The Democrat circus came to Houston Thursday and it produced several stories. Locals were subjected to road closures, environmental extremists protesting the fossil fuel industry by hanging from a major bridge and shutting down the Houston Ship Channel, and there was a Trump re-election campaign event that was an outreach exercise to Latino voters. Oh yeah, there was a plane in the sky dragging an anti-socialism banner behind it, too.

The Democrat debate was mostly a snoozefest so these other stories made some headlines, too. Remember the story that the Trump re-election campaign was paying small planes to fly over swing state beaches during Labor Day weekend carrying Trump-Pence 2020 banners? A plane carried the message that “Socialism will kill Houston’s economy!” along with a number to text. The campaign paid about $7500 to fly the banner between the hours of 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., ending an hour before the debate began. It’s a clever, inexpensive way to get attention for the Trump campaign and it should be used often in all parts of the country, in my opinion.

The most daunting action was taken by Greenpeace U.S.A. as members hung from the Fred Hartman Bridge in order to create chaos on the Houston Ship Channel. The bridge is a cable-stayed bridge that spans the Houston Ship Channel, a part of the Port of Houston, one of the busiest seaports in the world. They shut down commuter and commercial traffic crossing the bridge – including a vehicular accident that sent people to the hospital during morning rush traffic at 6:30 a.m. when the protesters’ van came to a sudden stop in the middle of a lane. Twelve “spotters” rappelled over the side and hung from the bridge. Hours later they were arrested.

It took a while for the arrests to be made. The protesters chose their spot to send a message to the fossil fuel industry while all eyes were on Houston, the energy capitol of the world. Instead, the protesters were cooling their heals in jail while Big Oil got back to business. Most of the protesters were from out of state, by the way, and ill-equipped to deal with the heat and humidity. They were arrested one by one peacefully and Sheriff Gonzalez said some even acted relieved to be brought down. You have to stay hydrated in Houston’s heat, kids. It took a while to bring them down because law enforcement had to determine exactly what the protesters had in their backpacks and the logistics of the situation.

He said most of the protesters were cooperative while they were being taken into custody. Gonzalez said the ones who were not cooperative were not combative, they just didn’t comply with commands. All 12 spotters were arrested peacefully, the sheriff said.

Authorities said the major concern was the safety of the citizens and protesters.

The bridge was closed for hours as the protesters were arrested. Gonzalez said it took a while to assess the situation because they had to evaluate the safety of the group’s rope system and determine if they had anything dangerous in their bags, and also had to figure out how to get them down safely since they were tethered to each other horizontally.

Protesters hanging from that bridge is very unusual. Local law enforcement said they didn’t have advance warning of the protest. My husband, an engineer in the oil and gas industry for well over 30 years, was interested in checking out their rope work as he was a spelunker, back in the day. Mission accomplished, though. Greenpeace extemists made a splash Thursday and disrupted the ship channel. Wait until the young activists find out how ropes, sunglass frames, and lots of their other supplies are made. Thanks, fossil fuels!

Thursday afternoon the Trump re-election campaign held an event in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. “Vamos to Victory” was organized as an outreach event on behalf of the campaign and these events will be held in other cities in the lead-up to the election. While the majority of Latino voters voted for Hillary in 2016, Trump does have some solid support from them in Texas. Older voters favor conservative views on social issues and are happy with the economy. Younger voters vote with the Democrats. With Texas’ changing demographics, this block of voters is important in elections.

The event included a panel discussion featuring Republican National Committee Chairman Ronna McDaniel and National Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany from the Trump campaign. A training session focused on training Latino activists to register others to vote.

The political differences among Hispanics here are often generational and ideological, a contrast between longtime Mexican American citizens who tend to embrace a traditional Republican message of self-reliance and a younger group dismayed by the president’s broad disparagement of Latinos.

Republicans in Texas have talked about Latino outreach in past election cycles but nothing like the energy coming from Team Trump. The Trump team seems to be more pro-active and that’s a good thing. Keeping Texas red is crucial if Republicans want to win the White House. There is no path to victory in the national election without Texas.