Every Friday morning at 8:30AM, I join the Cardle & Woolley show, Talk 1370 Radio, in Austin to pick the week’s top Winners & Losers. We run the gambit from public policy and political trends to sports and culture in Texas, America and the world.

Here’s my list for the week ending June 21.

The first big winner is Sen. Ted Cruz who is up 11 points in the latest Texas Polling Project poll. Cruz also reeled in a million dollar donation from casino mogul Miriam Adelson, which should help him fend off the millions Democrats are planning to spend to try to beat him. Finally, in a week when national Democrats have been pushing the idea of “cheap fakes” to suggest that video footage of President Joe Biden’s campaign stumbles aren’t real, Cruz introduced legislation to protect against the actual deep fakes that are being used to victimize women and girls.

The same poll that has Cruz up double digits also found that Republicans say immigration is the biggest threat the country is currently facing while Democrats say that it is the “threat to democracy” – whatever that means. Texas Democrats may not have noticed that Gavin Newsom, Governor of the biggest blue state in America, is a pretty big threat to democracy himself. He went to court this week to take away the citizens’ right to vote on tax increases. At Newsom’s urging the California Supreme Court took a ballot initiative petition off the ballot that had been signed by over a million people who say they are drowning under California’s tax burden. The Court said the anti-tax increase initiative would “upend the way government works.”  Seriously? Pretty sure that was the point of the petition. Newsom is on the losers list.

In other California news, a mayoral debate in San Francisco this week featured incumbent Mayor London Breed asking her opponent to name three drag queens and to provide a list of LGBTQ+ advisors to his campaign. Breed’s challenger, Mark Farrell, declined although he said he has two staffers in the “queer community.” San Francisco was also named the worst run city in the country this week. Perhaps Mayor Breed believes having a list of drag queens at your fingertips is key to the Golden Gate City making a comeback. Put them all on the losers list.

Texans also picked their own winners and losers on that new Texas Polling Project poll. They told pollsters that the institutions they view most favorably are first, local businesses, then the military, the police and churches. Texas state government and municipal government tied for the last spot in the top five, which will be a blow to all those local governments who try to paint state government as the villain. In terms of losers, Texans put corporations based outside the United States at the bottom of the worst five, followed by the criminal justice system, the federal government and the news media.

It’s not clear what to make of the news that the University of Texas at Austin fired about 20 communications staffers this week. According to an anonymous source, the employees were told they were being pushed out so the university could focus on “managing reputational issues and crises” presumably which resulted after UT called the Dept. of Public Safety onto the campus to stop the encampment of pro-terrorist protesters earlier this year. Many professors at UT were also upset after the university fired dozens of DEI staff in order to comply with state law which bans the racially divisive programs. However, despite the wailing from the UT faculty, both those actions likely boosted the reputation of the state’s premier university. Polling conducted for the American Council of Trustees and Alumni found that almost 70% of Texans supported bringing in state police to stop campus encampments. Similarly, TPPF conducted polling in April which found that 68 percent of Texans – including African American and Hispanic Texans – do not believe there should be special programs like DEI for black, Hispanic or gay students.

Counting it as a win for former president Donald Trump when the New York Times reported last week that if everyone who is eligible to vote in the upcoming presidential election voted, Trump would win by 14 points. Elections are always about turnout, so this number doesn’t matter much in the horse race.  What is important about this data is that it exposes the liberal lie that conservative legislation, like requiring photo voter identification at the polls, suppresses Democrat voters. Texas Democrats have been saying for years that “Texas isn’t a red state, it’s a non-voting state.”  Perhaps now they will take a look and see if their woke policy platform might be why they consistently lose elections.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated this week that the federal budget deficit will jump to $1.9 trillion this year, a 27% increase from the February estimate. Almost half the increase is a result of Joe Biden’s policies on student loan repayment and his massive student loan forgiveness – one of the policies that keeps the president on the loser list. To understand how this works in real life, Ben Kamens, who works for a Democrat congresswoman, tweeted this week: “Just got a call to let me know my student debt has been canceled. This is why elections matter. Thanks Joe Biden.”

Outraged folks dived into the internet to find that Kamens reportedly makes $80K a year and his loan was already being repaid by a federal employee loan repayment program. We’ll add Kamens, whose salary is also paid by taxpayers, to the loser list too for his massive demonstration of cluelessness.

The same kind of cluelessness was visible in Fort Worth this week when at least four City Council members proposed raising the minimum wage for all city employees to twenty dollars an hour – a move that would cost $117 million and almost surely result in a property tax increase for Fort Worth taxpayers.

For a winner who understands that our tax dollars belong to us, we turn to former Vice President Mike Pence, who pledged $10 million this week to fight the repeal of the Trump Tax Cuts which are set to expire in 2025. Trump’s newest tax cut idea, to end taxes on tips is also a winner idea.

Finally, I don’t know if it’s true or not, but if TNT commentator Charles Barkley is really retiring that will be a loss for us all. Barkley is all over the map at times, but his funny and fearless observations on the state of the country extend far beyond basketball. Let’s hope it’s just a head fake.

Have a great weekend.


Sherry Sylvester is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and the former Senior Advisor to Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.

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