Texas GOP platform embraces far-right and anti-gay rhetoric

https://www.npr.org/2022/06/20/1106229988/texas-gops-new-platform-says-biden-didnt-really-win-it-also-calls-for-secession

Texas GOP’s new platform says Biden didn’t really win. It also calls for secession

June 20, 2022 4:30 PM ET

by BILL CHAPPELL

The Republican Party of Texas refuses to recognize the legitimacy of President Biden’s election win. Just before Biden’s inauguration in 2021, armed groups held a rally in front of the Texas State Capitol in Austin.

Matthew Busch/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden is the “acting” president because he didn’t win legally; Texans should vote on seceding; the Voting Rights Act of 1965 should be repealed; any gun control is a rights violation: this is the world as seen by the Republican Party of Texas, according to its newly adopted party platform.

“We can’t compromise with Democrats who have a different and incompatible vision for our future,” Matt Rinaldi, the state GOP chairman, said, according to The Texas Newsroom. “We need to be a bold and unapologetic conservative party, ready to go on offense and win the fight for our country.”

The Republicans’ 2022 platform is outlined in a 40-page document that addresses state issues but also much broader priorities — such as calling for the U.S. to leave the United Nations. Delegates approved it over the weekend, at the party’s convention in Houston.

Texas GOP holds on to ‘the big lie’

By insisting that Biden didn’t actually defeat former President Trump in 2020, Texas Republicans are prolonging the lies and baseless claims about election fraud that fueled the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“We believe that the 2020 election violated Article 1 and 2 of the US Constitution,” the Texas Republicans said in their new platform. They accuse several secretaries of state of illegal actions, alleging that “substantial election fraud in key metropolitan areas” distorted the results in Biden’s favor.

“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,” the GOP platform stated.

The pro-Trump stance sets the tone for November’s midterm election date. It also suggests the Texas GOP will use Trump’s claims to stoke voter turnout: The section on election fraud concludes by urging every Republican to vote in order to “overwhelm any possible fraud.”

Convention-goers are shown ‘2,000 Mules’

Organizers screened the film 2,000 Mules at least three times, according to the convention’s program.

The film was recently discussed during a Jan. 6 committee hearing, when former Attorney General Bill Barr said the film’s central premise, that electronic location data proved people were used as “mules” to stuff ballot boxes, was “just indefensible.”

2,000 Mules was directed by Dinesh D’Souza, who, in 2014, admitted to making illegal campaign contributions in other people’s names — a form of election law fraud, in other words. The controversial activist was pardoned by Trump in 2018. The former president hosted a showing of the film in Florida last month.

GOP calls on Texas to hold a referendum on seceding

Saying the U.S. government has impaired Texas’ right of self-government, the platform calls for rejecting any legislation that conflicts with the state’s rights — and it suggests leaving the union might be the answer.

“Texas retains the right to secede from the United States, and the Texas Legislature should be called upon to pass a referendum consistent thereto,” the platform stated.

Deeper in the document, the GOP delegates urge state lawmakers to put a referendum on the agenda for the 2023 election, “for the people of Texas to determine whether or not the State of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation.”

In Texas, secession is a perennial idea that tends to bloom when a Democrat holds the Oval Office. After former President Obama won his first term, for instance, the state’s Gov. Rick Perry hinted that Texans might consider exiting the union.

It remains an open question as to how closely the priorities outlined in the 2022 platform reflect the views of regular Republicans in Texas.

One sign of a potential divide is in the reception given to the state’s politicians in Congress.

The crowd loudly booed Sen. John Cornyn, who’s leading the Republican side in the hunt for areas of bipartisan agreement on guns. Another Texas Republican, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, was confronted by far-right activists who mocked him by calling him “eye-patch McCain” and a “traitor,” according to Mediate.

As Matthew Watkins, the managing editor for news and politics at the Texas Tribune, said via Twitter, feelings in the convention hall don’t necessarily equate to voter sentiments.

“John Cornyn, booed in the hall, received 76% of the vote in his last primary race,” Watkins said. “Greg Abbott, who didn’t give a speech, received 67%. Ken Paxton, who got a standing ovation, received 43% in March.”

Not every plank in the platform came with a long explanation. For instance, the section on the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — which the Justice Department calls “the most successful piece of civil rights legislation ever adopted” by Congress — merely states that the Texas GOP supports “equal suffrage for all United States citizens of voting age.”

The GOP was more effusive about guns, stating, “all gun control is a violation of the Second Amendment and our God given rights.”

Another section declared there shall be no gun-free zones in Texas, a state that recently absorbed one of the worst mass school shootings in U.S. history. The party platform also spoke out against “red flag” laws and any effort to bar people younger than 21 from buying a gun.

https://www.npr.org/2022/06/24/1107244492/texas-gop-platform-embraces-far-right-and-anti-gay-rhetoric

Texas GOP platform embraces far-right and anti-gay rhetoric

June 24, 20225:09 AM ET

LEILA FADEL and ASHLEY LOPEZ

Texas Republicans recently adopted homophobic and transphobic language in their party platform, part of a larger trend of moves against LGBTQ rights by conservatives.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Texas Republicans recently inserted homophobic and transphobic language into the state party’s platform. This happened at their annual convention last week in the middle of Pride Month. Party leaders also excluded members of the nation’s oldest conservative LGBTQ group from parts of the convention. NPR’s Ashley Lopez was there and joins us now. Good morning, Ashley.

ASHLEY LOPEZ, BYLINE: Good morning.

FADEL: So, Ashley, let’s start with this bigoted language that made it into the platform. What exactly was added?

A LOPEZ: So there were only a couple of planks that covered these issues. In total, there are about 270 planks in the platform, by the way. And LGBT issues came up in about five or six planks depending how you count them. But what Texas Republicans had to say about gay rights and homosexuality and transgender people really stands out. First and foremost, the party wrote that homosexuality is an abnormal lifestyle choice. They also included language that says there shouldn’t be any special legal protections for gay, lesbian and bisexual people, and they oppose any criminal or civil penalties against people who oppose homosexuality. And last, the party says they oppose all efforts to validate transgender identity. And that for anyone under 21, no medical provider should be allowed to provide services to that person affirming their gender identity.

FADEL: Wow. In 2022, to write this into the state party platform, and there are LGBTQ Republicans. What was it like for them to see this?

A LOPEZ: Well, you know, this was a tough event for gay Republicans. Party leaders actually barred a group of Log Cabin Republicans from Fort Worth from having a booth at the event. The Log Cabin Republicans are the oldest and largest group of conservative LGBTQ people in the country. I spoke to one of their members, Michael Cargill, who is part of the state chapter. He says that in general, he agrees with Texas Republicans on so many issues, particularly gun rights. He sounded a little frustrated that, like, gay rights and inclusion is even something the party is still debating.

MICHAEL CARGILL: You have a small minority of people that call themselves Christian conservatives that have forgotten what the Bible actually says. God is the only judge. And as a conservative Christian, we should spend more time loving each other instead of judging each other.

A LOPEZ: I will say Cargill also told me that he has no intention of leaving the party over this. In fact, he says, he plans on going to the next convention where he can work on making the platform more inclusive.

FADEL: OK. So he says these voices fighting LGBTQ rights are a minority in the party, but these words got into the party platform. You describe party leaders stopping the Log Cabin Republicans from having a booth. So even if a minority, it sounds like these voices are influential.

A LOPEZ: They really are. And you can see the influence beyond just the planks in a party platform. Carisa Lopez with the Texas Freedom Network says Republicans in Texas have been codifying what she sees as discrimination into state law for the past few years.

CARISA LOPEZ: They have passed laws that open the door to discrimination for LGBTQ couples who want to adopt. They are still trying to undermine marriage. They’ve tried to regulate which bathrooms people can use. And now, currently, we’re in a battle where they’re going after families who affirm their trans children.

A LOPEZ: By and large, though, voters in Texas, including Republicans and independents, are more accepting of the LGBT community than people attending the party convention, you know, who hold more extreme opinions than Republican voters as a whole. But at the same time, you know, this is the base of the party, and they have a lot of influence.

FADEL: NPR’s Ashley Lopez in Austin, thank you so much.

A LOPEZ: Yeah, thank you.

https://www.texastribune.org/2022/06/18/republican-party-texas-convention-cornyn/

Texas GOP’s new platform says Biden didn’t really win. It also calls for secession

June 20, 2022 4:30 PM ET

BILL CHAPPELL

HOUSTON — Meeting at their first in-person convention since 2018, Texas Republicans on Saturday acted on a raft of resolutions and proposed platform changes to move their party even further to the right. They approved measures declaring that President Joe Biden “was not legitimately elected” and rebuking Sen. John Cornyn for taking part in bipartisan gun talks. They also voted on a platform that declares homosexuality “an abnormal lifestyle choice” and calls for Texas schoolchildren “to learn about the humanity of the preborn child.”

The actions capped a convention that highlighted how adamantly opposed the party’s most active and vocal members are to compromising with Democrats or moderating on social positions, even as the state has grown more diverse and Republicans’ margins in statewide elections have shrunk slightly in recent years.

Votes on the platform were collected at the end of the party’s three-day convention in which party activists moved to add multiple items to the official Texas GOP platform. As the convention closed, two separate sets of ballots — one allowing delegates to choose eight of 15 legislative priorities and another allowing delegates to vote on the 275 platform planks — were gathered. Those will now need to be tallied and certified in Austin, but it is rare for a plank to be rejected, according to party spokesperson James Wesolek.

The convention reinforced the extent to which former President Donald J. Trump’s unfounded claims of a stolen election continue to resound among the party faithful — even though his claims have repeatedly been debunked, including by many of his own former aides, and after a week of televised hearings about the Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The denunciation of Cornyn represented a remarkable rebuke to a Republican who has served in the Senate since 2002. The hall at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston filled with boos on Friday as he tried to explain the legislation, which would allow juvenile records to be incorporated into background checks for gun buyers younger than 21 and encourage “red flag” laws that would make it easier to remove guns from potentially dangerous people, along with more funding for school safety and mental health.

Meanwhile, the party platform vote on Saturday by roughly 5,100 convention delegates would argue that those under 21 are “most likely to need to defend themselves” and may need to quickly buy guns “in emergencies such as riots.” It also would say that red flag laws violate the due process rights of people who haven’t been convicted of a crime.

About 9,600 delegates and alternates were eligible to attend; organizers said turnout was a bit more than half that.

The new platform would call for:

  • Requiring Texas students “to learn about the humanity of the preborn child,” including teaching that life begins at fertilization and requiring students to listen to live ultrasounds of gestating fetuses.
  • Amending the Texas Constitution to remove the Legislature’s power “to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime.”
  • Treating homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle choice,” language that was not included in the 2018 or 2020 party platforms.
  • Deeming gender identity disorder “a genuine and extremely rare mental health condition,” requiring official documents to adhere to “biological gender,” and allowing civil penalties and monetary compensation to “de-transitioners” who have received gender-affirming surgery, which the platform calls a form of medical malpractice.
  • Changing the U.S. Constitution to cement the number of Supreme Court justices at nine and repeal the 16th Amendment of 1913, which created the federal income tax.
  • Ensuring “freedom to travel” by opposing Biden’s Clean Energy Plan and “California-style, anti-driver policies,” including efforts to turn traffic lanes over for use by pedestrians, cyclists and mass transit.
  • Declaring “all businesses and jobs as essential and a fundamental right,” a response to COVID-19 mandates by Texas cities that required customers to wear masks and limited business hours.
  • Abolishing the Federal Reserve, the nation’s central bank, and guaranteeing the right to use alternatives to cash, including cryptocurrencies.

Not every far-right proposal was advanced. The party chair, Matt Rinaldi, ruled that a motion to defend the due process rights of those who rioted at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and to “reject the narrative” that the riot was an insurrection was out of order and could not be voted on.

Taken together, the new provisions would represent a shift even further rightward for the Republican Party of Texas, once known as the party of Presidents George Bush and his son George W. Bush. Land Commissioner George P. Bush, a grandson and nephew of the two presidents, was defeated handily in May in his runoff race against Attorney General Ken Paxton, an arch-conservative who sued to challenge the 2020 election outcome and convinced voters that he was the truer Trump loyalist.

Party platforms are mission statements rather than legal doctrines and, in Texas, they have long reflected the opinions of the most activist wings of the parties. Republican elected officials are not bound to adhere to the platform, and party activists at times have expressed frustration that some parts of their platform and legislative priorities have not become law, despite complete Republican control of the state Legislature.

But the platforms are broad indicators of the sentiments of the most active Republican voters — those who dominate party primaries. Republicans have controlled every statewide elected office in Texas since 1999 and both houses of the Legislature since 2003, so the wishes of the party’s populist, pro-Trump base inevitably affect actions taken in Austin.

“The platform is largely symbolic but important as a measure of ideological drift,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political scientist at the University of Houston. “Party platforms are often used as a cudgel in party primaries. A more muscular ideological platform eventually leads to a more conservative legislature as challengers knock off more moderate members.”

The convention was noteworthy for the relatively low profile of top officeholders. Gov. Greg Abbott, who is seeking a third term in the November election, only appeared at a reception on Thursday on the sidelines of the convention. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who effectively controls the state Senate, addressed the convention, but House Speaker Dade Phelan only spoke at a luncheon, not to the main body of delegates.

Tensions within the party at times got personal. Video posted online showed far-right activists physically accosting U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, calling the conservative Republican “eye-patch McCain” over his criticism of Russia. The group included self-identified Proud Boys and Alex Stein, a social media activist from North Texas. A Navy SEAL veteran, Crenshaw lost his right eye to a bomb in Afghanistan.

“A more aggressive party platform sends a clear message to politicians about where the base is going,” Rottinghaus said. “Donald Trump radicalized the party and accelerated the demands from the base. There simply aren’t limits now on what the base might ask for.”

Mark P. Jones, a political scientist at Rice University in Houston, said the 2022 platform indicated how emboldened hard-right party activists now feel — a far cry from 2020. Significant gains by Texas Democrats in state House elections in 2018 raised the prospect of the Republican Party losing its dominant status in Texas, making it moderate its platform in 2020 to focus on bread-and-butter issues. Texas Republicans did well in the 2020 elections — even though Biden won 46.5% of the Texas vote, the highest proportion for a Democrat since 1976 — and this year, culture-war issues were once again at front and center.

Jones said that Republican redistricting has made incumbents safer and less inclined to appeal to moderates. Moreover, inflation, the risk of a recession, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and growing acrimony over race, gender and sexuality make it seem increasingly likely that Democrats will lose the U.S. House in the November midterm elections.

“As a result, the 2022 GOP feels free to veer to the right to its heart’s content, confident that it won’t come back to haunt the party in November, except perhaps in a half dozen races,” Jones said. “And even the party’s pragmatic center right conservatives lack the ability to argue, as they did successfully in 2020, that an ultra conservative platform could cost the GOP its majority status in the Lone Star State. This year, even the absolute worst case scenario has the GOP winning statewide, increasing its number of U.S. House seats, boosting its Texas Senate majority by a seat, and maintaining the 83 seats it held in the 2021 Texas House.”

Before delegates voted on the platform, party activists delivered fiery speeches attacking Democrats.

“They want to destroy the racial progress we have made by saying that we are a racist nation,” said Robin Armstrong, a Black doctor in Texas City who treated COVID patients with unapproved drug therapies touted by Trump, including hydroxychloroquine. “The Democratic Party are now a party of chaos. They benefit from causing us to question the foundations that this country was built upon. The misery, the crime, the drug abuse, the high gas prices are all by design, so that the Democratic Party can permanently transform society. We Texans cannot and we will not allow this to happen.”

The Republican-dominated Legislature last year passed new voting restrictions that prompted Democratic lawmakers to flee to Washington to break quorum in an ultimately futile protest. However, Republican leaders said repeatedly on Saturday that it was the other side that was a threat to fair elections.

“The Democrats wants three things: Their goals are to steal elections, suppress Republican votes and federalize elections,” said Cindy Siegel, the chairperson of the Harris County GOP and a former mayor of Bellaire.

Immigration continued to be a major theme, with delegates lamenting Biden’s reversal of Trump-era border policies. U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington, of Lubbock, described an “unprecedented, unmitigated, self-inflicted disaster that is creating the worst humanitarian and national security threat to the American people in the history of our southern border,” adding, “this is an invasion, folks.”

“President Biden has ceded control of our borders to paramilitary, narco-terrorist cartels,” Arrington told delegates.

The mood of this convention was not hopeful. The themes ran dark, and activists spoke in apocalyptic, even cataclysmic, terms about the state of the country.

“Everything is topsy-turvy. What’s right is wrong and what’s wrong is right,” said state Sen. Donna Campbell, an emergency room doctor in New Braunfels, reflecting a state of uncertainty that is shared by Americans of many political backgrounds, even if they don’t agree on the causes. “Our country is on a trajectory to self-destruct, unless we change the direction.”

Campbell and other activists frequently spoke of their Christian faith.

“I believe that in the sovereignty of God, you and I were purposely born into this moment, into this confusing time that we face,“ Campbell said. “We’re meant to be alive, at this time, right now, and here in this state.”

https://www.texastribune.org/2022/06/18/republican-party-texas-convention-cornyn/

Texas Republican Convention calls Biden win illegitimate and rebukes Cornyn over gun talks

Some 5,100 delegates and alternates voted on a party platform that also calls for ending the federal income tax, requiring education about fetal gestation and limiting the Legislature’s right to regulate guns.

BY SEWELL CHAN AND ERIC NEUGEBOREN JUNE 18, 2022 UPDATED: 5 PM CENTRAL

HOUSTON — Meeting at their first in-person convention since 2018, Texas Republicans on Saturday acted on a raft of resolutions and proposed platform changes to move their party even further to the right. They approved measures declaring that President Joe Biden “was not legitimately elected” and rebuking Sen. John Cornyn for taking part in bipartisan gun talks. They also voted on a platform that declares homosexuality “an abnormal lifestyle choice” and calls for Texas schoolchildren “to learn about the humanity of the preborn child.”

The actions capped a convention that highlighted how adamantly opposed the party’s most active and vocal members are to compromising with Democrats or moderating on social positions, even as the state has grown more diverse and Republicans’ margins in statewide elections have shrunk slightly in recent years.

Votes on the platform were collected at the end of the party’s three-day convention in which party activists moved to add multiple items to the official Texas GOP platform. As the convention closed, two separate sets of ballots — one allowing delegates to choose eight of 15 legislative priorities and another allowing delegates to vote on the 275 platform planks — were gathered. Those will now need to be tallied and certified in Austin, but it is rare for a plank to be rejected, according to party spokesperson James Wesolek.

The convention reinforced the extent to which former President Donald J. Trump’s unfounded claims of a stolen election continue to resound among the party faithful — even though his claims have repeatedly been debunked, including by many of his own former aides, and after a week of televised hearings about the Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The denunciation of Cornyn represented a remarkable rebuke to a Republican who has served in the Senate since 2002. The hall at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston filled with boos on Friday as he tried to explain the legislation, which would allow juvenile records to be incorporated into background checks for gun buyers younger than 21 and encourage “red flag” laws that would make it easier to remove guns from potentially dangerous people, along with more funding for school safety and mental health.

Meanwhile, the party platform vote on Saturday by roughly 5,100 convention delegates would argue that those under 21 are “most likely to need to defend themselves” and may need to quickly buy guns “in emergencies such as riots.” It also would say that red flag laws violate the due process rights of people who haven’t been convicted of a crime.

About 9,600 delegates and alternates were eligible to attend; organizers said turnout was a bit more than half that.

The new platform would call for:

  • Requiring Texas students “to learn about the humanity of the preborn child,” including teaching that life begins at fertilization and requiring students to listen to live ultrasounds of gestating fetuses.
  • Amending the Texas Constitution to remove the Legislature’s power “to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime.”
  • Treating homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle choice,” language that was not included in the 2018 or 2020 party platforms.
  • Deeming gender identity disorder “a genuine and extremely rare mental health condition,” requiring official documents to adhere to “biological gender,” and allowing civil penalties and monetary compensation to “de-transitioners” who have received gender-affirming surgery, which the platform calls a form of medical malpractice.
  • Changing the U.S. Constitution to cement the number of Supreme Court justices at nine and repeal the 16th Amendment of 1913, which created the federal income tax.
  • Ensuring “freedom to travel” by opposing Biden’s Clean Energy Plan and “California-style, anti-driver policies,” including efforts to turn traffic lanes over for use by pedestrians, cyclists and mass transit.
  • Declaring “all businesses and jobs as essential and a fundamental right,” a response to COVID-19 mandates by Texas cities that required customers to wear masks and limited business hours.
  • Abolishing the Federal Reserve, the nation’s central bank, and guaranteeing the right to use alternatives to cash, including cryptocurrencies.

Not every far-right proposal was advanced. The party chair, Matt Rinaldi, ruled that a motion to defend the due process rights of those who rioted at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and to “reject the narrative” that the riot was an insurrection was out of order and could not be voted on.

Taken together, the new provisions would represent a shift even further rightward for the Republican Party of Texas, once known as the party of Presidents George Bush and his son George W. Bush. Land Commissioner George P. Bush, a grandson and nephew of the two presidents, was defeated handily in May in his runoff race against Attorney General Ken Paxton, an arch-conservative who sued to challenge the 2020 election outcome and convinced voters that he was the truer Trump loyalist.

Party platforms are mission statements rather than legal doctrines and, in Texas, they have long reflected the opinions of the most activist wings of the parties. Republican elected officials are not bound to adhere to the platform, and party activists at times have expressed frustration that some parts of their platform and legislative priorities have not become law, despite complete Republican control of the state Legislature.

But the platforms are broad indicators of the sentiments of the most active Republican voters — those who dominate party primaries. Republicans have controlled every statewide elected office in Texas since 1999 and both houses of the Legislature since 2003, so the wishes of the party’s populist, pro-Trump base inevitably affect actions taken in Austin.

“The platform is largely symbolic but important as a measure of ideological drift,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political scientist at the University of Houston. “Party platforms are often used as a cudgel in party primaries. A more muscular ideological platform eventually leads to a more conservative legislature as challengers knock off more moderate members.”

The convention was noteworthy for the relatively low profile of top officeholders. Gov. Greg Abbott, who is seeking a third term in the November election, only appeared at a reception on Thursday on the sidelines of the convention. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who effectively controls the state Senate, addressed the convention, but House Speaker Dade Phelan only spoke at a luncheon, not to the main body of delegates.

Tensions within the party at times got personal. Video posted online showed far-right activists physically accosting U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, calling the conservative Republican “eye-patch McCain” over his criticism of Russia. The group included self-identified Proud Boys and Alex Stein, a social media activist from North Texas. A Navy SEAL veteran, Crenshaw lost his right eye to a bomb in Afghanistan.

“A more aggressive party platform sends a clear message to politicians about where the base is going,” Rottinghaus said. “Donald Trump radicalized the party and accelerated the demands from the base. There simply aren’t limits now on what the base might ask for.”

Mark P. Jones, a political scientist at Rice University in Houston, said the 2022 platform indicated how emboldened hard-right party activists now feel — a far cry from 2020. Significant gains by Texas Democrats in state House elections in 2018 raised the prospect of the Republican Party losing its dominant status in Texas, making it moderate its platform in 2020 to focus on bread-and-butter issues. Texas Republicans did well in the 2020 elections — even though Biden won 46.5% of the Texas vote, the highest proportion for a Democrat since 1976 — and this year, culture-war issues were once again at front and center.

Jones said that Republican redistricting has made incumbents safer and less inclined to appeal to moderates. Moreover, inflation, the risk of a recession, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and growing acrimony over race, gender and sexuality make it seem increasingly likely that Democrats will lose the U.S. House in the November midterm elections.

“As a result, the 2022 GOP feels free to veer to the right to its heart’s content, confident that it won’t come back to haunt the party in November, except perhaps in a half dozen races,” Jones said. “And even the party’s pragmatic center right conservatives lack the ability to argue, as they did successfully in 2020, that an ultra conservative platform could cost the GOP its majority status in the Lone Star State. This year, even the absolute worst case scenario has the GOP winning statewide, increasing its number of U.S. House seats, boosting its Texas Senate majority by a seat, and maintaining the 83 seats it held in the 2021 Texas House.”

Before delegates voted on the platform, party activists delivered fiery speeches attacking Democrats.

“They want to destroy the racial progress we have made by saying that we are a racist nation,” said Robin Armstrong, a Black doctor in Texas City who treated COVID patients with unapproved drug therapies touted by Trump, including hydroxychloroquine. “The Democratic Party are now a party of chaos. They benefit from causing us to question the foundations that this country was built upon. The misery, the crime, the drug abuse, the high gas prices are all by design, so that the Democratic Party can permanently transform society. We Texans cannot and we will not allow this to happen.”

The Republican-dominated Legislature last year passed new voting restrictions that prompted Democratic lawmakers to flee to Washington to break quorum in an ultimately futile protest. However, Republican leaders said repeatedly on Saturday that it was the other side that was a threat to fair elections.

“The Democrats wants three things: Their goals are to steal elections, suppress Republican votes and federalize elections,” said Cindy Siegel, the chairperson of the Harris County GOP and a former mayor of Bellaire.

Immigration continued to be a major theme, with delegates lamenting Biden’s reversal of Trump-era border policies. U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington, of Lubbock, described an “unprecedented, unmitigated, self-inflicted disaster that is creating the worst humanitarian and national security threat to the American people in the history of our southern border,” adding, “this is an invasion, folks.”

“President Biden has ceded control of our borders to paramilitary, narco-terrorist cartels,” Arrington told delegates.

The mood of this convention was not hopeful. The themes ran dark, and activists spoke in apocalyptic, even cataclysmic, terms about the state of the country.

“Everything is topsy-turvy. What’s right is wrong and what’s wrong is right,” said state Sen. Donna Campbell, an emergency room doctor in New Braunfels, reflecting a state of uncertainty that is shared by Americans of many political backgrounds, even if they don’t agree on the causes. “Our country is on a trajectory to self-destruct, unless we change the direction.”

Campbell and other activists frequently spoke of their Christian faith.

“I believe that in the sovereignty of God, you and I were purposely born into this moment, into this confusing time that we face,“ Campbell said. “We’re meant to be alive, at this time, right now, and here in this state.”

Disclosure: Rice University and University of Houston have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

One thought on “Texas GOP platform embraces far-right and anti-gay rhetoric

  1. I saw this. It’s a wonder anyone votes Republican in that state. But today’s Post has an article about how everyone, and I mean everyone likes DeSantis in FL — what’s up with that???

    Liked by 1 person

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