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Secession, Anti-LGBT and 'The Big Lie': Texas Republicans Have Gone Far Right with New Platform

Republicans are crushing Texas with their conservative agenda.
Republicans are crushing Texas with their conservative agenda. illustration by Sarah Schumacher
Texas Republicans are in the national spotlight again, making headlines for the party’s uber-conservative platform considered at the GOP convention last weekend. Liberals, of course, were horrified by the items, but even some Republicans seemed shook by convention attendees' rampant homophobia, veteran derision and flirtations with secession.

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich didn’t mince words when discussing the convention. “What happened in Texas was a clown show, and I think even clowns were embarrassed by what they saw down there,” the Republican said Monday on CNN.

Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University, told the Observer that the state GOP’s platform is essentially a “symbolic wish list” for the party’s most devoted and die-hard activists. But once planks are adopted and priorities are created, he said, Republican lawmakers will face pressure to push forward that agenda during the 2023 legislative session.

Not all of the priorities will be converted into law, Jones added, but at least a few of them likely will.

The latest convention is a continuation of a shift toward the right that’s been unfolding for at least two decades, said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University. It's made up of a base of roughly 5,000 “true believers” who gin each other up whenever they congregate.

Jillson notes that he’s been talking about GOP platforms for a quarter-century. “Each time there are the old tried-and-true standards, and then there are the next steps toward the cliff, which are variations on issues of God, guns and gays,” he said. “That’s true again this year, but I think it’s a relatively steady march to the right.”
Here are 20 of the GOP’s most out-there items on this year's wish list.

1. Secession

Even though the state has trouble keeping the power on, the Texas GOP is eyeing independence. They believe we retain “the right to secede from the United States, and the Texas Legislature should be called upon to pass a referendum consistent thereto.”

2. Prayer in schools

Forget separation of church and state, y’all. Republicans want to see the Bible, prayer and the Ten Commandments back in the courthouse, classroom and other government buildings.

3. Statewide electoral college

As if one electoral college isn’t enough. The state’s GOP thinks that a Texas-specific one is necessary for the election of “all statewide office holders.”

4. Ban sex education in schools...

Texas’ GOP wants lawmakers to prohibit sex education from all public schools, plus anything about "sexual health, or sexual choice or identity.”

5. …But teach that life begins at fertilization.

Yes, sex education needs to be banned, Republicans say. But they do want Texas schoolchildren to learn about the “humanity of the preborn child,” i.e. that life starts at fertilization.

6. Ban on drag queen story hours

Drag queen story hours shan’t be part of the program at any of the state’s public schools and libraries.

7. Abolish the Department of Education

Republicans are arguing that the Department of Education shouldn’t exist because education isn’t part of the federal government’s enumerated powers.

8. Teach that there are only two genders

According to the state’s GOP, only biological males and biological females are legitimate. They say there aren’t any other genders.

9. Abolish tenure

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has previously slammed tenure, saying new professors and those who teach critical race theory shouldn’t receive it. But the state’s GOP is taking it a step further, insisting that the entire tenure system should be replaced with one that’s merit-based.

10. Oppose Marxism and multiculturalism in college curricula

Texas’ GOP doesn’t want state formula funding to support so-called “divisive curricula,” such as “Marxist, anti-American, Critical Race Theory, multiculturalism, or diversity-equity-inclusion courses.”

11. Being gay is an “abnormal lifestyle choice”

To the state’s Republicans, people "choose" to be gay, and that's “abnormal.” They’re also against gay marriage, even if the couple married outside Texas. Happy Pride!

12. The state must acknowledge that porn is a public health hazard

Not sure why. They didn’t expand.

13. Repeal all hate crimes laws

Hate crime laws should be repealed because they’re unnecessary, the Texas GOP says. They argue that there are already plenty of other laws covering crimes against “other persons” on the books.

14. Heritage must be preserved

The Alamo must never be “reimagined,” Republicans say. All Confederate monuments should also stay put, and those that have already been relocated need to be returned.

15. “There shall be no gun free zones in Texas.”

Ya hear?

16. Repeal Voting Rights Act of 1965

Texas Republicans claim they support suffrage for all U.S. citizens old enough to vote. But they’re pushing for an end to the Voting Rights Act, which was passed to combat discrimination against African American voters.

17. Recreational marijuana shouldn’t be legalized.

Neither should casino gambling.

18. Conquer terrorism

“Radical Islamic terrorists” are still a threat, as far as Texas Republicans are concerned. They're pushing for the Muslim Brotherhood to be classified as a foreign terrorist group and for government agencies to cut ties with organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

19. Withdraw from the United Nations

The state’s GOP claims to support the United States’ sovereignty, so it’s calling for a withdrawal from the United Nations. They vehemently reject a “One World Government,” an apparent reference to an anti-globalist conspiracy theory.

20. The 2020 presidential election was "illegitimate"

Delegates also passed a resolution on a consistently debunked notion that falsely claims the 2020 presidential election was rigged. “We reject the certified results of the 2020 Presidential election, and we hold that acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States,” it reads. 
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Simone Carter, a staff news reporter at the Dallas Observer, graduated from the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. Her favorite color is red, but she digs Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
Contact: Simone Carter