A winter storm has left millions of Texans cold and without power. At the time of this writing, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about how and why this happened. That this could happen in the energy capital of America is embarrassing, to say the least. It’s made all the more embarrassing by old tweets from Texas Republicans dunking on California’s blackouts.
Last summer, California experienced rolling blackouts as a heatwave sent energy consumption skyrocketing. Rather than express empathy for their fellow Americans, many Texas Republicans saw it as an opportunity to own the libs. Familiar names on the right took to Twitter to condescendingly mock California.
“California is now unable to perform even basic functions of civilization, like having reliable electricity. Biden/Harris/AOC want to make CA’s failed energy policy the standard nationwide. Hope you don’t like air conditioning!,” wrote Ted Cruz. When actor Pasquale pointed out that climate change was creating 120-degree heat in Los Angeles, Cruz replied, “Some angry Lefty actor thinks California is the only place that has Summer.”
Cruz wasn’t the only politician with right-wing hot takes (pun intended). John Cornyn tweeted out an article from the conservative satire outlet The Babylon Bee with the headline “Texas Luring Jobs Away From California With Promises Of Electricity.” The article had a picture of a billboard in California that read “move to Texas, we have electricity!” Cornyn also tweeted an op-ed from the Dallas Morning News titled “California’s energy nightmare shows us why Texas must trust the free market.”
A common sentiment among GOP leaders was that California’s blackouts were entirely the fault of Democratic policies, not the extreme heat caused by climate change. “Alexa, show me what happens when you let Democrats control energy policy,” tweeted Dan Crenshaw while Ken Paxton tweeted “California’s politicians did this, not the heat.” Dan Patrick as he shared a Forbes article titled “Why California’s Climate Policies Are Causing Electricity Blackouts,” along with the hashtag KAG (Keep America Great ) and the caption “this is what happens when the Democrats are left in charge.”
Perhaps the most poorly-aged tweet in retrospect came from then-candidate Beth Van Duyne, the former mayor of Irving who was running for Congress in the 24th District at the time. “Can you imagine if during a heat wave, Texans were told to turn off their power, their appliances and sit in the dark,” she tweeted. “That won’t fly in the Lone Star State and it shouldn’t happen anywhere in our country.” Well, it’s not that hard to imagine anymore.
These tweets have aged like milk. Texas’ current energy situation is even worse than what California went through last year. While California’s grid was short by about 1-2 gigawatts, Texas has had a 15-25 gigawatt shortfall.
Unsurprisingly, the words of Republican politicians are coming back to haunt them as their smug insults against California are resurfacing on Twitter. Politicians should think twice before tweeting a hot take because the Internet never forgets.
If Republicans are serious about creating unity, they need to stop using disasters in blue states as a chance to dunk on the left. Imagine how Texans would feel if AOC or Chuck Schumer responded to the current situation by tweeting “lulz, we have heating in New York.” Republicans would be livid if that happened, and rightly so. No state, red or blue is immune to natural disasters, but every state deserves support and empathy when they happen.
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
William serves as the Washington Correspondent for the Texas Signal, where he primarily writes about Congress and other federal issues that affect Texas. A graduate of Colorado College, William has worked on Democratic campaigns in Texas, Colorado, and North Carolina. He is an internet meme expert.