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Republicans posing with the elephant at the Fort Worth Convention Center on June 5, 2014. | Photo by Bob Daemmrich

Analysis: Whose Texas GOP Is It, Anyway?

The Republican Party of Texas’ biennial convention in Dallas gives the heart of the state’s GOP electorate a chance to see their heroes and stars, to assess the current state of the party at the end of a rambunctious primary season and to figure out — if possible — where the various conservative tribes are going to come together.

They’re not going to answer all of those questions this weekend, and they probably won’t fully answer any of them. But it’s a start.

This state convention initially looked like a battlefield over delegates — specifically, over the political inclinations of the Texans selected to represent Republican voters at the national convention later this year. Ted Cruz’s campaign wanted to be sure, for instance, that delegates pledged to Donald Trump during initial ballots would turn to their guy once they were unbound. Other campaigns were working the same angle.

READ MOREAnalysis: Adjusting to Trump, One Republican at a Time

The nominating process is over now, practically speaking. But when there were still questions over who would be the party’s presidential nominee, the delegate rustling was important.

The convention is also an element of another, slower process already underway in Texas. The Republican order was shaken in the last election cycle, when one generation of the party’s statewide officeholders moved up or out and another moved in.

That transition from the Rick PerryDavid DewhurstGreg Abbott years is still underway. The conventioneers will gather in the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, named for the former U.S. senator, state treasurer and state legislator who was a key establishment figure in Texas Republican politics for more than two decades.

The changing of the guard isn’t exactly a headline-grabbing story, but it’s a key to finding out where the party in Texas is going. Perry, as governor, was the party’s top attraction for years. Going into this first party convention since he left the Governor’s Mansion, it’s a little less clear.

Here are the contestants in this political edition of The Dating Game:

  • Now the governor, Abbott cruises into Dallas in a tour bus emblazoned with a picture of him, the cover of his new book, and the title — “Broken but Unbowed” — in huge letters on the side.
  • Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick gets to Dallas after a publicity stop in Fort Worth, where hedemanded the resignation of a school superintendent whose new rules for transgender students and restrooms do not suit the lieutenant governor. Conservatives have rallied around similar “Game of Thrones” debates in Houston and North Carolina. Patrick’s Tuesday appearance in Fort Worth gives him a fresh example for the delegates he’ll speak to on Thursday.
  • U.S. Sen. John Cornyn is the highest-ranking Republican in Texas, the No. 2 in Republican leadership in a GOP-led Senate and also a regular foil to the state’s junior senator, Ted Cruz. Cornyn speaks on Friday at the convention, hoping — like his Republican colleagues in Washington — to build coalitions that will keep the party in power.
  • Cruz, a presidential candidate until last week and a favorite of the state’s Republican most active partisans, in what might be his first speaking appearance before a non-media crowd since he dropped out of the race and left Donald Trump as the presumptive nominee.

One question for Republicans and their different factions is which of those — or other figures — best represents them. Who can unite them? Which ideas bind them to one another, especially when the biggest race of the year has forced them to choose between candidates they agree with on ideological issues, like Cruz or Marco Rubio or even Jeb Bush, and charismatic candidates who don’t toe the line, like Trump.

If it’s about ideas, which ideas is it about? The governor proposes a set of nine changes to the U.S. Constitution that would restrain the federal government and bulk up the strength of state governments. The lieutenant governor is more of an activist, pushing limits on property taxes, restraints on tuition at state colleges and universities, and cultural wars over bathrooms. One U.S. senator is a poster child for the Republican establishment, the other a warrior against establishment politics.

The Republican Party of Texas’ convention falls in just the right place on the political calendar to get a read on those cross-currents and a real look at how rank-and-file Republicans feel about the 2016 elections.

Author:  – The Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues

About The Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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2 comments

  1. WHO REALLY CARES ABOUT DONALD TRUMPS TAXES, WHEN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION IS SPENDING $113 BILLION DOLLARS ANNUALLY ON ILLEGAL ALIENS?

    President Obama’s far reaching open border executive orders, is now developing into a living nightmare for not only the theft of American jobs, but has Donald Trump mentioned their is a serious criminal element coming through different patched-up border regions, specifically Texas and Arizona. The Trump towering wall is not the only answer, but we need to recruit thousands of internal ICE AGENTS and more US Border Patrol to end the scourge of drugs coming through the Southern Border. New Hampshire has an epidemic of cheap heroine, but no state escapes the terrible poison killing even our youngest children. And all Obama’ has done is to issue orders not to detain anybody crossing the border. Not only are welfare illegal aliens coming here, but also criminals from most of the Central American countries.

    THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SHOULD ALWAYS COME FIRST; NOT 100.000 UNKNOWN SYRIAN REFUGEES? NOT ILLEGAL ALIENS, BUT AMERICAN FAMILIES; OUR VETERANS; OUR OLD FOLK, OUR HOMELESS AND EVERY CITIZEN THAT IS IMPOVERISHED?

    WHETHER IT’S BUILDING A WALL THAT WILL STOP ILLEGAL ALIENS, THE DRUGS, AND EVEN ISLAMIC TERRORISTS ASSISTED BY THE DRUG CARTELS JUST ACROSS THE BORDER JUST WEST OF CIUDAD JUAREZ IN THE MEXICAN STATE OF CHIHUAHUA. OF THE MILLIONS OF AUTO JOBS BEING EXPORTED TO MEXICO AND OTHER FOREIGN COUNTRIES COSTING US NEAR A TRILLION DOLLARS IN DEFICITS. LEARN ALL THE CORRUPTION THAT TAKES PLACE IN WASHINGTON, WHICH YOUR VOTE IS NOT WORTH A WET NOODLE UNTIL TRUMP, JUMPED INTO THE RACE FOR PRESIDENT. READ MORE AT THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION CORRUPTION FILES AT http://www.judicialwatch.org/blog :

    1. Obama Food-Stamp Free-for-All: Feds Bust Largest Fraud Operation in U.S. History.
    2. Another $37.3 Mil to Combat Housing Discrimination.
    3. Earthquake Amnesty in Works for Illegal Aliens from Ecuador, DHS Quietly Grants “Migratory Relief” in Spanish.
    4. Waste, Violations in $25 Mil Program to Fight Climate Change in Guatemala.
    5. U.S.-Funded Study: Mass Immigration from Mexico Ended, Border Enforcement Has Backfired.
    6. U.S. to Meet Felons’ “Criminogenic Needs” in Jail; Education, Work, Life Skills Training.
    7. Cartels Help Terrorists in Mexico Get to U.S. to Explore Targets; ISIS Militant Shaykh Mahmood Omar Khabir among Them.

    In Minnesota a 90 year old farmer was beaten to death by two illegal aliens and after being convicted last week will spend the rest of their lives behind bars. Last week, two illegal immigrants were sentenced to decades behind bars Reinol Vergara and Edson Benitez were sentenced to 37 years and 5 months in jail after they pled guilty to second-degree murder and assisting to second degree murder in the death of Earl Olander. “Olander spent his last minutes on Earth blinded, bound, and bleeding to death on his own living room floor while listening to Vergara and Benitez tear through his house. Police didn’t find him until a day or two later,” reported Breitbart news.

    Many disgusting incidents are never released by the National media, as they remain deaf and dumb to the illegal alien invasion as there hands are tied by their corporate and leftist ownership. They are fully aware of foreign nationals pouring through the border or the estimated 40 percent who come here legally and then ‘Overstay’ their visa, forever. Currently we are being inundated with unaccompanied children, who are allowed to stay; then the manipulation to use those children as pawns to bring the uneducated family into our country. Our immigration laws have been ignored by every administration, whether it’s building a wall, or installing a digital entry and exit system and mandatory E-Verify, to combat businesses cheap labor.

    We need urgent enforcement as we are paying out $113 Billion dollars to settle millions of illegal aliens and criminals in Sanctuary Cities. To read about states in America that welcome illegal aliens, click here. Additionally check out the ongoing list of heinous illegal alien criminals and their appalling crimes at http://www.illegalaliencrimereport.com

    NOTE: If you have been banned from Mark Zuckerberg ‘Facebook’ or Disqus like me, then contact the Federal Communication Commission or your local media. Facebook is lying that they are not banning Conservative Views?

  2. Fantastic 🙂 How exactly do you want to change it when Trump becomes president?

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