Christopher Hooks

Christopher Hooks is a freelance journalist in Austin.

By Christopher Hooks:

Texas Legislature

Power Steering

The most interesting story in American politics in the coming year isn’t in Iowa, but on the outskirts of Houston and Dallas.

For years, the question asked of Texas politics has been whether or not the state would “turn blue” during a presidential election or high-profile statewide race. It’s an all-or-nothing proposition: A race is either won or lost, and you don’t … Read More


Bucking the Reign of Oil

With more of oil’s boom years behind us than ahead, oil and gas interests will become known increasingly by their uglier side effects, rather than their benefits.

The tank farm owned by the Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park burned for four days, producing a cloud of thick black smoke that rose a mile above greater Houston. The ITC site boasted a storage capacity of 13 million … Read More


Winning Isn’t Enough. The Next President Needs to be a Doer.

We think what it takes to shake up Washington is an outsider with new ideas, but what’s needed is an insider with strong convictions.

The next president will have a lot to do. Each and every executive agency, down to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will need a deep cleaning. Unidentified fluids will have to be expunged from the carpet in Scott Pruitt’s … Read More


Trump’s Border Wall is a Vortex of Stupidity that Trump and the GOP Can’t Escape

The Wall started as an applause line at Trump’s campaign rallies, and has morphed into one of the dumbest policy debates in the history of American politics.

“This is the stupidest day in American history,” wrote Matt Christman during the Donald’s inauguration, “a record that will be broken by every subsequent day in American history.” PolitiFact says: Mostly true. But it feels especially true these days, in … Read More


The Texas GOP May Actually Get Serious about Real Problems During this Legislature

On the heels of a miniature suburban revolt in the midterms, it seems unlikely that Dan Patrick and friends will be able to hijack the session again.

So: The world’s finest deliberative body convened in Austin on Tuesday, and by early summer, if God’s grace once more falls upon this benighted state, the Texas Legislature will leave town. That much we know. What will happen at the … Read More

tim dunn

Empower Texans Flushed Millions Down the Toilet

After a decade spent trying to remake Texas politics, the right-wing enforcement group has achieved nothing interesting or notable with Tim Dunn’s money.

Earlier this decade, there was no more interesting subplot in Texas politics than the Republican Civil War, a somewhat grandiose name for the discomfort the tea party was causing the more polite faction of the GOP. But much of the … Read More

Julián Castro, Beto O'Rourke

Dear Beto and Julián, Please Don’t Run for President

Most failed presidential campaigns are high-risk bids for personal glory and a waste of time and money.

Are you planning to run for president on the Democratic ticket in 2020? If not, why not? Everyone else is. Seventeen Republicans ran in 2016, and the nominating process winnowed them down to the least qualified and most deranged. Now, … Read More


Texas is a Purple State Now. The Proof is in Last Night’s Results.

Tuesday’s midterm was the best election result for Texas Democrats since at least 1994, and gives a lot of reasons to think that something has meaningfully changed in this state.

Photos/Brad Tollefson, Justin Miller, Illustration/Sunny Sone When Ted Cruz slipped ahead of Beto O’Rourke in the count last night, there was a wave of anguish and recrimination from Democrats on social media — some from Texas, many not. That’s understandable. The … Read More


The Disconnect Between Ted Cruz’s Victory Speech and What Actually Happened in Texas

When Cruz declared victory, the crowd in Houston chanted “build the wall,” and speakers on stage greatly overstated the Republican hold on Texas.

The currency of the realm for Texas Democrats is small, symbolic victories, and the currency of the realm for Texas Republicans is the overwhelming, crushing humiliation of one’s enemies, to see them driven before you and to hear the lamentations … Read More