TEXAS VIEW: Texas GOP, you have a mandate from voters

THE POINT: Chasing culture wars and inviting extremist candidates will cost Republicans in the long term.

Voters across Texas gave the GOP whopping victories in statewide races, establishing a clear mandate for conservative principles. But Texas Republicans who abuse that mandate will risk their party’s dominance down the line.

We are disappointed that voters returned to office an agriculture commissioner and a railroad commissioner trailed by ethical questions. We are saddened that voters re-elected an attorney general with such a troubled record that he keeps reinventing rock bottom. But that is democracy.

Yet despite this mandate, Republicans must remember they govern a state where more than 40% of voters signaled that they are not aligned with the state GOP. You have a responsibility to govern those Texans also. That, too, is democracy.

The Republican Party, as any party in power is wont to do, protected its legislative majority with radical gerrymandering. It has reaped dividends now. But it may prove costly over time. Picking voters to secure GOP seats by eliminating competitive districts will only encourage extremist politicians who will distract from the kitchen-table issues that are Republican strengths. It’s a counter-productive strategy that very well could repel everyday Texans in the long term.

Republicans are better off governing closer to the center. They should take comfort in the fact that a majority of voters have repeatedly affirmed their preference for conservative principles, especially around the economy, regulation and border security.

A bad year for the Democratic Party also helped Texas Republicans, but political fortunes change. Remember the 2018 midterms that boosted Democrats, a time when the Texas GOP put its majority at risk with stunts like the bathroom bill. Chasing culture wars is a mistake.

Republicans, pick your fights carefully. We will be watching the GOP politicians in suburban districts who assured voters they would support rape and incest exceptions to Texas’ abortion ban.

Governing humbly with an eye on building coalitions is the way to sustain power. Governing narrowly at the extremes of your agenda will cost you one day.

Dallas Morning News