Analyzing 2020: Some things Texans didn’t expect

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Former aides for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton alleged their boss had broken the law by using the agency to serve the interests of a political donor and friend, Nate Paul, an Austin real estate investor. Credit: Reuters/Bill Clark

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You don’t expect the top executives in the state attorney general’s office to turn on their boss, telling the agency and law enforcement that Ken Paxton has been doing favors for a political donor that have crossed the line into bribery and abuse of office. But it happened in 2020. You wouldn’t expect the most popular politician in the state’s majority party to get in trouble with members of his own party’s self-styled Liberty wing. But Greg Abbott is, in fact, out of tune with that bunch, including the Texas GOP’s chairman. And 2020 brought some non-political news with it, too, finally bringing some light to Texans who, for reasons of technology and money, don’t have access to the high-speed internet they need to go to school, to work and even to the doctor during a pandemic. Here are some of my columns on subjects I didn’t expect to be writing about last year.

Ken Paxton faces a predicament familiar to Texas attorneys general

Four of the seven Texas attorneys general since 1972 have gone on to higher office, one stalled and one went to prison. Ken Paxton, the current AG, is in a situation now that could determine which way his career will go. Oct. 6

Ken Paxton, Texas’ top lawyer, plays for an audience of one

Attorney General Ken Paxton's challenge to the election results in four other states baffles many lawyers, but President Donald Trump likes it. Dec. 10

Coronavirus splits Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and his own party

Voting in the 2020 general election starts in Texas in less than three weeks. But the governor's responses to the coronavirus have strained Republican unity. Sept. 25

Texas Republicans and Allen West, their nettlesome party animal

Republican officeholders couldn't have had a better election in Texas this year, but they've still got noisy and loud critics — inside their own political party. Nov. 11

A digital divide with dire consequences for Texas

The new coronavirus has forced Texans online for education, commerce, work and entertainment. But a third of the state's residents don't have broadband in their homes. April 1

Shopping for students without schoolrooms, Texas is spending $250 million to narrow the digital divide

In a state where an estimated 30% of the state's 5.5 million public school students don't have the right technology for online learning, switching to virtual classrooms is daunting. And expensive. Aug. 14