TEXAS VIEW: Extreme Texas GOP platform leaves conservatives with nowhere to go

THE POINT: We are sorry to see the party double down on such a divisive manifesto.

It’s time to move along, Republican Party of Texas.

Sadly, it appears the state GOP isn’t ready to do that, much to the detriment of the surely countless number of conservative Texans who are increasingly uncomfortable with the party’s extreme right views. And much to the detriment of the state, which party delegates seem to want to further divide.

As has now been widely reported from coast to coast, Texas Republicans wrapped up their convention in Houston recently by approving a right-of-right platform that calls for a vote to secede, among other things. It included a resolution that President Joe Biden “was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States.” And it rejected the certified election results because of what it called widespread fraud in key metropolitan areas in five states, accusing election officials there of being complicit in the fraud.

This is all, of course, despite the fact that supporters of former President Donald Trump took their claims of a stolen election as high as the U.S. Supreme Court without success. Even as recently as last Tuesday, election officials in key states testified before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot that they found zero evidence of widespread fraud.

We understand that party conventions are political pep rallies meant to energize the base of voters. And we would have been disappointed but not surprised for a speaker or two to have reiterated these election fraud lies during some of the more raucous, banner-waving events as a nod to the Trump supporters among them.

But we were sorry to see the state GOP go so far as to actually write these claims into the party platform. The resolution calls on all good Texas Republicans to rally voters in November 2022 “and overwhelm any possible fraud.”

Where does this leave middle-of-the road or even non-extreme Texas Republicans? To be a Republican in Texas these days does one have to believe that President Joe Biden is not President Joe Biden?

We don’t think that’s true. And perhaps the popularity of U.S. Sen. John Cornyn among Republicans everywhere in Texas except at his party’s convention is evidence of that hope.

Cornyn was roundly booed by delegates throughout his convention speech because he is participating in bipartisan gun talks. As he walked off the stage, he reportedly called the crowd a “mob.”

Cornyn seems to have been distinguishing between those in the fired-up crowd and the conservatives who widely support him. He won his re-election in 2020 with an astounding 76% of the vote in the primary, and as of April he had a 53% approval rating among Texas Republicans, according to a poll by the University of Texas at Austin.

Maybe the state GOP delegates were just particularly riled up given they had not met in person since 2018. Maybe they were particularly angry because their convention coincided with the Jan. 6 congressional hearings. Whatever the reason, we are sorry to see the party entrench itself in this issue for apparently no other purpose than to continue to pit Texan against Texan.

The Dallas Morning News