Conservatives are the Texas GOP mainstream

It’s April Fool Day which leads many to ask: Isn’t everyday fools day these days? It certainly is in the Texas political press and the problem isn’t so much that certain writers are trying to fool you but that those writers are fools themselves because of their chosen ignorance about the Republican Party in Texas.

Take these lead-off sentences from the Texas Tribune’s top political writer Ross Ramsey: “The elephant hunters in the Texas Republican Party have been doing a better job lately than the elephants. The elephants — mainstream Republicans, many of them incumbents — have been under attack since 2010.”

Ramsey goes on to talk about the so-called Tea Party taking out the mainstream Republicans and note the 2010 reference too as if conservatives have just recently asserted themselves. Disingenuous is one way to describe this oft-repeated claim being made by Ramsey, another is that it stems from utter ignorance – I go back and forth as to which.

Tea Party is, in most cases, simply the label of the day for the conservative base of the Republican Party. Before the Reagan conservatives came together in the 1980′s, there weren’t enough Republicans in Texas to do much but win two statewide votes over decades and elect a handful to the legislature.

The point is that conservatives are the mainstream of the Texas GOP and have been so since becoming a majority party. The majority of the GOP legislative caucus is conservative and so have been the party delegations to their state convention. It is the moderate, non-conservative Republicans who have been the outliers in Texas politics for twenty years.

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