WASHINGTON (TSWT) — A decade ago, the Republican Party of Texas used its platform to oppose teaching critical thinking in schools. In 2014, he declared homosexuality to be a chosen behavior contrary to God and endorsed “reparative therapy” to reverse it. In 2020, the party was ready to remind the world that “Texas retains the right to secede from the United States.”
But now the GOP platform in the nation’s largest red state — a long list of ideological wishes that even the most conservative Texans knew was filled mostly with pipe dreams that would never become policy — has broken new ground. in its push to the extreme right.
Endorsed by more than 5,000 party delegates last weekend in Houston at the party’s biennial convention, the new platform positions President Joe Biden as an “acting” commander-in-chief who has never been “legitimately elected”.
It doesn’t matter who the president is, however, since the platform takes previous secession language much further — urging the Republican-controlled legislature to pose the question of leaving the United States to voters next year.
The platform also claims that homosexuality is “an abnormal lifestyle choice” and rejects bipartisan legislation in Congress to raise the minimum age to purchase assault weapons from 18 to 21, saying that Texans under 21 are “most likely to be victims of violent crime and therefore most likely to need to defend themselves.
Although non-binding, the platform illustrates just how far right-wing Republicans have moved over the past decade – from championing tea party ideals in 2012 to endorsing the continued lies of the former President Donald Trump on non-existent widespread fraud that cost him an election he actually lost by more than 7 million votes.
“The platform reflects the direction party activists believe the party should be taking,” said Matt Mackowiak, a Republican strategist based in Texas’ capital Austin. He said that rather than deciding elections or dictating legislative action, the platform is more relevant as a signal “where primary voters are and what matters to them.”
Mackowiak said things like the succession review won’t be taken seriously, but “Trump’s political agenda is here to stay.” He said that as the former president continues to question the 2020 election results, he will continue to find a receptive audience within the Texas GOP.
“Do people really doubt that Republicans care about the way the election went?” Mackowiak asked.
Matt Rinaldi, a former state lawmaker who now chairs the Texas GOP, said state Republicans “rightfully have no confidence in the results of the 2020 election and we don’t care how many times where the elites tell us we have to do it”.
“We refuse to let the Democrats rig the election in 2022 or 2024,” Rinaldi said in a statement.
The Democrats didn’t fake it. An The Switzerland Times review of every potential voter fraud case in the six battleground states contested by Trump found fewer than 475 — a number that would have made no difference in the 2020 presidential election.
Meanwhile, the 2020 election in Texas was madness, even by the standards of Republicans who have dominated the state for decades. The party’s candidates have outplayed Democrats in major congressional and U.S. races, as Trump easily won his electoral votes.
But that hasn’t stopped the former president from praising the party’s 2022 platform, posting on Tuesday, “Look at the” great state of Texas and their powerful Republican Party platform on voter fraud. 2020 presidential election.
“Such courage,” he wrote, “but that’s why Texas is Texas.”
Trump applauded the language stating, “We reject the certified results of the 2020 presidential election, and we contend that Interim President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected.” It was a departure as recently as 2014, when the Texas GOP platform questioned Barack Obama’s “commitment to constitutional citizen rights” but at least recognized him as president.
This year’s platform also states that “Texas retains the right to secede from the United States, and the Texas Legislature should be called upon to pass a referendum consistent therewith.”
Ed Espinoza, executive director of the advocacy organization Progress Texas, said some of the adherence to open discriminatory language might have receded had it not been for the rise of Trump – who has demonstrated “he can redouble your efforts and still not suffer any consequences. ”
“Normally what happens is when there’s madness in a party, people try to soften it up,” said Espinoza, former Western States director for the Democratic National Committee. “In this case, they saw it working for Trump, so they think it will work for them.”
Texas was an independent republic for nearly a decade until 1845. With the coronavirus pandemic raging, the 2020 Texas Republican Party Convention was held virtually and escalated into a leadership struggle . But it also featured platform language stating, “Texas retains the right to secede from the United States if a future president and congress change our political system from a constitutional republic to another system.”
This caveat about the system of government was dropped in the 2022 edition, which calls for a referendum for voters “to determine whether or not ‘their state’ should reaffirm its status as an independent nation.”
Texas’ push to the right was clear beyond the party platform. Delegates booed Republican Sen. John Cornyn — who has held his seat for 20 years and got more 2,020 statewide votes than Trump — for working on bipartisan legislation to impose modest limits on guns. Those efforts began after last month’s mass shooting in the Texas town of Uvalde, which killed 19 elementary school students and two teachers.
Yet such explosions of state conventions are not new either. Republican Gov. Rick Perry was booed in 2012 for congratulating fellow GOPer and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who was then locked in a primary battle for an open Senate seat with Ted Cruz. Some delegates also left a speech given by Republican Texas House Speaker Joe Straus in the past.
“It shows you how QAnon may not be an outlier in the Republican Party,” Espinoza said. “Some people are very conspiracy theoretic, and that seems to be a higher percentage the deeper you get into the Texas Republican Party.”