-- I mean--
>> Just the fact that you're shaking his head--
[Simultaneous Talking]
>> 2014, coming up, you know, Ross just talked
about all the new lawmakers coming in
and if you're charged to, you know, to guard the pocketbook
and a wallet and watch every dime and all
that stuff, I mean, I don't know.
You know, I think if the problems with water
and infrastructure and all of that reaches a point
where you have to do something, yeah.
But if we're not there yet then I wouldn't hold out much hope.
>> Ross, what do you think?
>> It's always easier not to do something.
>> Right.
>> And school finance gives them a reason
on financial issues not to do something.
They can say, you know, it would be nice
if we had this much money for water or this much money
for a road or this much money for whatever in the budget
or it would be nice if could come in and fool
around with the franchise tax or we could adjust the, you know,
high cost gas exemption, all of these kinds of things.
But let's don't mess with anything
that involves numbers while school finance is in court,
and the general expectation seems to be
that John Deeds the District Court judging this thing hands
up a decision sometime relatively early in the session.
It appeals directly to the Texas Supreme Court, and if they kind
of do what they've done in the years past,
the Texas Supreme Court probably waits
until after the session to do anything.
It gives all the budgeters all the excuse that they need
to say, "Let's hold and wait
and see what the Texas Supreme Court tells us to do
on education because it's going to guide our hard
in the money we have, and it's going to give us any excuse
that we need if we want to take it for fooling around with taxes
or fees, or any of that kind of stuff."
I just-- I think it freezes them on big ticket items.
>> What do you think Patti?
>> I think if there is any movement beyond what--
I think Ross makes it pretty good case for that,
it's such an overarching issue, but I think if there's any area
that has a constituency,
and sort of a steady drum beat, its transportation.
I mean remember that Tommy Williams was head
of transportation last time.
He knows it inside and out.
He's been talking about how we really got to do something,
we got to get honest about how we're going
to fund our roads and highways.
Now, he's at finance, I think that, you know, that's one area
that has a constituency, and it's been put on a back burner
for so long that it might-- there might some movement.
>> What do you think that constituency is?
>> Typical.
I think its engineers and contractors,
and I think its people sitting in-- on MOPAC.
>> I'm going to say people in cars.
>> People sitting on MOPAC.
>> Let me broaden that question a little bit.
You know, we're talking about, you know, when you talk
about I think there's a constituency, it seems,
you know, it seems to me that we've--
you know, we've gone to a couple of cycles now
that have been very restrictive in terms of funding a kind of,
you know, the hovering specter
of the Grover Glenn Norquist approach, the Governor's,
you know, fiscal pack.
Is there a tipping point
at which different business constituencies see
that as a problem and begin to find ways to push back,
whether it's indirectly through the legislature,
whether they express themselves as constituencies
in certain committees, and begin to find ways around that,
or is this going to be the normal until, you know,
the Governor's political ambitions get ironed out?
>> Well, you know, there's an argument that nobody will play
for bridge until one falls down, right?
So, you come into these situations, and you say,
we have bad-- or we need more roads,
and you told us not to raise taxes.
If you can convince voters that that's actually an either or so
that they don't say wait, there's a third path, right?
If you can say we either need to have a tax fee on water,
or this drought map that's so bad all over the state is going
to stay the same as it is, and by the way you're going to give
up the Saint Augustine.
You know, until you get the voters looking at sort
of binary questions that are credible to them and they look
at them and they say, you know, it's like going to the store.
You either have the money for this or you don't.
Put the item back on the shelf or buy it.
And when they get to the point where they say,
"I really need more roads,
or I really need this water thing taken care of,
or we need to improve schools" or whatever the conversation is,
I don't think it breaks, until, you know,
you can't get a price sensitive electorate
to change its mind unless you really dangle something in front
of them, and they are really convinced
that unless you raise the price, they won't get it.
>> Is the electorate the--
so you think the electorate is still the main variable there?
>> I think that all these republicans and these 67 people
that were elected this time in two years ago are listening
to those 740,000 people in the republican primary,
and those people are saying "We're price sensitive."
>> I have something to add to that.
I think there is another variable, and that is that,
and I've written about this.
We've all talked about this.
There is a vacuum in the leadership of Texas business.
And the reason those-- there is only one narrative being sold
to those 740,000 people, if someone steps up
and creates a new narrative, you know,
that this is very pressing, this is what we have to do,
and I'm not doing it because I'm a-- Texan's been liberal.
I'm doing it because it's important to my business
and job creation, you know?
But right now there is a vacuum.
There is just nobody who's really exercising that sort
of power in the state.
>> Gromer, transportation has obviously been really a big
issue, and it's been up the focus of a variety
of these questions and-- what do you think?
>> Every session, if you look at the wish list,
the legislative agenda from, you know, the business community,
the counties in North Texas, everybody has transportation
and water issues on there.
They just can't get it passed.
And the problem is what Ross outlined, until the electorate,
until you can get the electorate to understand the urgency
of the problem and then respond with their votes,
then you're going to always face opposition with law makers who--
what's the number again?
>> 740.
>> Who will be holding to them
because that 740,000 don't see the urgency yet?
They haven't sat on 35 in the mix master long enough
to get pissed off, and say, hey, I want to change.
>> Tim, what do you think?
>> I mean, they still water their lawns like twice a week.
So, hey, it can't be that bad.
>> I wish Mason was still here,
he'd happy to hear you make that point.
>> Is there something wrong with that?
>> Yeah.
>> I mean, I agree with everything everyone has said.
And one thing to really to add is, maybe not so much in here
in Austin, but across much of the rest of the state,
people keep electing these folks that are coming
in very physically conservative, and they are coming
in with promises not to spend, and not even to find new ways
to make-- to bring in revenue just spend more, just--
let's just keep cutting, and cutting.
And I think that-- those people are still here,
so it's hard to get them to--
>> I'm curios what-- I'm curious what you make
of Patti's suggestion that there is--
there has been a vacuum of an alternative plan coming
out of the business community.
I mean, I think one might argue that the business community
up to this point has been by and large supportive of the fiscal,
you know, a fiscally restrictive view, does that make sense?
>> They all praise the budget when it came out,
you know, 18 months ago.
You know, they were all-- this is what we should be doing.
That's a price sensitive constituency.
I mean, that's the message from all of those groups outside.
A couple of them were saying, you know,
you shouldn't be cutting education like this,
you shouldn't be, you know, we wish you weren't doing that,
but you know, the sort of the message
from the groups your talking about was that's what we want.
>> And yet, at the beginning of every session,
they also said they want to do something
about transportation and water.
So, you know--
>> So what changes their mind in between based on your reporting?
>> You know, they got to get to a point
where they actually aren't getting something
that they want.
They can't come in-- you can't come in and say, you know,
we want you to, you know, change all of these taxes and fiddle
with all of these exemptions so that our tax bills go
down at the same time, and by the way we want this product,
and this product that we're not getting now.
You got to choose.
And until they are convinced that it's a binary,
that it's not something that can be solved
by something else you throw in like, you know,
fraud waste and abuse.
What if it was more efficient?
What if you got rid of that program over there?
Until it becomes a binary in their minds, and they say,
if you have a nickel you have this, then they get decide.
Right now they're saying, I don't have a nickel,
but I do want this, and I think there is another way to do it.
The legislator is kind of confused,
but they're not going to raise the price.
>> Let me ask you guys about how the situation in some
of the state federal relation issues is going to be altered
or not altered by the reelection of the president.
I had said this in the last panel, sort of famously,
or infamously, I guess, depending on your perspective.
I think the morning of the election,
Greg Abbot twitted that, you know,
when Mitt Romney won the state would save a lot of money
because we can drop all these lawsuits.
Well, that's obviously not going to happen.
Given that though do we think that there will be any sense
that would the Obama administration there
for four years, the dynamics
of that bargaining relationship will change at all?
>> The only thing that I looked at, it has been a little while,
is the Affordable Care Act.
And you know, I'm trying to do some reporting in this ahead
of the election and kept hearing from folks.
Well let's just see what happens afterwards.
I mean, you know, there was hope from the republicans
that will elect Romney and then take the US senate,
and it will just get rid of this thing,
we won't have to do anything.
So, I'm curious to see what's going to happen
in the Texas legislature with healthcare and any kind
of pushback that they'll strive for.
>> Yeah, their Affordable Healthcare is here to stay now.
So, it will be interesting to see
for instance what Rick Perry's view is going forward.
Will he still be the crusader against all things, Washington,
and all things Obama in the backdrop
of another potential presidential campaign possibly.
And I would like to know if the Governor thinks
that he could win, and if he could have won Tuesday,
and if he could win in this environment
with the electorate is, is where electorate is,
but that's another question.
The other part of it is the governor's race in 2014,
which I know Ross can't wait, he can't-- [Simultaneous Speaking]
>> I know.
>> Yeah. Well, I knew I wouldn't have to raise it that one
of you guys would bring it up- [Simultaneous Speaking]
>> So much on issues.
To see, guys like Abbot, I mean, you're right, I mean,
what will-- I mean, will he continue
to sue the Federal Government knowing that maybe
that gives him credibility with Texas conservatives,
and a leg up in the government, upcoming governors race.
If he decides to take on Rick Perry, if Perry decides to run.
So, you know, those are interesting question.
I think though that the Washington bashing,
the sort of anti-government mentality in Texas,
and the legislature continues.
>> And a republican consulted in the morning panel, you know,
in response to audience question say that basically, you know,
I'll be campaigning against Barack Obama
for the rest of my life.
>> Right.
>> And what, you know, I mean that was--
[Simultaneous Speaking] Yeah, I mean basically--
the way that he couched it was in the same way that, you know,
democrats ran against Ronald Reagan for a generation and,
you know, that it's going to be,
it's going to be a formative experience, and it's going
to be a formative political symbol.
Ross, what do you think?
>> You know, there is one issue I think they are actually going
to sort of come together.
And I think it's sort of an interesting moment.
Obama wants to do immigration, and the "moderates"
on immigration are going to be the border governors,
and the border senators, you know?
Even Rick Perry when you get to immigration,
when the Fed starts talking about, okay, let's fiddle
with policy in the same way that Reagan did.
I think that's some place were they're going to talk.
I think these guys were right about the Affordable Care Act.
And, you know, one of the numbers
in the UT Texas Tribune Poll that was really interesting,
and we had a lot of fun yapping about was one percent
of Texans strongly agree Congress is doing a good job.
10 percent, somewhat agree.
And the rest of them don't agree at all.
And as long as you've got numbers like, you know,
only 11 percent of Texans hate these guys,
if I'm a political candidate, or a political consultant,
my God, I hate them to.
And I think they'll keep running on federalism as long
as those numbers are like that.
But I think immigration is going to be an exception to this,
and I think it may actually be one of those places
where someday in the future, 18 months, or 2 years out.
There is a Rick Perry, Barack Obama, you know,
somewhere in the same photograph.
>> And in fact--
>> Including a path to citizenship?
>> Well, I don't know what it'll include, but I do think
that they want to work this out, and the Texas people
and the New Mexico people and the Arizona people
and the California people are hearing
from their business leaders like Charles Butt, Bob Perry,
and people like that, they say, "Wait a minute, wait minute,
you're messing with the economy here.
This isn't just, you know, something that you get
to go bash in the primary.
This is our economic life."
And they are starting to hear it from the Deep South,
if you follow these stories about farming,
and carpet business, and all these things to Alabama
and Mississippi, Georgia--
>> In the Midwest Iowa.
>> Right, right.
>> Well, and the other, you know, and the other piece
of that, I think, Ross, politically in terms
of federalism is that if they do choose to go after immigration,
you know, the governor, you know, the governor can come
out with guarded support,
and the state legislature can all pass irrelevant resolutions
opposing what they've done.
>> And I think the Republicans, you know,
this was Patti's point.
I think the republicans are scared to death
that you've got the fastest growing part of the population
and only 21 percent of them are supporting you.
That's real trouble when they come of voting age and,
you know, that continues-- that's a structural flaw.
>> It's real trouble for people
that are thinking in the longer term.
>> Right, you know, it's an incredibly cynical way to think
about this but I wonder if democrats
in Congress really don't want immigration reform.
You keep it out there and it allows republicans just
to keep getting beat up over and over again.
>> Yeah, I think that may be played out though given,
you know, the trouble they had to go back to recoup.
I mean they did have to make some--
>> Colorado was working at the time, yeah.
>> It takes them executive action in order to make
up for the fact that they [inaudible] they thought
that they haven't really delivered.
>> But they really got the best of both worlds, didn't they?
Obama got a boost in the Hispanic vote
when he said sons and daughters.
>> You were appallingly cynical to me.
>> I learned it from you.
>> Patti?
>> I don't think anything will change as far as, you know,
Rick Perry's thinking on the Affordable Care Act.
Didn't he tweet the morning of the election
that it should be repealed as an abomination?
But I do think that there will be a more lively discussion
over it because as it's put in place, people are going
to realize what Texas is, you know, going to turn its back
on with Medicaid expansion.
And, you know, there are constituencies for that as well.
And I don't think it will go-- anyone is going to go quietly
and just stay in locks except with the governor on that one.
So, it will be more dramatic
than I think it would have been--
than certainly it has been.
>> And they're certainly deeply invested
on a lot of those fronts.
It would be hard I think for them to turn around.
I wanted to open up for questions in a second but I want
to do a quick summary because I know you guys all want
to talk about this.
I want to ask you very quickly, in sequence, as Perry run
in 2014, does he run for President
and perhaps most importantly other thing,
I'm most intrigued by, if Perry does run, do both Perry
and Abbot run against each other
in the republican primary in 2014?
>> I think, I'm sorry-- we're you going to ask some more?
>> Yeah, I am looking right at you.
>> Great. You know, I think 2014,
there's a pretty good chance, you know,
Perry runs for governor either way.
You know, what a great way to keep making money
through fund raising, you know, as a sitting governor, you know,
you'll lose some crowd I guess.
I wouldn't want to predict the presidency
but it really would be one hell of an exciting race to see Perry
and Abbot whether or not they would do that.
From what I kind of understand, they're pretty good friends
and then they would have to be-- well, maybe that would dissolve.
>> So aside from all of that cynicism,
you still believe in friendship?
>> Yeah.
>> That's so adorable.
>> I learned that from you too.
>> I think Perry runs for reelection in 2014.
I think he sticks his toe in the water for President
but ultimately does not run in 2016, I think.
He with a thousand other candidates for an open seat,
he will look at it but I don't think he does it.
And if he does, though, either way, if he does or he doesn't,
I think Abbot may be tries for something
like Lieutenant Governor and then Perry doesn't serve
out the whole term and Abbot becomes governor.
It's the deal they cut for Abbot not to run
against Perry in 2014.
But at that sense, that put staples and others
on the outside, but I think that's what happens.
>> That's pretty Russian.
It's like calling you Gromer Dastayofski.
>> I think Perry runs again because, you know,
he didn't bluff about that much and he said I'm interested
in running for governor again, you know?
I think he's in.
I think he is open to the opportunity
in leaning toward running for President.
I mean it looks like that to me.
And I think he and Abbot do run against each other
but I'm not sure we get to see it.
I think they could do that in a living room with 6 to 12 very,
very big donors who are-- they have in common and they go make
like a venture capital pitch in those--
it's like an Oliver Stone movie.
It's like those people say that one or that one.
And, you know, I don't think those guys--
I think ordinarily Abbot would run.
I think-- but I think that based
on the Kay Bailey Hutchison experience,
everybody is a little bit weary of, you know,
those kinds of things.
And I think they'd both go to their donors
and I think their donors will decide for them.
>> I'm not sure, I guess, I think he'll run
for governor again, but I do think he'll run
for President again because immediately after Romney lost,
you know, Perry's base said, "We made a terrible mistake
with going with a moderate, a terrible moderate."
And, you know, so there is going to be a group of people looking
for a republican of his elk and I think he'll fill the bill,
it's a supply and demand.
>> Thank you guys, questions from the audience.
We'll have somebody come in around with a microphone.
Let's start over here and then we'll come back around the poll.
[Inaudible Remark]
>> No, it's, you know, I think she wears sensible shoes.
You know, Ross, you brought up a very good point
about the legislature,
how we have like the number you said was 70 some odd
and that's actually--
>> 67 freshmen and sophomores.
>> Yeah, freshmen, sophomores.
Would that kind of churn sitting in the Texas legislature,
I mean do we really see an opportunity for long term kind
of things or does it really just put the power in the people
like the Patricks, the Watsons people like that who have been
around there and have staying power and things like that?
>> You have a better chance of passing ability know-how.
I mean, a lot of the freshmen and a lot
of the sophomores are really smart people and, you know,
there's probably a governor or a senator in there somewhere
but they've got to figure out how to read a budget and how
to get-- how to make the machine work.
And so they're going to be reliant on people
with more experience and I think or at least--
I think for at least this session,
the people with more experience are going to have an advantage,
you know, where they're just going to those guys for votes
but not for expertise.
So, the other thing I would say is that, you know, those guys,
a lot of them were elected, you know, kind of as populists
and they have a pretty strong idea about how they're going
to vote on issues even if they haven't completely studied those
issues, right?
I'm trying to be gentle.
But I think they're going to come
in with some hard line positions and, you know,
the more experience people will have to work around those two.
>> Anybody else want to weigh in on that?
>> I think that lack
of experience always benefits the lobby.
I mean, you know, you're going to be--
there is such a limited amount of time
and if somebody has information that sounds good,
then these people are going to be thirsty
for that kind of thing, so.
>> Down here.
[ Pause ]
>> And also, after the election, I got a little theory
that I'm kicking around which is that if in this--
for your term, Obama and the democrats managed
to get some sort of comprehensive immigration reform
that doesn't demonize Latinos, Hispanics too much, at least.
Then they've got them locked in for the next 2 decades or so
which will mean that Texas will swing.
It's just a theory, what do you all think?
>> I think Obama at 71 percent
of the Hispanic voter is a good start and chances are nationally
that that vote is locked away
for several election cycles, if not longer.
I mean we're looking at probably a California situation
if the republicans can't do any better nationally.
So, I'll agree with you there.
And in Texas the same way but the question is
when does the sleeping giant emerge?
And when it does, there is a national problem for republicans
because you can't-- there's no path
to White House without Texas.
And then to Patti's point, you have to be looking
at those things long term.
I don't know if they are but, yeah,
you have to look at them long term.
But the question for Texas is, is it 2016, is it 2020
or 50 years from now when we start
to see candidates being elected statewide
on the strength of the Hispanic vote.
>> This doesn't really go to your question
but it would be pretty interesting
if at this point it was brought
up during some reporting I've done a while ago, but,
so Texas finally does flip become a democratic state.
And assuming California and New York go nowhere,
I mean it would be a hell
of a long time before a republican would ever have a
chance to get an elected President that is.
>> Now the big variable there is the assumption that Hispanics
who don't vote now either because they don't vote
or because they are too young and they're just coming of age,
are going to vote the same way as the Hispanics who do vote.
I mean the question, you know, Hispanics who do vote now,
generally, this except this top of the ballot,
except that you know, are about 2/3 democrat
and about 1/3 republican, is the next wave--
if a bunch of new Hispanics start voting are they going
to vote in the same percentages and in the same way,
and I think that's going to be more issue driven.
I don't know that, you know, they are culturally democratic.
I think if you have-- [Inaudible Remark]
>> I mean except for Cubans and--
>> Well, but you don't know 'cause they don't vote, I mean--
>> But for the last 30, 40--
>> But if the-- if the people that are now 20 and 22 and 23
and Latino begin to come of age and vote in the next 6
or 7 years, you know, sort
of the regular cycle people start really voting
when they're, you know, 27 to 33, somewhere in there.
Do they vote the same way that their parents have voted
and people voting now?
I think Republicans looking at this and trying to think
of a long term plan are betting
that that's a persuadable population
and to the extent that it is.
I think it's, you know, I think that will-- that will, you know,
it will probably guide their votes
on things like immigration.
>> One thing I'll just add is I did--
I did hear a pollster on the radio the other day talking
about young voters and that if you vote the same way
for two elections cycles in a row that there is an imprint
and it's much less likely that you will switch later in life.
I found that interesting and I think that's very relevant
to this whole conversation about the Hispanic vote.
>> Well, the panel data on that is a little shaky I would say.
I mean, you didn't ask me but I'm going
to answer your question anyway.
You know, I would this that, you know,
the underlying assumption there is that you wind up locking
"Hispanics down" with immigration reform, you know?
That it's also possible that you wind
up moving immigration off the table for awhile and free
up other issues to take that space and that's
where this question of political leadership and entrepreneurship
and who wins these fights inside the Republican party in terms
of their time perspective really becomes important.
>> See, I don't think it's just immigration reform.
I think immigration reform resulted and some Republicans
with rhetoric that basically, you know, infuriated
and insulted Hispanic.
So, that made things worst and I think there are other issues
of concern that Republicans would have to get better with
or be able to sell better to Hispanics.
>> Right.
>> And again I think historically I mean immigration
hasn't always been an issue on the table,
but historically most Hispanics have voted for democrats.
>> Right.
>> With the exception of Cubans, you know, and Florida.
>> Right, I mean and I think that is,
that has been the pattern but the other thing
and then Ross kind of implied this I think that, you know,
will those-- will those attitudes remain stable
over time.
I mean and this really gets into very tricky questions
that are very controversial in the academic community
and among, you know, Latino and Hispanic activist groups
because it really gets to the issue
of over time will Hispanics remain attitudinally distinct
which is what you're arguing, or over time will they become,
you know, to use the word that, you know, became a very bad word
in the '70s, or will they assimilate more?
>> How much of a change?
[Inaudible Remark]
>> That was spooky.
>> I'll ask you this Jim,
if you're the Republican party how much do you think they have
to change in order to persuade Hispanic voters
to come to the GOP?
>> What I would say this is they would have to change a lot
to replace the Democratic Party in the cognitive space
of Latinos as an overall population.
But I think you and I have got this conversation--
what I would--
>> So, are we looking at the same Republican Party?
>> What I would say is that, you know, but, you know,
to flip that is that what is--
what is the threshold and this goes back
to something I asked earlier about White voters.
>> Right.
>> Does the Republican Party remain viable have to replace
and occupy the cognitive space among Hispanics
that Democrats hold right now
or they only have to peel off a piece?
And I would argue that they--
if they hang on to the White voters,
they probably only have to peel off a piece.
Now, we all know we've seen --
everybody seen the Murdock slides, right?
So, you know, we know what it looks like.
But the Murdock slides don't account for, you know,
voter turn out and shifts in attitudes that come
with class mobility, et cetera.
And I would argue that, you know,
if the Republicans don't have to flip it to their own 70,
30 dominance that if you get to somewhere in the range
of a consistent 55, 45, that you remain competitive.
>> And democrats--
>> The same demographics actually work both ways.
>> Right, and democrats as you pointed out earlier
on another day to me have to do a better job in--
in getting more white voters long term.
>> And-- and in Texas retaining the infrastructure to be able
to exploit their dominance among Hispanic voters
which as we've seen they had trouble with.
>> I thought one of the good points that Ted Cruz made
on Election Day for the argument
that Republicans do have a message
for Hispanic voters is he threw out,
I can't remember the number--
millions of Hispanic Texans to own a small business.
>> Right.
>> And there is an issue that can resonate
and because that's-- that's, you know, where people live
and I think that's-- if immigration's off the table,
those sorts of issues could be a way to get a just enough--
peel off just enough people to, you know,
sort of mute the effect of a democratic ownership of that.
>> And not to resort the product placement again,
but I mean this came up in the TribCast couple of days ago
that I did with Ross and Evan and Emily that, you know,
one thing that I think it's very positive that's coming
out of this discussion that I would hope is that we can move
from talking about the Sleeping Giant,
what all the Latino's were going to do as if they're going
to move in one big herd and begin to differentiate
and understand what the internal dynamics
in among Latino groups are, I think it's necessary
from a political point of view, and also, I mean,
I think it makes for a higher quality of a public discourse.
If we begin to think in a more nuanced way
about what the Latino population looks like in the United States
in Texas, you know, why, you know,
Florida looks different than Texas.
Why North Texas looks different from South Texas, et cetera.
>> We'll have another demographic way,
but it used the baby boomers we were talking about.
>> Right, well, who will be this--
who will be the Latino Tom Brokaw?
>> Okay. So, this is sort of a self-reflective question
for you guys as journalists.
Do you feel like there are any parts of the legislative process
that are chronically either under or over reported on?
>> That's a good question.
>> Under reported conference committees.
That's my pet peeve.
You know, we're supposed to know where they are
and what the arguments made are and how people vote
and it just didn't happen including on the budget.
>> Everything that happens in the Betty King conference room,
it's like the Secret Senate.
>> Right, absolutely.
>> In terms of over, you know, what I mean--
abortion obviously comes up again and again
and again I mean you can't have a political discussion
without it, you know.
>> I hate to say it but the--
>> Just do it.
You're among friends.
>> Maybe the horse race, maybe the horse race is over reported.
The, you know, the blow by blow.
No, it's not over reported.
What's under reported is--
>> I just can't say that.
>> I agree with Patti.
The, you know, conference committees, the backrooms
if we can get in on the sort of-- and in some issues,
some boring, mundane, you know, issues that we hate to write
about but are kind of important and would be a service
to readers and viewers.
>> For example?
>> Water.
>> Water?
>> Transportation.
>> Those are big deals now, but they weren't ten, 20 years,
you know, people try to picture a story
in water and just go "Please."
>> So, one of the reasons we're in trouble is it's your fault.
>> Sure.
>> Okay.
>> I'll take it.
>> Well, I think it's about quarter till.
If we have one last question.
All right.
Last one.
>> Will the Senate's two thirds rule survive the Senate passing
it's-- its rules at the start of the session?
>> You know better than anybody.
>> I know, I should-- I should be able to tell you that.
I think it's totally up in the air.
I couldn't tell you what I-- what I think.
I think there will be a play to water it down
and maybe Dan Patrick has the votes to do that.
He tried to make it of 60 percent like Washington
and he may have the votes to do that this time.
>> I don't know if they'll change the number,
I think they'll either-- I think they'll water it down
and I think they'll either do it by lowering it to 60 percent
or by saying it only apply-- it applies except on these issues.
>> Yeah, I don't cover the senate,
but from the discussions I've had largely I would say people
expect to stay in place, but then again I have no idea.
>> Yeah, I think it'll stay place, minimal change, maybe.
Maybe it's an expansion of the issues or the topics
where they would remove it, you know, making that clearer but,
I don't know, it's kind
of a cherished deal in the senate, right?
>> By some.
>> Not by the people who sit in--
that are now sitting in the chamber.
[Inaudible Remark] Yeah, it used to be, but I'm not so sure.
>> It's where senators a lot of their--
this sort of Ken Armburst's theory of the universe but it's
where a lot of their individual power comes from.
And the ones that really studied the process look at it and say,
you know, "This is why one senator remains important
in the process and where sort of that's where your juice is,"
but it's hard to argue against this, you know,
the feeling that, you know, they've got a majority
and they can't get anything done.
That's going to frustrating.
>> Right.
>> I want to thank Tim Eaton, Gromer Jeffers,
Ross Ramsey, Patti Hart.
Thank you very much guys.
[ Silence ]