Time for Texas Dems to talk about pot legalization


A new poll from Quinnipiac on Texas certain to lift liberals’ hopes for the future. Highlights:

Ted Cruz only leads Beto O’Rourke 47-44

Greg Abbott leads Lupe Valdez 49-40; Abbott leads Andrew White 48-41

Majority disapprove of Trump: 52-43

Voters oppose building border wall: 53-43

Overwhelming majority says Dreamers should stay: 79-15

Most believe undocumented don’t take jobs from citizens: 65-32

Most believe undocumented not more likely to commit crimes: 67-24

More disapprove of tax law: 45-43

53 percent support ban on assault weapons

94 percent support universal background checks

61 percent support allowing adults to possess small amounts of marijuana

57 percent believe abortion should be legal in either “most cases” or “all cases”

There were two questions that did not elicit liberal-friendly responses. Voters support using the National Guard on the border, 60-37, and 49 percent of voters want to repeal Obamacare, compared to 45 who want to keep it.

I have a hunch that this poll skews a little more liberal than reality. But even if we assume that reality is a few percentage points to the right, the fact is that Texas public opinion is nowhere near as rigidly conservative as the current crop of state political leaders would suggest.

If nothing else, the responses on immigration, marijuana and abortion show that there is a large population of Republicans whose views are completely unrepresented by their party leaders.

Of course, at least on the issue of pot legalization, the distance is even greater between Democratic voters and their party leaders. Dem voters overwhelmingly support legalization (69 percent), while most Democratic elected officials still won’t touch the issue with a 30-foot pole.

The reluctance of Democrats to embrace marijuana reform continues to befuddle me. The key to turning the tide in Texas and nationally is to dramatically increase voter turnout, particularly among young people, who typically sit out midterm elections. Beto has the right idea on that front; he knows that his strong advocacy for ending the war on drugs will lose him next to nothing in terms of support but may very likely catch the attention of people who might otherwise not vote and it might even convince some conservative/libertarian types to vote Democratic.

Meanwhile, Lupe Valdez is hesitant/evasive on the issue while Andrew White is completely stuck in the 90’s. The only candidate in that race who has it figured out is Jeffrey ‘Mister Leather’ Payne.

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