The Big Conversation
With another week in the GOP presidential contest marked yet again by boundary pushing attacks — this time involving the wives of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz — a reporter at The Washington Post explores growing feelings of shame among Republican voters over the course of the campaign.
"After a winter that featured anatomical insults, violent clashes at rallies, and fierce accusations of lying and dirty tricks, Republicans say the past week has been particularly dispiriting," writes the Post's Sean Sullivan. "At a moment when the party had hoped to turn its attention to a general-election matchup against Hillary Clinton, Republicans were instead caught in an uncomfortable back-and-forth over allegations of adultery and jabs at the physical appearance of the wives of Trump and Cruz."
Even before this latest flare-up, Sullivan reported that GOP voters were increasingly unhappy. "In a recent CBS News-New York Times poll," Sullivan writes, "60 percent of Republican primary voters said the campaign has made them mostly embarrassed for the party rather than mostly proud."
Republican pollster Frank Luntz told Sullivan that presidential debates in Houston and Detroit around the end of February and the beginning of March marked a turning point:
After the Detroit debate, Luntz asked his focus group participants to sum up the evening in a word or phrase.
“Sophomoric,” “embarrassment,” “disappointing,” “shameful,” “despicable,” “angering” and “schoolyard brawl” were some of the responses he received during a broadcast on Fox News Channel.
Trib Must Reads
Analysis: An Election Theme Seven Years in the Making, by Ross Ramsey — One thing has remained true during this political cycle, even as we all watch our early predictions sour: The disruption that has marked the Republican Party in Texas and the U.S. for the last decade is still blooming.
In U.S. House, Texans' Seats of Power Have Expiration Dates, by Abby Livingston — Texas Republicans currently hold seven chairmanships in the U.S. House, giving the state an outsized role in moving forward key legislation. But almost all of those members are due to to hand over their gavels in the next five years.
Deal Struck to Move Forward With Vista Ridge Pipeline, by Kiah Collier — The financial troubles of a Spanish company hired to build San Antonio's $884 million Vista Ridge water pipeline won't drag down the project, utility and city officials contend.
Indictment Aside, Crystal City Mayor is Running Again, by Jim Malewitz — Shrugging off federal corruption charges and possible prison time, Ricardo Lopez, the former mayor of Crystal City, says he is running for re-election and eyeing statewide office.
Dewhurst Endorses Cruz, a Former Foe, for President, by Patrick Svitek — Former Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Ted Cruz's opponent in the bitter 2012 U.S. Senate runoff, is endorsing Cruz for president, he confirmed Friday.
Ted Cruz Shifts Away From Pledge to Support GOP Nominee, by Patrick Svitek — Ted Cruz is moving further than ever away from his pledge to support Donald Trump if he is the Republican presidential nominee as the Texas senator combats a series of personal attacks from the billionaire and his supporters.
Cruz: Trump peddled National Enquirer report because he’s ‘scared’, The Dallas Morning News
Ted Cruz Names Friends, but Silence From G.O.P. Brass Deafens, The New York Times
Trump accuses Cruz of theft, Politico
Martinez Fischer on primary loss: Not my political obituary, San Antonio Express-News
Railroad Commission close to industry it regulates, Austin American-Statesman
Border surge fuels sense of safety for many, but also reduces income for small-town police, San Antonio Express-News
Bandidos leader fighting federal charges and outlaw reputation, Houston Chronicle
Fight ensues over body of famed Houston lawyer, Houston Chronicle
City leaders prepare to take up lawfulness of Uber in Lubbock, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
New oil springs up in Texas — cannabis oil, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Quote to Note
“Trump is a great incentive for Hispanics to become citizens and vote against that type of thinking — anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-American. I say that as a Republican.”
Hispanic Republicans of Texas co-founder Juan Hernandez, on a wave of legal immigrants seeking to become naturalized citizens in order to vote this year in the presidential contest
News From Home
• Tune in for the latest episode of The Ticket, a co-production of the Tribune and KUT. KUT’s Ben Philpott and the Tribune's Jay Root talk political media with two digital media strategists. That includes a look back at some of the most famous and infamous political ads in history.
Trib Events for the Calendar
• A Conversation with Reps. Craig Goldman, Stephanie Klick and Ramon Romero Jr. on March 29 at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth
• The Price of Admission: A Conversation on the Top 10 Percent Rule on March 31 at Austin Community College Highland Campus
• A Conversation with Sen. Carlos Uresti and Rep. Poncho Nevárez on April 13 at Sul Ross State University in Alpine
• A Conversation with Dawn Buckingham on April 21 at the Austin Club
• A Conversation on San Antonio & the Legislature: The Issues in the Interim on April 26 at the University of Texas at San Antonio
• A Symposium on the Texas Economy on April 29 at the University of Houston
• The Texas Tribune's third Texas-centric Trivia Night on May 1 at The Highball in Austin