The Big Conversation
The decision by Gov. Greg Abbott to pen a book touting a weighty national political proposal — a convention of the states to change the U.S. Constitution — before he's been in office for two years has plenty of people wondering if he's setting up a run for higher office.
The Tribune's Patrick Svitek spoke to one Abbott supporter, Pam Johnson, who was waiting in line at one of Abbott's stops on his promotional book tour that launched this week and will eventually stop in 19 Texas cities. Svitek wrote:
"What would I like to see him do?" she wondered aloud, pausing for a moment. "I think he would be a good president."
Abbott, according to Johnson, would add "poise and dignity" to national Republican politics, currently consumed by an unruly race for the White House.
"The book to me is all about the next rung on the ladder — what is the next rung on the ladder?" asked Bill Miller, a lobbyist who has been around Austin long enough to see two former governors — George W. Bush and Rick Perry — incubate their presidential ambitions. Miller's prediction: If Trump loses in November, "Greg Abbott will be a candidate for president in four years."
Abbott points to the timing of the book, which drops before the 2016 presidential cycle has finished, as the strongest argument against his trying to use the book as springboard to higher office.
He and his aides, Svitek wrote, say the focus is on his idea of having the states lead a movement to make changes to the U.S. Constitution to return more authority to the states.
A convention, Svitek wrote, is "a far-fetched idea, but it's tailor-made for an electorate teeming with anger at Washington, D.C., and Abbott stands a chance of serving as the national spokesman it has never quite had, at least in elected office."
Trib Must Reads
Analysis: Texas Judge Tweets While Trump Auditions for GOP, by Ross Ramsey — You already knew about Donald Trump’s reverence for Twitter, but it’s still surprising that a Texas judge known mainly for his funny tweets would land on the Republican presidential candidate’s list of possible U.S. Supreme Court nominees.
Texan Makes Trump's Short List (Video), by Alana Rocha and Justin Dehn — A Texan makes Donald Trump’s list of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees, the Republican Party of Texas keeps secession out of its latest platform and Gov. Greg Abbott weighs in on ride-sharing regulations imposed in cities around the state.
Abbott: "I Would Like to See" Top 10 Percent Rule Change, by Matthew Watkins — Gov. Greg Abbott has called for a tweaking the state's controversial Top 10 Percent Rule for college admissions, another sign that the highly controversial law could be at risk when the Texas Legislature convenes in 2017.
Judge Orders Ethics Classes for Justice Department Attorneys, by Julián Aguilar — The Brownsville-based judge who halted President Obama’s 2014 executive action on immigration has decided that ethics classes are in order for the attorneys who defended the policy.
Lawmakers Rebuke Library of Congress Over Dropping "Illegal Alien" Language, by Julián Aguilar — A trio of Texas Republican lawmakers says the U.S. Library of Congress is bowing to political pressure by eliminating the terms “illegal alien” and “alien” from its search and subject heading classifications.
Republic of Turkey Targets Houston-Based Charter School, by Kiah Collier — Lawyers working for the Turkish government plan to file a complaint with the Texas Education Agency next week against Houston-based Harmony Public Schools, alleging financial malfeasance and other misconduct, school officials said.
The Day Ahead
• Today is the last day of early voting ahead of Tuesday's party primary runoff elections.
(Links below lead to outside websites; content might be behind paywall)
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick asks faith leaders, churches to help state solve foster care mess, The Dallas Morning News
San Antonio-based Mexican entrepreneurs group taking on Trump, San Antonio Express-News
Ken Paxton: No ban on open carry of guns in parks, Austin American-Statesman
State urges long-term contraception for women on Medicaid, Houston Chronicle
Oklahoma lawmakers OK bill criminalizing performing abortion, The Associated Press
Hillary Clinton to scoop up campaign cash in Texas, San Antonio Express-News
Texas Water Development Board eyes new State Water Plan, Austin American-Statesman
Lead detected in water at El Paso state center, El Paso Times
Quote to Note
"There’s a lot of logistics involved in this, and I don’t know how thoroughly they’ve thought it out. The resources alone would be astronomical.”
— Texas-based builder Todd Sternfeld to The New York Times on the complexity of building a border wall as promised by presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. Sternfeld estimates the minimal cost of the project at $26 billion.
Today in TribTalk
In Fort Worth's transgender battle, parents lose, by Konni Burton — Involving parents should be the default position for any potentially controversial new policy of an independent school district, and unfortunately in this instance, it was not.
Trib Events for the Calendar
• A Conversation with state Sens. Kel Seliger and Kirk Watson on higher education funding in Texas, on May 26 at The Austin Club.
• A Conversation with Ryan Sitton, Texas Railroad Commissioner, on June 3 at The Austin Club
• The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23-25 at the University of Texas at Austin