I know that Texas isn’t the only state where lawmakers are intent on returning to the 1800s (preferably prior to the Civil War and Emancipation…). Florida’s GOP is right up there with them, and Indiana isn’t all that far behind. Still, I have a strange “soft spot” for Texan idiocy–even before the last few years, when moronic policy proposals became a dime a dozen, I could always count on Texas for an excellent example to use in my Law and Policy classes…
You may have read that–when Texas Republicans held their convention some weeks back–they adopted a stunningly retrograde platform. The item that got the most media attention was a call to hold a statewide vote on whether to secede. (As Dana Milbank memorably noted in the Washington Post,“If at first you don’t secede, try, try again.”)
Milbank’s reaction mirrored my own: let’s offer Texas a severance package, and throw in Oklahoma for good measure. The U.S. would come out ahead.
Of course, protections would have to be negotiated for parts of Texas that wish to remain on Team Normal. Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio and parts of South Texas would remain in the United States, and they will need guaranteed safe passage to New Orleans or Santa Fe, along with regular airlifts of sustainable produce, accurate textbooks and contraceptives.
But consider the benefits to the rest of the country: Two fewer Republican senators, two dozen fewer Republican members of the House, annual savings of $83 billion in defense funds that Texas gets. And the best reason? The Texas GOP has so little regard for the Constitution that it is calling for a “Convention of the States” to effectively rewrite it — and so little regard for the United States that it wishes to leave.
In democracy’s place, the Republican Party, which enjoys one-party rule in Texas, is effectively proposing a church state. If you liked Crusader states and Muslim caliphates, you’ll love the Confederate Theocracy of Texas.
Milbank illustrated his “Crusader” conclusion with references to the rest of that stunningly theocratic platform:
Texas would officially declare that “homosexuality is an abnormal lifestyle choice.” It would redefine marriage as a “covenant only between one biological man and one biological woman,” and it would “nullify” any court rulings to the contrary. (The gay Log Cabin Republicans were banned from setting up a booth at the convention.) It would fill schools with “prayer, the Bible, and the Ten Commandments” but ban “the teaching of sex education.” It would abolish all abortions and require students to “learn about the Humanity of the Preborn Child.”
There was–as you might imagine–much more. The state would abolish the Voting Rights Act, do away with the Income Tax and Estate Tax, and deep-six property taxes. Texas would withdraw from the United Nations.
I’m not sure where the state would get funds to do even the very few things the platform considered governmental responsibilities, since the areas that generate most of those despised taxes are the urban centers that wouldn’t secede.
There’s more, but it gets depressing to delve more deeply into contemporary GOP fever dreams.
If you wonder where these crackpot ideas get their staying power, Thomas Edsall recently published a column on the roots of the stubborn conspiracy theories widely accepted by today’s Republicans. ( He too referred to the Texas GOP platform, which he notes was hardly a minority effort–it was adopted by 5,000 delegates to the convention.)
“We reject the certified results of the 2020 presidential election, and we hold that acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States.”
Unfortunately, that particular evidence of mental impairment is not limited to Texas Republicans. Polling suggests that the stolen election conspiracy theory is currently embraced by 71 percent of Republicans — roughly 52 million voters. Edsall writes that the belief in a stolen election has ” become the adhesive holding the dominant Trump wing of the party in lock-step.”
The Texas GOP platform is a good gauge of the other preoccupations/fantasies of those 52 million voters. As Milbank reports, It invoked “God” or the “Creator” 18 times and “sovereignty” or sovereign power 24 times. And the word “democracy”? Only once — in reference to China.”
This all raises what we old folks used to call the Sixty-Four Thousand Dollar Question.”
As the January 6th Committee methodically releases evidence–actual, verifiable evidence–how many of the fact-resistant voters who are clinging to preposterous explanations for their perceived loss of social dominance will grudgingly recognize that they live in 2022, not 1822?