Christopher Hooks

Christopher Hooks is a freelance journalist in Austin.

By Christopher Hooks:


The ‘Crazies’ Have Fully Taken Over the Texas GOP

At the state GOP convention, Dan Patrick said his side had “won.” He’s right.

At the Texas Republican Party Convention last week, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick did what so many conquerors ultimately do: He declared peace. The GOP civil war that has done so much to define political life in Texas during the last … Read More

Dan Patrick

Dan’s the Man, Now

Dan Patrick and Donald Trump can provide enough favors, and dish out enough pain, to easily secure the loyalty of people who care primarily about money.

Last summer, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick was neck deep in a dehumanizing and convoluted political brawl over the ability of transgender people to use the appropriate bathroom. It was the kind of thing that seems to give the former talk … Read More


Taking Stock of Texas Democrats After the 2018 Runoff Election

In what should be a pretty good year for the party, the situation doesn’t look rosy.

The life of a Texas Democrat is full to the brim with dramatic irony, but especially so in the last 18 years, since the good millennium gave way to the bad millennium. In the first decade of this century, Democrats … Read More

Greg Abbott

The Jade Helm Fiasco Says More About Texas Than it Does Russia

Even if Russia had nothing to do with Jade Helm, the episode is still evidence for the proposition that the American body politic is weak and easy to manipulate.

Today in Gregwatch, the Observer’s trademarked series for enthusiasts of Governor Abbott, we have a new fan theory to discuss. First flagged by the Texas Democratic Party, it comes courtesy of Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA, … Read More


Texas Newspaper Readers Unite!

Simply by existing, journalism makes the incentives that guide government and culture marginally better, or at least that's the idea.

In March, the Austin American-Statesman announced that it was being sold by its corporate parent, Cox Media Group, to an ill-regarded New York company called GateHouse Media. Cox treated the Statesman poorly in recent years, laying off reporters and ensuring … Read More

Wendy Davis speaking

The All-or-Nothing ‘Turning Texas Blue’ Narrative Needs to Be Retired

After the Texas primaries, it’s worth asking if the phrase and its variations are warping how we think about Texas politics.

Is Texas going to turn blue in 2018? Will the Blue Wave rend us asunder? Will the state wake up on the morning of November 7 looking like Tobias Fünke? What is our ETA to TTB? When I was first … Read More

Beto O'Rourke

Inconsistent Showing in Democratic Primary Raises Questions for Beto O’Rourke

O’Rourke, the Democrat running the most high-profile statewide race, is scoring only 61 percent in his primary and has room to work in South and West Texas.

On primary night in 2014, the candidate who headlined the Democratic ticket, Wendy Davis, got some bad news — her token opponent, Ray Madrigal, scored almost 22 percent of the vote, winning many Hispanic counties in South Texas and the … Read More


Greg Abbott’s Weird Primary Gamble

The governor tried love and botched it, so now he’s trying the politics of fear.

Greg Abbott’s Weird Primary Gamble The governor tried love and botched it, so now he’s trying the politics of fear. Governor Greg Abbott was born in Wichita Falls, the grandson of a country preacher, but his own political origin story … Read More

donkeys, illustration

How Democrats Can Fix the Broken Two-Party System in Texas

What works poorly in other states doesn't work here at all.

Here’s how a two-party system works, in theory: One party wins office on the strength of its plans to fix problems, and its elected officials then use the power of government to partially implement policies. Over time, they start to … Read More