2019 has not been a great year for Texas Republicans. From scandals to discrimination to outright incompetence, the Texas GOP is proving to be its own worst enemy as it struggles to maintain its majority amidst the state’s rapidly changing demographics. Here’s a list of examples from the past year.
1. Hating on Muslims. In January, the Tarrant County Republican Party held a vote on whether to remove their vice chairman simply because he’s a Muslim. Although the vice chairman survived the vote, the fact that there was a vote in the first place is telling.
2. Voter Purge. In March, Texas Secretary of State David Whitley attempted to purge 95,000 mostly-Latino voters from the voter rolls, which the Governor’s office reportedly knew about. Whitley was forced to resign and had to apologize for his actions.
3. Bonnenghazi. In June, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen was caught on tape making a shady deal with far right-winger provocateur Michael Quinn Sullivan in which Sullivan would receive government favors in exchange for attacking Bonnen’s own Republican colleagues. As a result of the scandal, Bonnen announced he would not seek re-election.
4. Anti-Immigrant. In August, Gov. Greg Abbott sent out a fundraising letter, first published by the Signal, with alarmist anti-immigrant rhetoric. The letter, which called for supporters to “defend” Texas, went out one day before a white nationalist killed 22 people in El Paso to “defend” against a perceived Hispanic “invasion.”
5. The Texodus. In August, Rep. Will Hurd of Helotes, the sole African-American Republican in the House, announced that he would not seek re-election in 2020. Hurd is one of six House Republicans from Texas who are retiring, en masse.
6. Accidental Leak. In November, a GOP strategy draft for 2020 was accidentally emailed to Texas Democrats. The strategy called for the heavy use of negative ads and inoculating the GOP’s lack of diversity.
7. Racism. In December, State Rep. D.F. “Rick” Miller of Fort Bend said in an interview that his primary opponents were running against him because they were Asian. Miller suspended his re-election bid after a public outcry.
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