politics, texas

Texans v. Elected Officials

Texas Postcard

Contrary to frequent assumptions, Texas is a whole lot less conservative and pro-every-awful-thing than many would guess. The state has two cities ranked in the top ten of the largest, and most populous states in the country (and a few more not far behind), so it’s not exactly all backwoods and roaming cattle… even if our elected officials don’t always reflect that.

“A violent, lawless, backward state, a hang’-em-high kind of place that relishes the death penalty, that’s obsessed with guns, that’s anti-education, anti-science, anti-immigrant, anti-environment.”

That’s too often the image Texas presents to the outside world, as the Houston Chronicle editorial board described it in May after the Waco biker shooting.

A survey of Harris Country residents that’s been tracking their opinions on big issues for over three decades recently found:

  • “Strongly” in favor of universal criminal background checks on all gun sales? 81%!
  • In support of raising minimum wage to help lower-income workers get by? 71%!
  • Support a path to citizenship for people who speak English & have no criminal record? 72%!
  • And, this is possibly the most surprising for outsiders: Only 56% of Harris County residents support the death penalty, compared to the national average of 58%!

I grew up in Harris County (right outside of Houston) and this information feels accurate and makes me feel good about my hometown. I live in the next largest county in the state (Dallas) right now, and I bet the results would be similar.

If you want to generalize large groups of people, instead of going for statewide assumptions, consider going urban v. rural. That’s where the real differences are, not between Houston/Dallas and any of the other largest cities in America. And even then, there are people with “big city” ideals living in small towns all over the place. Stop writing them (& the state) off or telling them they should move to a different state. That’s tired and insulting and just plain dumb.

Read more stats and some reasons for why this disconnect between Texas residents & their elected officials exists here: The disconnect between Texans and their elected officials (TribTalk.org)