Republicans in Texas Vote to Reject Democracy, a disturbing video from this weekend’s Texas Republican Convention shows GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a Navy SEAL veteran who lost his right eye to a bomb in Afghanistan, being mocked with the moniker “eye patch McCain.”
Tucker Carlson of Fox News invented the derisive moniker when the Texas legislator dared to show solidarity for besieged Ukraine in the aftermath of Russia’s savage attack on it.
But, according to several participants, Crenshaw’s rejection of former President Donald Trump’s assertions that the 2020 election was stolen was even more horrible. In an online video, a man wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap can be heard saying, “Dan Crenshaw is a traitor!” and “He should be hanged for treason!”
As heinous as the treatment of Crenshaw was, the conduct of the Texas GOP and the convention’s 5,000-plus delegates were much more concerning.
The meeting rejected the conclusion of a democratic election, backed prejudice against the LGBTQ community, and sought to codify far-right religious ideas in legislation. And that wasn’t even half of it.
Indeed, the convention demonstrated that Texas Republicans are no longer disguising their fanaticism. Instead, they openly accept it.
Even before the opening gavel, they showed the party’s radicalism in Texas by prohibiting the Log Cabin Republicans from setting up a booth at the conference.
Texas Republican Party Chairman Matt Rinaldi delivered the deciding vote on the decision to ban the organization that has long pushed for LGBTQ Republicans. “I think it’s irresponsible for us to play sexual identity politics right now, given the status of our nation,” Rinaldi told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
After it officially began, the conference committed a series of heinous and un-American acts. Delegates first endorsed a resolution claiming that President Joe Biden “was not properly elected.” In sum, the Texas GOP, like Trump, is adopting a lie because it is dissatisfied with the election results. To put it another way, the Texas GOP decided to abandon American democracy.
Republican delegates also booed John Cornyn, the senior US senator from Texas, during the convention on Friday because he participated in negotiating a Senate accord on a package to reduce gun violence. These legislative initiatives follow last month’s tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 19 pupils and two teachers.
The program, which is poised to be passed, calls for removing or nullifying existing gun regulations, such as the Gun Control Act of 1968, which prohibits criminals and other dangerous people from lawfully purchasing a gun. According to the Texas GOP, even dangerous people should have a legally protected right to own a firearm.
The Texas Republican platform also advocated for increased anti-abortion messaging in public schools. According to the platform, “Texas students should learn about the Humanity of the Preborn Child, including… that life begins at fertilization.” According to The Texas Tribune, it even tries to require kids to see “a live ultrasound” and high-schoolers to read an anti-abortion brochure that critics say “includes scientifically unfounded claims and shames women seeking abortion care.”
It sounds like a curriculum from a theocratic dictatorship like the Taliban, not one financed by taxpayer cash in the United States. However, the Republican Party in huge parts of the country is no longer afraid to support laws that impose its religious values, as evidenced by initiatives some Republicans favour that would completely ban abortion. The GOP convention resolution also urges officials not to “infringe on the rights of Texas school students and staff to pray and engage in religious discourse.”
The Texas GOP platform also attempts to denigrate members of the transgender community. Transgender people are described as having “a genuine and highly rare mental health disorder.” It also considers sexual reassignment surgery to be a type of medical misconduct.
The platform also targets LGBT Americans, claiming that homosexuality is an “abnormal lifestyle choice.” In 2018, and 2020, the Texas GOP platform did not include such language.
This platform provides insight into the Republican base’s views on important issues, which will put pressure on GOP elected officials in Texas – and maybe beyond the state – to take similarly extreme positions or face a primary challenge from an even more radical Republican.
What prompted this shift to the far right? “Donald Trump radicalized the party and hastened the demands from the base,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political scientist at the University of Houston, of the state GOP’s new conservative agenda. “There just aren’t boundaries now on what the base might ask for,” he continued ominously.
In part, I agree. I don’t believe Trump radicalized the base; rather, he simply gave individuals license to be themselves.
But, as Rottinghaus points out, there are now no boundaries to what the GOP base might demand, from rejecting election results to implementing additional legislation based on strong religious convictions. And this should frighten every American who wishes to live in a democratic country.
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