DRC_Ken Herman

Ken Herman

OK, the festive holiday season’s in the rearview mirror (except for the credit card bills), and school’s back in session (except at the University of Texas, where classes don’t restart until Jan. 21).

So, folks, it’s time for a quiz. The subject is political science, which is a science the same way voodoo is.

We have March 3 primaries in the two major parties. (Does a group of Republicans actually constitute a “party”?) The ballots will have the names of lots of people running for lots of government paychecks.

The ballots also will have the always-semi-popular, never-binding propositions that the Democrats and Republicans put on their ballots because ... well, nobody really knows why they put them on their ballots.

In general, the props are there to buoy what we already know the parties believe in. They almost always pass overwhelmingly. They wouldn’t be put on the ballot if that wasn’t a sure thing.

Imagine the embarrassment if this prop failed: “Hey, we’re for the good stuff and against the bad stuff, right?”

Voters, unaware it is nonbinding nonsense, dutifully will vote on this nonbinding nonsense. This year, the Texas GOP wants to make sure its primary voters know it’s just a policy referendum. No, it’s not even that. Here’s the caveat on the GOP webpage listing of the props:

“Keep in mind that this is an opinion poll of Republican voters and not a policy referendum. When you vote YES or NO, you are telling us what you think should happen. You are not voting to make a law but merely saying you agree or disagree with the statement.”

This is aimed at ex-Californians who are used to ballot props that bind (that didn’t come out sounding good). You know, like, “Should the wearing of corduroy continue to be illegal prior to Labor Day?”

In 2018, Texas Democrats put 12 props on their primary ballot. None got less than 92% support. The Republicans had 11, some that produced somewhat surprising results. Only 68% said, “I believe abortion should be abolished in Texas.” This was unusual because many Republicans believe in fetal voting rights.

So that’s some history to prep you for today’s prop quiz. Here’s the way it’s going to work. The Democrats have 11 props. The Republicans have 10. I’m going to list some without telling you which ballot they’re on. You must discern which is which.

This should be easy, assuming you’ve been paying any attention to politics for the past 100 years or so:

Texas should not restrict or prohibit prayer in public schools.

Should everyone in Texas have the right to live a life free from violence — gun violence, racial hatred, terrorism, domestic violence, bullying, harassment or sexual assault — so Texans can grow in a safe environment?

Texas should reject restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms.

Should there be a just and fair comprehensive immigration reform solution that includes an earned path to citizenship for law-abiding immigrants and their children, keeps families together, protects DREAMers, and provides workforce solutions for businesses?

Texas should support the construction of a physical barrier and use existing defense-grade surveillance equipment along the entire southern border of Texas.

Texas should ban chemical castration, puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and genital mutilation surgery on all minor children for transition purposes, given that Texas children as young as 3 are being transitioned from their biological sex to the opposite sex.

Should everyone in Texas have the right to high-quality public education from pre-K to 12th grade, and affordable college and career training without the burden of crushing student loan debt?

Should everyone in Texas have the right to economic security, where all workers have earned paid family and sick leave, training to prepare for future economies, and a living wage that respects their hard work?

Texas election officials should heed the directives of the office of the governor to purge illegal voters from the voter rolls and verify that each new registered voter is a U.S. citizen.

Should every eligible Texan have the right to vote, made easier by automatic voter registration, the option to vote by mail, guaranteed early and mobile voting stations, and a state election holiday, free from corporate campaign influence, foreign and domestic interference and gerrymandering?

Texans should protect and preserve all historical monuments, artifacts, and buildings, such as the Alamo Cenotaph and our beloved Alamo, and should oppose any reimagining of the Alamo site.

Should everyone in Texas have the right to a life of dignity and respect, free from discrimination and harassment anywhere, including businesses and public facilities, no matter how they identify, the color of their skin, whom they love, socioeconomic status, disability status, housing status, or from where they come?

Should everything in Texas, including and especially donuts, be provided at no cost by government?

Government at all levels should shut down next Thursday. Permanently. And anyone not as good-looking as me should be sent elsewhere. Permanently.

Answers: The ones that begin with “should” and are in question form are Dem props. The ones in declarative statement format are GOP props.

Except for two that I made up. Extra credit if you can pick those out.

KEN HERMAN is a featured columnist for the Austin American-Statesman.

Recommended for you