Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Why Is Texas So Red, And How Did It Get That Way?

We all know Texas is a red state. Democrats haven't won a statewide election since 1994, and Republicans have carried the state in every presidential election since 1976. The question of how that came to be got Gilda Garcia wondering, so she asked TXDecides – our statewide public radio collaborative that's answering Texas voters' questions ahead of Election Day. "I remember growing up my parents talking about Texas being all Democratic – period," Garcia said. "So what happened?" In short, it...
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More Than a Yard Sign

As early voting begins, learn more about the Austin City Council candidates up for election.

So, yeah. This year has been a bummer for democracy. Like many of you, I’ve been avoiding political ads like I avoid I-35.

That is, until I saw a new ad from Gerald Daugherty, a moderate Republican running for re-election to the Travis County Commission’s Precinct Three seat. For those that don't know Daugherty, he's the lone conservative on the county commission. His main issue has been getting State Highway 45 Southwest built — which would connect FM 1626 in Hays County to MoPac in southwest Austin.

We might consider ourselves pretty savvy. We choose the "best" toothpaste, bottled water, or television set. We go to the movies we "want" to see, and listen to the music we like because it's "good".

What we might not take into consideration is how popularity fits into our value judgments about everything, from people and products to ideas and beliefs.

ColdTowne Theater has been a mainstay of the Austin comedy scene for a decade now, offering improv and comedy shows seven nights a week and also teaching the art of improv to hundreds of students. But it actually had its origins in New Orleans -- that's where ColdTowne was born, in 2005. They performed together in the Crescent City for a few months and then, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, several members fled New Orleans for Austin.

Here, ColdTowne was reborn in what had been a storage room. "The first student group was four folks that were taught in the back of dusty storage room that later became a theater," says managing director Erika McNichol. "It was a pretty humble beginning."

"And now we have hundreds of students at any given session," adds executive producer Dave Buckman. "A modest empire."

To celebrate ten years in Austin, Coldtowne will present special programming all next week, with a weekend-long celebration October 20 - 23 (individual tickets are available, as are badges that will get you into all the shows. There will be parties, roasts, awards, and reunion shows, in which ColdTowne alums from around the nation will return to celebrate. "It's amazing and sweet and beautiful," Buckman says, "being able to look back at ten years of... hundreds of people's accomplishments."

ColdTowne Theater's Ten Year Anniversary is October 20-23.


Texas leads the country in wind power generation. But solar power is starting to take off. As the industry grows, KUT’s Mose Buchele takes a look at what affect it might have on your electric bill.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Decades ago, the area around the intersection of 12th and Chicon streets was a central corridor in historically black East Austin, but over the years, drugs became a presence at the corner. Prostitution and other illegal activity happened in broad daylight there, and in 2012, Austin police took a new approach to the problem – what’s called a drug market intervention.

Jin Park remembers where he was when Donald Trump announced his presidential bid in June, 2015. He was alone in his Harvard dorm room and watching Trump on TV.

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best," Trump told the crowd at New York's Trump Tower, "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

Then he proposed a wall along the United States border with Mexico.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. /KUT News

The head of the largest Latino advocacy group in the U.S. says both major political parties in Texas dropped the ball on Latino voter outreach this year.

NIcholas Jon/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Dark money. Sounds evil, doesn't it?

For the past several years, the Texas Ethics Commission has been mired in an investigation of a group called Empower Texans, a right-leaning organization that pushes a limited government agenda and supports candidates who share its values but does not disclose its donors.

As the clock has ticked on a high-profile complaint against the group, concerns have grown over whether the Ethics Commission has what it takes to do its job of policing campaign money. 


John Harvey/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune:

Texas has a record-breaking 15 million people registered to vote ahead of the November election, the Secretary of State’s office announced Thursday.

Texas has 15,015,700 voters registered according to a preliminary estimate — over 777,000 more than were registered in time for the March primaries. The deadline to register to vote was Tuesday.

Andreas Praefcke/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)

From Texas Standard:

In Texas, tacos take priority. But what do you do when you can’t find a taco place? Here are a few taco joints to put in your taco emergency box.

Mando Rayo and Jarod Neece are two taco journalists traveling across Texas tasting every taco in sight for their new book, "The Tacos of Texas". They describe what is acceptable to do when you’re really desperate for a taco – turning to fast food tacos.