North Texas Daily

Texas conservatives asserting dominance is dangerous

Texas conservatives asserting dominance is dangerous

Texas conservatives asserting dominance is dangerous
June 17
13:30 2021

With an end to the 87th Texas Legislature on May 31, the state now accounts for one of the country’s strictest abortion control laws. The “constitutional carry” bill, arguably one of the strongest gun-rights laws regarding the Second Amendment, was one of the most controversial bills passed during the session. A stark contradiction to the Pulitzer Prize-winning “1619 Project,” the recently established “1836 Project” seeks to provide a patriotic education, according to Gov. Greg Abbott, for an increased knowledge surrounding Texas history and politics.

It is by far one of the most conservative lawmaking sessions ever seen in Texas history.

The legislature itself only meets for 140 days every other year to create, debate, pass and veto laws into motion to be signed by the governor. Most state governments meet yearly for at least 30 days or more, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Because the session has to complete an immense number of processes, Texas lawmakers often rush through bills, anxious to escape the impending time clock. Some bills are therefore completely looked over without speculation. For instance, a voting restriction to ban intentional voting in the middle of the night passed through both chambers in the middle of the night.

This type of behavior was even more pronounced during the session, having been the first meeting to reside under a Democratic president since 2015. The recent election certainly played into the political dynamic of the state government since President Biden’s declared win. The Republican party surpassed the Democratic vote in the 2020 presidential election by a margin of merely 6.5 percent, the narrowest margin since 1996. Once a reliably red state, its growing population of incoming Californians, an increase in youth activism as well as other factors has caused an uptick in a liberal-leaning agenda.

Needless to say, Texas is not looking so red anymore. This is worrying the population of traditional conservatives who desire to preserve the distinctive “southern charm.” Republican legislators are desperately trying to reform the conservative agenda in a state divided by politics, even if some don’t agree with the often extreme policies that have been introduced.

By-the-book Republicans are culturally conservative and economically progressive, but the events that have occurred in the past two years prove that the party’s name has been twisted and morphed into a radical ideology. In 1996, one of the only differences between Republicans and Democrats was that the former was more economically progressive and valued lower taxes over the latter. Now, the conservative poster is painted with a somewhat agenda including LGBTQ+ phobia, distrust of science and underlying, sometimes blatant, fits of racism in response to social justice movements.

The emergence of a Democratic president supported by a changing demographic is a pressing reason why Texas conservatives are asserting their stance on issues that used to be just in debate. Recently, Gov. Abbott announced he’d even planned to build a wall along the Texas-Mexico border, another debated conservative policy engaged into action. All of these policies most likely would not have passed all at once if not for Biden’s election win. They directly oppose the majority of democratic ideals: pro-immigration, pro-choice and stricter gun laws.

Lawmakers are frantic to keep the red from fading into blue. Instead of sticking to a people-first allegiance, they’re siding with a political allegiance regardless of whether they agree with the policy. It’s a dangerous game to merely prove a point to the opposing political party when lives are on the line. Human rights are not something to play an “I told you so” game with.

The Texas Republican Party can hold on to its floaties of distorted restrictive policies but will soon sink under the weight of the needs of its population. After all, we are people, not political toys.

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

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McKensi Bryce

McKensi Bryce

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