TCU historian Max Krochmal made news in late September for an opinion he wrote in Fort Worth Weekly, calling on the city’s school board to extend virtual learning amid the coronavirus pandemic. The opinion piece struck a chord within the community, and appeared in two Star-Telegram articles. Krochmal, an avid participant in community affairs and local politics, and an award-winning scholar of race and history, spoke to me about what’s at stake for North Texas as the 2020 election reaches its final days.
The Most Pressing Issues
Among the most pressing issues facing Texans in this election, Krochmal cites immigration, police reform, and labor issues.
Early this summer, protests rocked the region as outrage over recent police killings of unarmed Black citizens reached a fever pitch. In a September study by the Pew Research Center, 86% of Black adult respondents said they felt our country had “not gone far enough” in giving the Black community equal rights to white people.
“There’s huge masses of African Americans and Latinos who are concerned about basic civil rights and civil liberties, humane treatment and freedom from racism, and I think more broadly, lots of people in Texas who work for a living are tired of being trampled on by economic elites and Trump certainly represents them well,” he said.
Throughout our interview, Krochmal stressed the importance of paying attention to and voting in local elections, though he doesn’t think Democrats “put up the best candidate” in Air Force veteran MJ Hegar to run against John Cornyn for his seat in the United States Senate.
When I spoke with Hegar in August, she was enthusiastic about “bringing the voice of the everyday Texan to the table,” over what she called “rich and powerful special interests.”
Under The Radar Races
Another key race, Krochmal says, is the race for Sheriff in Tarrant County. Democrat Vance Keyes is facing off against incumbent Republican Bill Waybourn, a strong proponent of border security and DWI enforcement.
Keyes, a Black man, wants more transparency between government officials and their constituents, and does not believe in incarcerating nonviolent offenders or people with substance abuse or mental illness problems.
As far as statewide government, the historian has been paying attention to the office of Texas AG Ken Paxton, who was recently hit with a new round of allegations, among them being abuse of office and bribery.
“[Paxton] is already facing indictment for securities fraud and has been stonewalling the justice process at every phase for years now, so I’m not surprised to see more accusations leveled against him,” Krochmal said.
Paxton’s term does not end until 2023, and in that interim, the professor said he isn’t optimistic about the attorney general being removed from office or choosing to resign.
With voter turnout already reaching record highs, and the total in Dallas County alone standing at 464,759 early voters, the most important thing Krochmal says the public can do to protect against chaos on Election Day is to vote early.
“The earlier one votes, that vote can be counted and stored somewhere safely and secured, and have it not come down to election day.”
Early voting runs now through Friday, October 30th, and Election Day is Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020.
To find your polling location and other election information, visit www.VoteTexas.gov