Wade Goodwyn

At an event Wednesday night, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was met by about 150 protesters who oppose the Senate's efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. On a hot evening, they stood outside a hotel in McKinney, a north Dallas suburb, shouting "shame on Ted" and "save Medicaid."

The by-invitation, town hall-style event was held one day after the senator's appearance in McAllen was disrupted by protesters concerned about health care as well as immigration.

President Trump wants to revive a program that deputizes local law enforcement to help federal immigration agents cast a wider net.

It's part of his vow to increase deportations of unauthorized immigrants.

Kristen Hotopp stands in the front yard of her well-worn East Austin home, where she has lived for the past 17 years. She points across the street at an attractive, nearly new, two-story home — by far the nicest on the block.

"There are two units on this lot," Hotopp says. "There's a house in the back that's smaller and a house upfront. We're getting investors descending upon the area and buying up a lot of these properties."

Abortion rights activists on Monday filed a challenge in federal court to stop Texas' new rules requiring health clinics to bury all fetal remains from abortions and miscarriages.

Last year, the Texas legislature approved a $350 million cut in Medicaid reimbursement rates to early childhood intervention therapists and providers. The cuts, made to help balance a billion dollars in property tax relief, affect the most vulnerable Texas children — those born extremely prematurely or with Down syndrome or other genetic conditions that put them at risk for developmental delay.

It's called sticking to your guns to the noble and bitter end, and it's almost certainly what the Senate majority is going to do when it comes to refusing to even consider President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland.

Polls show the presidential race in Texas is closer than it's been in decades, some even showing the two candidates within the margin of error.

Does Hillary Clinton actually stand a chance in Texas? It's unlikely, but it could be closer than at any time in the last 20 years. The reason for how competitive the race looks lies in two demographic groups — Republican-leaning suburban women offended by Trump's comments about women and Latinos, who are fired up to vote against him.

Suburban women cool to Trump

They congregated in VFW halls and sports bars, private homes and the back rooms of restaurants — Americans gathered to watch Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump finally go toe to toe.

Or to see how the Atlanta Falcons fared against the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome.

One contest or the other, the seductive glow of large flat panels drew more than the usual contingent of moths to their Monday night flames.

The Clinton crowd

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

"My friends, it's Saturday night, this is an emergency transmission. Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia died earlier today at a ranch outside Big Bend in South Texas. ... The question is, was Anthony Scalia murdered?"

So begins conservative talk show host Alex Jones' Internet video. Jones then quickly answered his dramatic query "Has the Bill of Rights and the Constitution been murdered?" Yes, he says, yes they have.

For the past five years, the Texas Legislature has done everything in its power to defund Planned Parenthood. But it's not so easy to target that organization without hurting family planning clinics around the state generally.

Of the 82 clinics that have closed, only a third were Planned Parenthood.

That the freshman senator from Texas had a good night onstage at the latest Republican debate surprises nobody anymore — Ted Cruz is poised, articulate and smart. He's gaining ground in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, and he's positioning himself to capture supporters from Donald Trump or Ben Carson, should either falter. There's still a long way to go in this contest, but Cruz and his campaign are well-funded, well-organized and confident in his ability to outlast and overtake his rivals.

To walk into Ted Cruz's holding room at the National Religious Liberties Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, on Friday afternoon was to walk into quite the group of happy campers.

With a friendly motion and a quick smile, the Republican Senator from Texas, looking relaxed in short sleeves, his foot up on the coffee table, waves you over to the chair beside him. It's just the tiniest bit unnerving, the notion flashes across your mind, "He knows I'm with NPR, right?"

When you don't know the facts of a given incident, it's human nature to attempt to fill them in yourself. But in the case of Bowe Bergdahl, there's no way you could concoct the narrative the Army's two-month investigation uncovered.

According to the testimony of Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl, who led the 22-member team during the investigation, Bergdahl, who was a private first class at the time, quietly slipped away from his bunk and sneaked out of Forward Operating Post Mest in eastern Afghanistan on the night of June 30, 2009.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Army Sgt. Robert "Bowe" Bergdahl will be in a military courtroom in Texas Thursday, for the start of a hearing that will determine if he will face a court-martial on desertion and other charges. He could face a sentence of life in prison.

Whether the military proceeds with a court-martial will hinge, in part, on the events of the night of June 30, 2009. That's when Bergdahl went missing from his unit's outpost in a remote part of eastern Afghanistan.

Donald Trump's rallies tend to feel more like a playoff game or music concert than electoral politics. There's an expectation of entertainment — older couples are dressed up, and people are friendly and excited. Monday night's large rally at a basketball arena in Dallas was no exception.

"He's telling me everything I want to hear. I'm for change; I'm fed up with the 30 years of empty suits in Washington," said Brian Markum, an energy consultant who came to the rally with his wife.

The seeds of calamity for Rick Perry were sown years ago in the fertile political ground that Texas became for the Republican Party.

Perry suspended his campaign for president Friday evening, becoming the first candidate this year to get out of the crowded race for president. It was his second failed bid for the White House after leaving as Texas' longest-serving governor.

Tuesday, Rick Perry's campaign announced it could no longer pay his staffers around the country and released them to find other work. His fundraising had dried up. It's potentially an ignominious end to a noteworthy political career that spanned more than 30 years.

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