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].

abbott, legislature
Texas Politics

‘Mistakes Were Made’: Greg Abbott’s Non-Denial Denial on Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric

The governor spoke of a “course correction,” but it’s going to take a mighty swerve to steer away from the Texas GOP’s weaponization of viciously anti-immigrant rhetoric.

After a whole week dodging the matter, it took Governor Greg Abbott nearly five painfully long seconds of silent contemplation to conjure up the words “mistakes were made” in response to a reporter’s question about the fear-mongering fundraising letter his … Read More

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke walks on an international bridge to cross into Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019. O’Rourke has crossed the border into Mexico for the funeral of one of the 22 people killed in a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
Texas Politics

Beto’s Last Chance at a 2020 Revival

The confines of a traditional presidential primary campaign weren’t working for O’Rourke. In the wake of El Paso, he is embracing a new strategy.

After five months mired in the day-to-day grind of a struggling presidential campaign, the El Paso massacre shook something loose in Beto O’Rourke.  Two days after the shooting, which was carried out by a white supremacist who was motivated by … Read More

Ruth Ruggero Hughs
Texas Politics

Governor Abbott Swaps One Scandal-Scarred Secretary of State for Another

As Texas Workforce Commission chair, Ruth Hughs secretly coordinated with tech lobbyists to rewrite the rules of the gig economy. Now she’s in charge of state elections.

Earlier this year, Governor Greg Abbott ordered his longtime mentee and newly appointed Secretary of State David Whitley to purge the Texas voter rolls of suspected noncitizens. It was bungled from the start. Whitley’s office flagged nearly 100,000 registered voters … Read More

Protesters gather outside the federal court house, Monday, July 10, 2017, in San Antonio, where a redistricting trial is taking place. Federal courts earlier this year found that Texas passed election laws to purposefully discriminate against Hispanic and black voters and the trial starting today could redraw Texas voting maps before 2018 and bolster Democratic efforts to reclaim Congress.
Texas Politics

Republicans Come to Texas to Prepare for the 2021 Redistricting Battle

The right has an audacious plan to, once again, use the redistricting process to maintain power. At ALEC’s annual conference in Austin, Republican state legislators learned how to navigate the legal and political challenges that will likely arise.

Last week, more than 200 conservative state lawmakers from around the country packed into a hotel conference room in Austin for a panel session entitled “How to Survive Redistricting.” The verdict? As the panel of battle-hardened Republicans advised, it’s a … Read More

Texas Legislature

From Bon Temps to Bonnghazi: The Tale of Texas’ Embattled House Speaker

How Dennis Bonnen became the target of a lawsuit; a potential Texas Rangers investigation; and of the right, left, and middle.

Less than three months ago, Dennis Bonnen was on top of the world—or the Texas Capitol, at least. But in a stunning reputational about-face, the Texas House Speaker may soon have the Texas Rangers knocking on his front door with … Read More

Texas Politics

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez Enters the U.S. Senate Race

In taking on Senator John Cornyn, Tzintzún Ramirez, a progressive organizer, hopes to build on Beto O’Rourke’s 2018 campaign, mobilize Latinx voters, and finally prove that Texas progressives can win a statewide election.

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez, a longtime organizer of immigrant, worker, and Latinx communities, has pressured Texas politicians to enact progressive policies from the outside for years. Now, she’s looking to to enact change from within the system. On Monday morning, Tzintzún … Read More

evangelical, trump, jeffress

Texas Is at the Center of Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Facebook Ad Campaign

His reelection campaign has spent big money in Texas on a digital advertising effort, which includes more than 2,000 Facebook ads warning about an “invasion”—language used by the El Paso shooter.

President Donald Trump has doubled down on the use of Facebook advertising to promote his political message—one that is largely centered on fear-mongering about immigration, specifically that the country is facing an “invasion” at its Southern border. Now, the president’s … Read More

U.S. Senator John Cornyn
Texas Politics

John Cornyn’s Democratic Challengers Feel a Little Familiar

There’s a robust field of Democrats lining up to take on the state’s senior senator. The last time that happened was in 2002, when Cornyn first won the open seat.

When U.S. Senator John Cornyn was last up for re-election in 2014, the Texas Democratic Party was in a bad way. Just a month before the March primary, the party was warning Democrats not to support the leading Senate candidate, … Read More


The Cost of Carve-Outs

Lawmakers passed an omnibus school finance and property tax reform bill this session, but didn’t include a way to pay for it past 2021. One place to look: corporate tax breaks.

Just before Memorial Day weekend, lawmakers inked an $11.6 billion school finance and property tax reform package. The passage of House Bill 3, which includes a boost in state funding for schools, better teacher pay and a massive state buydown … Read More