Justin Miller

Justin Miller is the politics reporter for the Observer. He previously covered politics and policy for The American Prospect in Washington, D.C., and has also written for The Intercept, The New Republic and In These Times. Follow him on Twitter or email him at [email protected].

Texas Politics

‘I’m in Limbo Here’: Texans Are Met with an Overwhelmed and Antiquated State Unemployment System

The safety net meant to support the second largest workforce in the country is using decades-old technology. The workforce agency was trying to replace it when the pandemic hit.

Four months ago, Alan Chastain moved from Louisiana to the Houston area for a promising new job as a sales representative at a sign company. By late March, Chastain had been let go. It wasn’t a shock; as the coronavirus … Read More

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, center, gives an update on the coronavirus, Friday, March 13, 2020, in Austin, Texas. Abbott declared a state of disaster Friday as the coronavirus pandemic spread to all of the state's biggest cities. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Texas Politics

A ‘Stay-at-Home’ Order by Any Other Name

At a time when clear and decisive action is paramount, Governor Greg Abbott has delayed, deferred, and equivocated, likely costing lives.

Twenty-six days after an elderly Fort Bend man became the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott convened a press conference at the Capitol. It was the last day of March, and Texas’ official case count … Read More

In this Oct. 22, 2018, file photo, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick speaks during a campaign rally in Houston. Patrick has been called away from his duties overseeing the opening of the state's legislative session for a meeting at the White House. Patrick headed Donald Trump's 2016 campaign in Texas and his trip to Washington comes as the president prepares to address the nation on the partial government shutdown sparked by a fight over funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Texas Politics

Texas Republicans’ Pandemic Performance Is True to Form

Dan Patrick performs for Fox News; Greg Abbott dithers; and John Cornyn defiantly refuses to log off.

On Monday evening, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick went on Fox News with Tucker Carlson and issued a call for the American economy to ramp back up in the very near-term, even if it means exposing vulnerable members of society, namely … Read More

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Texas Politics

Texas Democratic and Republican Parties Spar Over How to Hold Elections During a Pandemic

With primary runoffs two months from now, Dems want universal mail-in voting; Republicans want delayed elections; and local elections officials just want some guidance.

The coronavirus outbreak in the United States presents a seemingly endless number of systemic challenges. One big one: How do you hold elections in a pandemic? That’s an urgent question in Texas, where statewide primary runoffs are scheduled for May … Read More

An oil field south of Odessa, TX.

Coronavirus is Exposing the Faulty Foundations of the Texas Fracking Industry

The oil and gas sector was already having problems, but the fear and uncertainty around a global pandemic could end the Texas energy boom.

For the past few years, Texas has reaped the rewards of a huge oil boom centered on the shale formations in the Permian Basin. Companies gobbled up acreage across the region and expanded fracking operations at an unprecedented rate. West … Read More

Texas Politics

Henry Cuellar Prevailed Against Progressive Insurgency, But He Didn’t Go Unscathed

The resilient Blue Dog Democrat held on to his South Texas seat, but it was a much closer call than expected.

This article was produced in partnership with The Nation. A few hours after Jessica Cisneros voted at her local polling station—a Pep Boys auto shop near Laredo’s Sal Si Puedes neighborhood, where she grew up—the 26-year-old attorney began to knock … Read More

Bernie Sanders surrounded by supporters at a campaign rally in Texas.
Texas Politics

These Primary Races Will Test Texas’ Progressive Movement

Up and down the ballot, progressives are running up against establishment Democrats. The outcome could shape the future of politics in the state.

2018 offered a spark of hope for Democrats in Texas: Beto O’Rourke ran a competitive Senate campaign, and Dems flipped several reliably Republican congressional and legislative seats. Hoping to build that momentum in 2020, national groups have swooped in and … Read More

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, walks away after speaking with reporters outside of Speaker Pelosi's office about the agreement to take up the Senate border bill on Thursday, June 27, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
Texas Politics

The Party Pariah

How Henry Cuellar rose to power—and how he intends to stay there.

The Party Pariah How Henry Cuellar rose to power—and how he intends to stay there. * by Justin Miller February 28, 2020 Over the course of his nearly 35 years as a politician, Henry Cuellar has managed to piss off … Read More

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, talks with reporters in the senate subway before the continuation of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on Tuesday, January 28, 2020. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
Texas Politics

John Cornyn Bets Big on Trump

During the impeachment proceedings, Cornyn proved that his calculation is the same as the entire GOP’s: Live with Trump, die with Trump.

It’s become abundantly clear that U.S. Senator John Cornyn has no intention of distancing himself from Donald Trump, the man who will forever be immortalized in American history books as the third president to be impeached. Cornyn has proved to … Read More