Jun 21, 2022

Texas GOP Convention embraces far-right platform Transcript

Texas GOP Convention embraces far-right platform Transcript
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The Texas GOP formally adopted many far-right stances, including rejecting the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Read the transcript here. 

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Speaker 1: (00:00)
The Texas Republican Convention met over the weekend and the delegates there embraced a number of stances, which signaled a right word shift for the party’s philosophy moving forward. Among other things, the convention voted to reject the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, called Joe Biden an illegitimate president, and called to repeal the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which was passed to stop discrimination of Black Americans at the polls.

Speaker 1: (00:28)
Senator John Cornyn, the state senior Senator, was also formally rebuked for his involvement in the bipartisan gun safety measures. The Texas Senator’s Friday night speech to the crowd was met with boos.

Speaker 1: (00:52)
So for more on this, Gromer Jeffers joins me now, he’s a political writer for The Dallas Morning News. Hey Gromer, good to see you. Thanks for being here. What was on this agenda for the convention? Who were the headliners and why did Texas Senator John Cornyn get booed?

Gromer Jeffers: (01:10)
Yeah, understand that the Republican Party Convention features the most conservative activists in the state, probably some of the most conservative activists in the country. That said, they often mirror the views of the leaders, such as the Governor, Greg Abbot, Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick, the Attorney General, Ken Paxton. So this was sort of like a meeting, a big party of Texas conservatives. And in that party, it was a family fight so to speak because as you mentioned, John Cornyn, and the Senator who’s working on a bipartisan Senate proposal on gun safety got booed. And it wasn’t just a casual booing. He was roundly booed almost from beginning to end. And then there’s also the platform, which doesn’t mean a lot, it’s not binding. But in a sense, it captures the mood of the most conservative, the most far right fringe of the Texas Republican Party. And the question is, will these proposals, will these platform planks seep into legislation one day?

Speaker 1: (02:27)
Yeah, that’s a really interesting point, that this is non-binding, but certainly does send a message of this is what we are standing for. And with that said, 18 months after the election, rejecting President Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, what’s the practical significance of that move?

Gromer Jeffers: (02:49)
It’s those delegates and the Texas Republican Party basically sounding off because it basically means nothing. Obviously, it’s not based on fact or foundation. But you see this with Republicans in the rest of the country also, they are taking Trump’s cues on this. Some of them really believe that the election was stolen because that’s what he says. And the dangerous part of it is that it is something that you can’t reason with a great deal of them about anymore because it’s ingrained in them. It’s entrenched now that feeling that the election was stolen.

Gromer Jeffers: (03:33)
To add to that, the leaders aren’t standing up either and saying, “No, Joe Biden is the president. He’s the legitimate president.” Some of them are, but most of them just don’t deal with that question. And so you have these activists at the convention basically getting what they want. And it’s an embarrassing situation for Texas Republicans because it comes at a time when they’re trying to grow the party and they’re trying to make gains in blue areas like south Texas and the Rio Grand Valley. And you get the feeling if they can just stick to their conservative principles that aren’t controversial, maybe they can make gains. But when you add this other stuff into it, that’s when it gets kind of dicey for them.

Speaker 1: (04:16)
Yeah, exactly. Republicans just flipped that Democratic seat just last week and I know that’s going to change with redistricting, but still. And significant too because Texas of course passed voter restrictions after the 2020 elections. So a lot to watch there certainly. Another big issue of course, on the agenda this weekend, or at least among what Republicans are talking about is the issue of immigration. And of course, with the Southern border, was this a issue that was addressed at the convention in some way?

Gromer Jeffers: (04:50)
Well, it’s always addressed at the convention. Ever since I’ve been attending Texas Republican Party Conventions, and that’s been a while, immigration has been an issue and the activists there, the delegates are supportive of building, finishing Trump’s wall. They’re in favor of a Texas wall. That’s something Texas Governor Greg Abbott has supported. There’s also Operation Lone Star which they’re supportive of, which is a strong border security presence from Texas there.

Gromer Jeffers: (05:24)
So yes, it is one of the big issues that faces Texas Republicans. That’s a red meat issue that they love, that they talk about all the time. It was present in this convention and it will be present in the next convention and the next one after that. Border security is an issue that is not going away for them.

Speaker 1: (05:47)
Well, Texas of course, a place that we’re watching, not only what happens there locally, but also the implications for the party nationally. Gromer Jeffers, thank you so much for being here and for your reporting. We appreciate it.

Gromer Jeffers: (05:59)
It’s good to see you, Caitlin.

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