Evaluation: Texas Republicans and Allen West, their nettlesome social gathering animal


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Greg Abbott and Dade Phelan share the identical illness. Their mutual toothache’s title is Allen West, and he’s the chair of the Republican Get together of Texas.

The Republican governor of Texas and the Republican state consultant who has claimed greater than sufficient assist to be the subsequent speaker of the Texas Home are West’s most distinguished targets, drawing extra private and pointed assaults than the Democrats you would possibly look forward to finding in his crosshairs.

That was West, with others like Republican Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, with a megaphone in entrance of the Governor’s Mansion on a Saturday earlier than Election Day, lamenting the governor’s on-again-off-again govt orders on every little thing from masks to closing nonessential companies throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

West’s newest emission, after final week’s election, was an electronic mail blasting Speaker-apparent Phelan for committing the sin of bipartisanship — of getting Democratic state representatives on the checklist of members supporting his rise to speaker.

“Texas won’t enable the undermining of our ‘Texas Republic.’ Because of this the Republican Get together of Texas is perplexed, and won’t assist, a possible Texas Speaker of the Home who would search affirmation from progressive socialist Democrats to achieve that place. It’s completely absurd and demonstrably idiotic that any Republican would be a part of with Democrats to steer our Republican majority (83-67) Texas State Home,” West wrote.

Forgive him. The previous one-term member of Congress from Florida is new right here.

As some extent of reference, Texas has had three Republican audio system in trendy instances, and none of them — Tom Craddick, Joe Straus and Dennis Bonnen — gained the job with out the votes of Democrats. That’s the best way it really works within the Texas Capitol. Their fast Democratic predecessors — Gib Lewis and Pete Laney — all had Republicans on their rosters of assist.

Bonnen, who’ll go away workplace in January, was characteristically outspoken about West’s tirade.

“Allen West is irrelevant. He’s a failed politician from Florida who’s a petulant little one attempting to get his dad and mom’ consideration, and Speaker Phelan, Gov. Abbott and others are true Republican conservative leaders who’re smarter than to hearken to the noise of a kid,” Bonnen informed Chad Hasty, a Lubbock speak present host, Tuesday morning.

Texas Republicans must be one joyful household proper now. They’d a really profitable election, holding all of their seats within the congressional delegation, sustaining their benefit within the Texas Home and shedding solely a seat within the Texas Senate. And so they did all of it behind an incumbent president whose political charms had fueled a disastrous election for the Texans in 2018.

Presidential midterm elections are sometimes powerful; Trump’s was no exception. Democrats toppled a dozen Home members, a few members of Congress and a few state senators. These beneficial properties have been the premise for Democrats’ pre-election exuberance this 12 months, for the thousands and thousands that flooded legislative races from inside and out of doors the state, and for persistent speak that Texas is or is perhaps a battleground state, on the subject of politics.

These have been pipe goals. Texas Republicans stopped the Democrats chilly within the 2020 elections. Their timing couldn’t be higher, both: The Legislature that convenes in January has the job of drawing new political maps of the state that might cement the GOP political majority for the subsequent 10 years.

It’s all going their approach, and in the event that they don’t fumble the mapmaking, it’s going to be going their approach for some time. They maintain the entire statewide elected places of work, together with majorities within the Texas Senate and Texas Home.

So, naturally, they’re beginning the proceedings with a household feud. West’s declarations — and he’s only one voice in a small however noisy and well-financed faction of the Texas GOP — foreshadow political debates inside the social gathering throughout the legislative session that begins in January.

The state Capitol, for all its issues, continues to be a spot the place political social gathering isn’t at all times the primary order of enterprise. Republican legislative leaders — lieutenant governors and audio system of the Home — nonetheless appoint Democrats to chair committees. They offer the perfect goodies to their very own, typically talking, nevertheless it’s not a winner-take-all system like Washington. That’s one motive why it really works higher than Congress works. That’s to say, it really works for Texans even when it doesn’t work for almost all social gathering’s apparatchiks.

West’s energy — like that of Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of the Texas Democratic Get together — is available in direct proportion to the eye paid to him by voters, activists and elected officers.

He’s loud sufficient. However is anybody listening?

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