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Eric Gay / AP

The New Yorker's Lawrence Wright, who lives in Austin and has lived in Texas most of his life, goes all-in with the idea that, "America's Future Is TEXAS: The state's exploding population, immigration crackdowns, waning white influence, aggressive redistricting, brutal reproductive laws, and rapidly shifting politics make it a bellwether of the country."

In another tease, the magazine throws in "right-wing zealots taking over the legislature even as the state's demographics shift leftward." A taste of the tour de force (23 pages in the magazine):

  • "Texas has been growing at a stupefying rate for decades. The only state with more residents is California, and the number of Texans is projected to double by 2050, to 54.4 million, almost as many people as in California and New York combined."
  • "Texas has always had a burlesque side to its politics. The columnist Molly Ivins made a national reputation as a humor writer by lampooning the people we elect to office."
  • "The obsession with California puzzles me. I play the keyboards in a blues band, and our drummer has a sticker on his kit saying 'Stop Californication of Texas Music.' ... The newspapers often feature gloating stories about the number of Californians fleeing to Texas (eight per day to Austin alone), as an indication of the vast superiority of the Texas way of life."
  • "Politicians seldom pay a price for the damage that their legislation may do in the name of popular causes, such as declaring war or slashing taxes at the expense of vital social programs."
  • "The relationship between the capitol and the city of Austin is antagonistic. The city has long been known as a blue dot in a red state. It sees itself as standing apart from the vulgar political culture of the rest of Texas, like Rome surrounded by the Goths."

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - World

North Korea claims latest missile test new weapon launched from submarine

North Korean state media claims the country's military fired this missile on Tuesday. Photo: Korean Central News Agency

North Korean state media announced that a detected ballistic missile launch off its east coast on Tuesday was a newly developed weapon test-fired from a submarine.

Why it matters: Pyongyang's latest in a series of recent missile launches into the sea happened hours after U.S. officials emphasized their commitment to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which have stalled since talks broke down during the Trump administration, AP notes.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's massive means test

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is offering progressives a trade: He'll vote for their cherished social programs if they accept strict income caps for the recipients, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Manchin’s plan to use so-called means-testing for everything from paid family medical leave to elder and disabled care would drastically shrink the size and scope of the programs. It also would bring a key moderate vote to the progressive cause.

The China whisperer

Nick Burns. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee for ambassador to China will face aggressive questioning Wednesday about the most important, and potentially perilous, bilateral relationship in the world.

Why it matters: While Nick Burns is an experienced diplomat with support on both sides of the aisle, lawmakers want to use his confirmation hearing to force the administration into some tough positions on China.