WASHINGTON (AP) – Ten years ago, the Texas Republican Party used its platform to oppose the teaching of critical thinking in schools. In 2014, he declared homosexuality a chosen behavior contrary to God and approved “remedial treatment” to reverse it. By 2020, the party was ready to remind the world that “Texas reserves the right to secede from the United States.”
But now the GOP platform in the country’s largest red state – a long ideological wish list that even the most conservative Texans knew was mostly full of dreams that would never become politics – has opened new avenues in pushing it to the far right. .
Approved by more than 5,000 party delegates last weekend in Houston during the party’s two-year congress, the new platform describes President Joe Biden as an “acting” general who was never “legally elected.”
It may not matter who the president is, however, as the platform takes the previous language of secession much further – urging the Republican-controlled legislature to raise the issue of removing the United States from voters next year.
The platform also says homosexuality is “an abnormal lifestyle choice” and rejects bipartisan legislation in Congress that seeks to raise the minimum age for buying assault weapons from 18 to 21, saying Texans under 21 are “likely victims of violent crime and therefore most may need to defend themselves “.
Although non-binding, the platform shows how far the Texas Republicans have come in the past decade – from defending tea party ideals in 2012 to supporting former President Donald Trump’s continuing lies about a non-existent widespread fraud cost an election that actually lost over 7 million votes.
“The platform reflects the direction that party activists believe the party should take,” said Matt Macoviak, a Republican general based in the Texas capital, Austin. He said that instead of deciding on elections or dictating legislation, the platform is more relevant as a message about “where the primary voters are and what they are interested in”.
Mackowiak said issues such as the possibility of succession would not be taken seriously, but that “Trump’s political agenda is here to stay.” He said that as the former president continues to challenge the results of the 2020 election, he will continue to find a receptive audience at the Texas GOP.
“Are the people really skeptical that Republicans are worried about how the election went?” Makoviak asked.
Matt Rinaldi, a former state lawmaker who now chairs the Texas GOP, said the state Republicans “rightly do not believe in the 2020 election results and we do not care how many times the elites tell us we should do it.”
“We refuse to let the Democrats rig the elections in 2022 or 2024,” Rinaldi said in a statement.
The Democrats have not set up anything. An Associated Press review of any possible voter fraud in the six battlefield states disputed by Trump found less than 475 – a number that would make no difference in the 2020 presidential election.
Meanwhile, the 2020 Texas election was a buzz even for Republican models who have dominated the state for decades. The party’s candidates outperformed the Democrats in key races for Congress and the state, as Trump easily won the ballot.
But that did not stop the former president from praising the party’s platform for 2022, posting on Tuesday: “Look at the ‘Greater Texas State and the strong Republican Party Platform for the fraud of the 2020 Presidential Election.’
“Such courage,” he wrote, “but for that Texas is Texas.”
“We reject the certified results of the 2020 presidential election and believe that incumbent President Joseph Robinett Biden Jr. was not legally elected,” Trump said. president.
This year’s platform also says that “Texas reserves the right to secede from the United States and the Texas Legislature should be called upon to pass a referendum accordingly.”
Ed Espinoza, executive director of the defense organization Progress Texas, said that part of the attachment to openly discriminatory language could have receded if not for Trump’s rise – who proved that “it could double the madman and not yet suffer consequences. . ”
“Normally what happens is that when there’s crazy at a party, people try to soften it,” said Espinoza, a former director of the Democratic National Committee of the Western States. “In this case, they saw that it worked for Trump, so they think it will work for them.”
Texas was an independent democracy for almost a decade until 1845. With the coronavirus rampant raging, the Texas Republican Party congress in 2020 was effectively held and degenerated into a leadership struggle. But it also contained the language of a platform that states: “Texas reserves the right to secede from the United States if a future president and Congress change our political system from one constitutional democracy to another.”
This warning about the system of government was rejected in the 2022 edition, which seeks a referendum for voters “to determine whether” their state “should reaffirm its status as an independent nation”.
The push to the right in Texas was clear in ways beyond the party platform. Deputies denounced Republican Sen. John Cornin – who held office for 20 years and won more 2020 votes across the state than Trump – for drafting bipartisan legislation seeking to impose moderate gun limits. These efforts began after last month’s mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 19 elementary school students and two teachers.
However, such outbreaks of government contracts are also not new. Republican Gov. Rick Perry was criticized in 2012 for praising his GOPer colleague and Lieutenant David Ducherst, who was later locked in a primary battle for an open Senate seat with Ted Cruz. Some delegates also in the past withdrew from a speech by then-Texas Texas House Speaker Joe Strauss.
“It shows you how QAnon may not be extreme in the Republican Party,” Espinoza said. “Some people are very prone to conspiracy theories, and that seems to be a bigger percentage the deeper you delve into the Texas Republican Party.”