Turning Point, or More of the Same? Texas Perspectives on Last Night’s Debate

Editors from three Texas city newspapers – Victoria, Midland and McAllen – read the reactions of their cities after the second presidential debate.

By Texas StandardOctober 10, 2016 11:53 am,

“Sorry Donald. I’m done with you. Completely.”

Tony Buzbee, a Houston-area Trump backer, hosted a fundraiser for him in June and posted his public ire on Facebook Friday after video surfaced of Trump describing his way with women that sounds an awful lot like sexual assault. Buzbee’s among the deep-pocketed Trump supporters in Texas who have pulled their support of Trump.

The Texas Tribune reported that over the weekend other backers in Texas began to flee in earnest: a group in San Antonio pulled the plug on one of three fundraisers the Republican nominee had scheduled in Texas this week.

Though prominent Texas Republicans who support Donald Trump – including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Gov. Greg Abbott and both U.S. Senators – shouted words of disgust over Trump’s apparent admission of sexual assault, none withdrew their endorsements. Then, last night, came the debate.

Though neither side gained much, America might have lost a whole lot along the way. We wanted to know how this was playing out in places that don’t have the microphone of the bigger cities, so as we did after the last debate we turns to the editors of three daily newspapers in some smaller Texas towns. (Note: We hit a brick wall finding female editors of daily papers in smaller Texas towns who were available to speak with us. After all, it has been an extremely busy news cycle.)

Carlo Sanchez, editor of the McAllen Monitor:

“I indeed believe this weekend was a turning point in the campaign… For the first time, people were being very candid and I think they were voicing support for Hillary Clinton that they had not voiced before. There were certainly cynics who voiced concern about the political process overall, but I am seeing evidence for the first time this week of people being emboldened enough to denounce Trump and to show support for Hillary, at least here in South Texas.”

Stewart Doreen, editor of the Midland Reporter Telegram:

“I have always been wondering if there’s any undecideds here in Midland because it’s hard to find that person. They certainly don’t want to necessarily vote for Hillary Clinton. Her energy policy — and again it was demonstrated late last night in the debate — was not what Midlanders expect in the next president. But some are having at least difficulty publicly supporting Trump… We still think a good over-under on what Donald Trump is going to pull in Midland will be closer to 70.”

Chris Cobbler, editor of the Victoria Advocate:

“I can speak best for the Victoria area where we vote Republican about 2 to 1…. Our online poll, which is certainly not scientific, indicated that about 2 to 1 people thought Trump won that debate. Certainly, we’ve got Democrats in the area that are very much against Trump at all costs… but I don’t see it changing at least the vote in the Republican Victoria area.”