Every Friday morning at 8:30AM, I join Cardle & Woolley show, Talk 1370 Radio, in Austin to pick the week’s Winners & Losers. It runs the gambit from public policy and political trends to sports and culture in Texas, America and the world.  The last week in May, 2024, includes major winners and losers who will impact Texas and America for years to come—and maybe even change the course of our history. Considering all that, here’s who made my list.

The biggest loser is the New York City justice system. I lived in New York City for over a decade, where I worked around the media, politics and the criminal justice system so I am not surprised that the Judge and the District Attorney sold their souls, along with any semblance of ethics or integrity, in order to deliver a guilty verdict to former President Donald Trump. Using the court system to attack a presidential candidate will further erode trust in the America’s legal system, as well as the widening conviction among Americans that the justice system is rigged. This is particularly true in New York City, where robbery and shop lifting go unpunished and illegal immigrants can punch out police officers and get free tickets out of town.  I spoke to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who was in the court room on the last day of the trial. He talks about biased rulings of Judge Juan Merchan in his instructions to the jury and the corruption of the judicial process. Click here to watch the interview.

There’s lots of speculation about how the verdict will impact Trump’s presidential campaign. Most of it is wrong, because the answer is unknowable. The biggest advantage for the former president is that he is still running against Joe Biden. Biden has been pronounced too feeble to go to trial for his classified documents crimes, but even though he got the guilty verdict against Trump that he wanted, he still has to explain the high cost of living, the border invasion, inflation and a couple of very awful wars that have happened on his watch. Biden is on the losers list again this week for many of the same old things—he released a million barrels of oil from the Northeast Gas Reserve, for example, telling voters it would lower the cost of gas. Americans use 9 million barrels of gasoline daily, so a million barrels will have virtually no impact.

The verdict will super-charge Trump into hyper-campaign mode, and no one who is paying attention would bet against Trump, who is still the odds on favorite to win the election, according to the Las Vegas Review (although the odds dropped a little after the verdict.) We’ll see what the polls like look over the next few days after news of the guilty verdict sinks in. It is important to remember that the polls will also determine how the verdict plays out. Sentencing is scheduled for July 11 and legal experts say it is unlikely that a 78 year-old first offender would be sent to jail for a white collar crime, but Judge Merchan has made it clear that the law, legal precedent, fairness and decency don’t really matter in this case. If Trump is still ahead of Biden in the polls, the judge will put him in the slammer.

Robert DeNiro is a loser for showing  up outside the New York City courtroom ranting about Trump, but he created a winner—the New York Post, which followed the actor’s tantrum with the front page headline, Raging Bullsh*t. Conservative media outlets in Texas are getting stronger and better all the time, but we really need a good tabloid.

Despite the dark times at the national level, we must acknowledge the big win in Tuesday’s Run-Off Election by Gov. Greg Abbott in defeating those in the Texas House who voted against school choice in the last session. Abbott put his money where his mouth is to defeat 11 incumbents who had repeatedly voted with the teachers unions instead of Texas children. Adding the new members to the pro-parental choice challengers who were also elected with Abbott’s help when 9 incumbents retired, support for school choice is virtually assured next session and Texas can join 33 other states where school choice programs have improved educational outcomes for children from kindergarten to high school. The big losers in this fight are the Texas teachers unions, which have demonstrated again and again that its members don’t really care about student outcomes. They are fighting to protect a system where fully 50 percent of the students are performing below grade level.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is also on the winners list for taking a stand on his wife’s right to fly whatever flag she wants. He’s joined by Chief Justice John Roberts who ignored Senate Democrats who said they need to meet with the justices because the flags have created an “ethics crisis” on the high court. Chief Justice Roberts pointed out that it would be inappropriate for the justices to meet with members of one party and appeared to stand by Alito who has no intention of recusing himself in any election cases because of the flags flying over his house. After this week it is hard to imagine any more appropriate display than George Washington’s Appeal to Heaven flag.

The State GOP Convention is on the loser list for a proposal to close Texas primary elections to prohibit Democrats from crossover voting and allowing the 62 people on the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) to “censure” an office holder and thereby block him or her from appearing on the ballot for two years. If this sounds a lot like those efforts in several Democrat states to keep Trump off the ballot, that’s because it is.  GOP convention-goers also want to create a kind of Texas electoral college that would require statewide office holders to not just win the popular vote, but to win a majority in half of Texas 254 counties.

Closing the primaries would prove to be a logistical nightmare for Texas. In states with closed primaries that register by political party, registration is managed by the government, not by political parties, as is proposed by the Texas GOP resolution. The Texas proposal will require voters to register four months in advance, excluding thousands of people moving into the state before the election and making military ballots dicey. In states with closed primaries, it ends up making little difference because a huge percentage of the electorate registers as independent.

The censure proposal and the Texas electoral college are not likely to make it through the courts, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do damage to Republicans. Normal Americans do not respond favorably to these kinds of abuses of power and they aren’t necessary.

Conservatives win elections in Texas and America because we have the best ideas—we are right on the economy, we are right on the border, we are right on education and we are gaining ground in the culture war as more and more people see the idiocy of woke policies. Closing down our elections is not a good strategy, even in the short term, and it is disastrous for the long term. The phrase I heard over and over again at the Republican convention is “we have to hold our elected officials accountable.” I totally agree—and we just did. Just ask the 11 incumbents who were defeated for voting against school choice. It’s called an election.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s popularity is increasing in Israel, undoubtedly after he ignored directions from Biden and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on how to fight the war against the Hamas terrorists. Clearly a winning move for Netanyahu and a bad political call the other month by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer who said Netanyahu had “lost his way.”

We cannot fail to acknowledge that Houston was named the dirtiest city in America making it a loser by taking the crown away from that perennial hellhole, Newark, New Jersey.  This is a really black mark for the iconic Darrel the Barrel, most recently immortalized by Ethan Hawke in this great video. Houstonites need to pull it together. Don’t Mess with Texas!

Closing out with the great news that we’ve got a Texas team in the NBA finals. The Dallas Mavericks are up against the Boston Celtics. Game 1 is next Thursday night. Let’s go Mavs!

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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