Forrest Wilder

Forrest Wilder, a native of Wimberley, Texas, is the editor of the Observer. Forrest has appeared on Democracy Now!, The Rachel Maddow Show and numerous NPR stations. His work has been mentioned by The New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, Time magazine and many other state and national publications. Other than filing voluminous open records requests, Forrest enjoys fishing, kayaking, gardening and beer-league softball. He holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.

By Forrest Wilder:


The Texas Observer’s Best Features of 2018

by and | Wed, Dec 26, 2018 at 12:20 pm CST

The GOP Machine in Texas Seems to Finally Have Slipped a Gear

Over the last few years, something has been stirring in Texas. The midterm elections may signal a seismic shift in state politics.

After Beto’s near-victory, a thumpin’ in Harris County and surprisingly poor GOP performance in conservative strongholds Tarrant, Williamson and Collin counties, some Republican old heads are trying to make sense of it all. As John Cornyn told the Dallas Morning … Read More

beto, elections

Win or Lose, Beto O’Rourke Has Provided a Blueprint for Texas Democrats

Beto O’Rourke has run the best campaign of any Texas Democrat in a generation. What’s that mean for Election Day and beyond?

If you believe the polls, Beto O’Rourke will lose to Ted Cruz on Tuesday by single digits. Judging from his recent behavior and comments, Cruz also thinks he will win. How else to explain why, a week out from the … Read More

Columns, Editorial, The Issue

Editor’s Note: The Long and the Short of It

Observer Editor Forrest Wilder on the importance of good longform storytelling.

This editor’s note originally appeared in the October issue of the Observer. I’ll admit it: for the last couple of years, I’ve paid little attention to Ken Paxton’s criminal troubles. I knew, of course, that the Texas attorney general had … Read More

Donald Trump

A Time for Radical Thinking

We need more bold ideas that challenge Trump and restore democracy.

Give Donald Trump this: he’s brought a certain clarity to our present condition. With democratic norms shattered, institutions weakened and the illusion of a shared polity ripped away, we can see our politics, our society, for the bloody scrapping for … Read More


How We Got Here: The Disturbing Path that Leads to Child Prison Camps

Trump and Sessions are uniquely awful. But it’s also true that the road to this fresh hell was laid, at least in part, by Bush and Obama.

One of the fresh horrors this week: The Trump administration is considering housing immigrant children in tents at three Texas military bases. On one level, these tent cities, as they’ve been branded on social media, have a practical purpose. They … Read More


In Lupe Valdez, Greg Abbott Got the Candidate He Wanted

Abbott will spend lavishly to turn Valdez into a proxy for every other Democrat up and down the ballot.

Greg Abbott got the candidate he wanted after all. In the runoff to decide who will face Governor Abbott and his obscene stack of cash in November, deeply flawed candidate Lupe Valdez squeaked by the deeply flawed Andrew White. As … Read More


An Anti-Incumbent Mood for Democrats

Five House Democrats were either beat or forced into runoffs Tuesday.

A surprising number of incumbent House Democrats lost tonight, or are headed to runoffs. Here’s a run-down of five races where we saw upsets tonight: —Dawnna Dukes, who has long represented a rapidly gentrifying East Austin district, managed just 10 … Read More

2017 in Review

The Observer’s Best Features of 2017

The Observer’s Best Features of 2017 Our favorite longreads of the year. This year our writers delved deep into important topics virtually untouched by other Texas publications. From spotlighting social and environmental injustices to capturing the characters — artists, politicians … Read More