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 Legislature

Michael Quinn Sullivan’s Recorded Conversation with Speaker Bonnen Exposes the Texas GOP for What It’s Always Been 

The secret recording confirms the cynicism, vindictiveness, and ugliness at the heart of the Republican politics.

In June, Empower Texans leader Michael Quinn Sullivan revealed that he had secretly recorded a meeting with House Speaker Dennis Bonnen during which, the right-wing hardliner alleged, the speaker presented  him with a quid pro quo proposition: the Speaker would … Read More

pete sessions, starkly contrasted in black and white with a dark red pattern intersecting his profile
Texas Politics

How Pete Sessions Became ‘Congressman-1’

The powerful former Dallas congressman and GOP leader was trying to swim back to the swamp. Instead, he got sucked into it.

Former Dallas Congressman Pete Sessions’ attempt at a political comeback in a new congressional district was already embattled. When Sessions announced his campaign for the 17th Congressional District in Waco in early October, some local Republicans said he was a … Read More

Sessions looks to be on the periphery of the impeachment investigation.
Texas Politics

As Pete Sessions Tries to Revive his Political Career, He May Get Sucked into Ukraine

The once-powerful Republican congressman is trying to claw his way back to Washington at a time when his allies in Trumpworld are under fire.

Former Congressman Pete Sessions stood behind a lectern at the McLennan County Republican Party headquarters in Waco, flanked by a man holding a campaign sign and a cardboard cutout of Donald Trump, and made it official: He was re-running for … Read More

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, participates in House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's media availability with the Chairman's Task Force on Counterterrorism and Homeland Security in the Capitol on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
Texas Politics

Mac Thornberry’s Retirement Leaves the Defense Industry With One Less Close Friend

The Panhandle congressman has been an unwavering hawk and a champion for bigger war budgets.

Mac Thornberry, a Panhandle Republican representing Texas’ 13th Congressional District, announced on Monday that he will not run for reelection. That makes him the sixth House Republican from the state to announce their retirement, a collective scramble for the exits … Read More

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., conducts a news conference after the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on March 13, 2018.
Texas Politics

Who Is John Cornyn Serving?

The senior senator from Texas has mastered the art of political subservience, making him very powerful—and perhaps vulnerable.

After 20 years in Washington, the senior senator from Texas has mastered the art of political subservience—first to the Republican establishment and now to Trump. It’s made him very powerful. But does it also make him vulnerable in 2020? * … Read More

UAW workers strike against GM in Dallas, September 2019

What the UAW Strike Looks Like, From Deep in the Heart of Anti-Union Texas

GM autoworkers from the Arlington plant, one of the company’s most profitable, are part of the largest strike against a U.S. business since 2007.

The sprawling General Motors Assembly Plant in Arlington, Texas, is a long way from Detroit and the Rust Belt, where both the modern American auto industry and labor movement took root. So when the national United Auto Workers (UAW) called … Read More

Ed Scruggs, Board Vice-Chair of Texas Gun Sense – Advocacy group that promotes common sense, right, listens to Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott, left, during a roundtable discussion to address safety and security at Texas schools in the wake of the shooting at Santa Fe, at the state Capitol in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Abbott, a Republican who has worked to expand gun rights in the state, called for the meetings as he weighs ideas for possible legislative action or executive orders. Two dozen groups were invited to attend the session, which was expected to include conversations on monitoring students' mental health. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Texas Politics

Why a Texas Gun Control Activist is Optimistic About the Chances for Reform

Texas Gun Sense’s Ed Scruggs on how Abbott and Patrick talk about guns behind closed doors—and what that says about the prospects for change.

Ed Scruggs has been on the frontlines of the battle to reform Texas’ gun laws ever since the Sandy Hook massacre. That 2012 tragedy galvanized a movement that has continued to grow in size and strength with each mass shooting … Read More

Illustration from: Bill Flores, Official Portrait, 112th Congress
Texas Politics

As Texodus Continues, Tom DeLay’s Tall Political Shadow Fades

Some of the biggest beneficiaries of the Hammer’s infamous gerrymandering in 2003 are bowing out of office—or facing huge reelection fights in 2020.

The so-called Texodus continues. On Wednesday morning, GOP Congressman Bill Flores announced he will not run for reelection in the 17th Congressional District in 2020. He is now the fifth member of the withering Texas GOP congressional delegation to call … Read More

In this Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, photo Crystal Harris, George Guerrero, and Curtis Patterson light candles in the shape of a cross on the ground of UTPB's quad in Odessa, Texas, to remember those who were killed in a shooting Saturday. (Ben Powell/Odessa American via AP)

After the Midland-Odessa Shooting, Texas Republicans Double Down on God and Guns Doctrine

After the second Texas mass shooting in a month, Democrats call for action while Republicans promise to protect the “God given rights” of gun ownership.

On Saturday afternoon, two state troopers pulled over a man in Midland, Texas, for apparently failing to use his turn signal. The driver grabbed his rifle and began shooting at the patrolmen, officials said, wounding one of them. From there, … Read More