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Texas Republicans find their strength

The Republican Party of Texas held its Convention over the weekend and produced a platform that reflects civilizational thinking.

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Last week the Texas Republican Party held their first in-person convention since 2018, in Houston. They passed a raft of resolutions that has the mainstream media half laughing, half shuddering. What they’re actually doing is engaging in civilizational thinking on a State level.

The Texas Republican platform

Technically the Texas Republican Party platform is only a “report of the Platform Committee.” The Party delegates must finish voting on it, just as a union local must vote on a “tentative agreement.” But the report, for all intents and purposes, is the platform – because almost never does a platform or any plank of it go to a vote and fail of ratification.

Reports about the platform are available from The Texas Tribune (two reports), NPR, Newsweek, and Axios. In addition, the Texas Nationalist Movement posted a celebratory bulletin on its site.

That last report is most telling – for it shows that the most important platform plank was not what caused all the negative buzz in the mainstream media. Possibly the most important single plank – Plank 33 (State Sovereignty) – calls for:

  • Nullifying any federal law that “infringes upon the Tenth Amendment rights of Texans,” and
  • Legislating a referendum on Texas independence.

Plank 224 specifically calls for setting up a referendum vote in a fall 2023 general election.

Thus the Texas Republican Party now calls for passing HR 1359, the Texas Independence Referendum Act, or something like it. The Texas House State Affairs Committee “chubbed,” or pigeonholed, that bill. (“To chub,” or “to pigeonhole,” means to refuse to report a bill or even to schedule a hearing.)Since then, most of the “chubbers” lost their primaries.

The Texas Nationalist Movement took credit for those two planks and now calls on its members to “move the rest of Texas.”

Texas Republicans oppose gun control

Separately, delegates cried a resounding “Boo!” on Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), member of that Gang of Twenty that wrote the Senate Gun Deal. More concretely, Plank 32 calls upon the Texas Legislature to:

  • “Repeal and/or nullify the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968,”
  • Pass “Constitutional Carry” in Texas by eliminating a provision in the Texas Constitution that allows for State gun control laws,
  • Nullify any other federal gun laws,
  • Support “reciprocity” (meaning recognizing carry permits from other States and encouraging those other State to recognize Texas carry permits), and
  • Let any “license to carry” holders to carry their weapons wherever off-duty or retired law-enforcement officers may carry theirs. That last would be subject only to the wishes and desires of private property owners.

The platform also carries a resolution rebuking the ten Republican members of the Gang of Twenty and rejecting the Senate Gun Deal in its entirety.

Guiding principles

At its beginning, the Texas Republican Party platform sets forth ten guiding principles – which all follow logically from civilizational thinking. They include:

  1. “The laws of nature and nature’s God,” and strict construction of and adherence to the “original language and intent” of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution,
  2. The sanctity of human life, from fertilization to “natural death,” with an explicit acknowledgment of God,
  3. Respecting “sovereignty,” as applicable to individuals, the State (Republic) of Texas, and the United States,
  4. Limiting government to Constitutional enumerated powers,
  5. Personal accountability and responsibility,
  6. Self-sufficient families, and defining marriage as one man and one woman,
  7. Freedom of choice in education,
  8. The “inalienable right” of self-defense,l
  9. Free enterprise, and
  10. Honoring those who serve, presumably, in the military.

In the interest of preservation of the Constitution, the platform contains Plank 22, a no-nonsense statement of Constitutional duty. It creates a new felony of dereliction of constitutional duty. Furthermore, it grants legal standing to any person suffering an injury from violations of the U.S. and Texas constitution. They can then sue for money damages, injunctive relief, or both.

Amendments to the U.S. Constitution

The Texas Republicans propose six Constitutional amendments – not all of which CNAV can support. They are:

  1. Term limits of twelve years for all State and federal elective offices,
  2. Fixing the membership of the United States Supreme Court at nine members,
  3. Repealing Amendment XVI, which provides for taxing incomes without apportionment and without regard to a census,
  4. Repealing Amendment XVII and providing again for State legislative appointment of United States Senators,
  5. Clarifying Amendment XIV Section 1 to require, as a condition of birthright citizenship, that a person have one U.S. citizen biological parent, and
  6. Making English the official language of the United States and one of two or fewer official languages of any State.

Presumably the stricter Presidential term limit would stay in force. The problem is that term limits create an instant Lame Duck Caucus. The experience of the residents of Ashland, Virginia, who saw a lame duck Town Council legislate a zoning adjustment to let Wal-Mart build a store that eventually bankrupted most of the small stores of downtown Ashland, illustrates better than any single episode the dangers of a Lame Duck Caucus. Indeed, the Republicans in the Gang of Twenty were lame ducks, or close to it.

Separately, in a sharp rebuke to Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas), Plank 21 strikes directly at Abbott’s lockdown policies. “Never again” should Texas law allow any such thing, the plank states.

A Texas State Electoral College

One of the most interesting planks, and one that the mainstream media totally overlooked, is Plank 34. It calls for a State Electoral College. According to this proposal, each State Senatorial district would appoint a number of electors to elect all State-wide office holders. This would include the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, the Attorney General, the Land Commissioner, and other officers. Whether it would include United States Senators, the language does not make clear. Presumably the U.S. Constitution would supersede that.

This proposal recalls CNAV’s earler “model for State legislatures,” calling for:

  • Apportionment of lower-house representation by population and all districts entirely within units,
  • Equal suffrage in State Senates for all units, and
  • Gubernatorial electoral colleges consisting of electors from each unit, equal to the total delegation that unit sends to the legislature.

Here a unit is a county (or “parish” in Louisiana) or a city independent of a county. Virginia has units of both kinds.

This State Electoral College proposal comes close to that, but has two flaws. First, it says nothing about how many electors each Senate district would send. Second, a Senate district depends on the Legislature itself for configuration – which happens every ten years, with the Census.

Nevertheless it is a step in the direction away from having a Governor of, by, and for the cities.

On abortion

The Texas Republican platform comes down solidly against abortion. Plank 36 makes an equal-protection argument to protect the preborn, a word they prefer to the word unborn. The platform also propose “Education on the Humanity of the Preborn Child.” Plank 116 specifically proposes a course of study, presumably for middle and high school, that emphasizes:

  • Life-affirming definitions of life,
  • That life begins at fertilization, and
  • Milestones of the development of the preborn child at two-week intervals.

This course would also require use of fetal baby models as instructional materials and “witnessing of a live ultrasound.” That could mean a field trip to a pre-natal care clinic (with the consent of any patients involved) to watch a fetal sonogram and the taking of it.

The plank also refers to a video titled Miracle of Life. That refers to an episode (Season 10, Episode 12) of the PBS television program NOVA, that aired in 1983. Separately, someone uploaded a 12-minute video to YouTube in 2014 having that title. It is not the NOVA episode, but it treats the same subject matter.

Lastly, Plank 116 refers to a “Woman’s Right to Know” booklet for high-school students. This almost certainly is the booklet by the Texas State Department of Health and Human Services. In 24 pages it lists all the points of Texas law that currently apply to pregnancy and childbirth.

On elections

Planks 241 and 242 present a comprehensive response to concerns about elections and their fairness and security. Plank 241 lists fifteen separate measures that address a variety of concerns, both recent and long-standing. Among other things, this plank recommends:

  1. Photo ID for all voters,
  2. Mail-in ballots to go only to those who ask for them and then only to those who cannot vote in person,
  3. Full signature verification for all mail-in ballots,
  4. Disallowing convicted felons from voting (absent a pardon from the Governor, of course),
  5. Withdrawing from the Electronic Registration Information Center, and
  6. Adding staff to the Attorney General’s office to investigate election-crime allegations.

Plank 242 addresses voter registration and the voter rolls. Nine separate measures address every concern everyone has addressed, including the names of the dead and move-outs on the rolls. Among other things, this plank would require:

  1. Checking the rolls against lists of death certificates,
  2. That voters re-register after five years of not voting,
  3. Photo ID and proof of residency and citizenship,
  4. A 30-day deadline for registration, and
  5. Repealing laws that automatically register someone to vote when they get a driver’s license.

Various other provisions

The Texas Republican platform covers a wide variety of other issues. In no particular order, they include:

  • An anti-grooming measure, similar to that in Florida but applicable through K-12, not merely K-3.
  • Having biological men complete with biological men, and biological women with biological women, in high-school and college athletics. Interestingly, on that very weekend, the International Swimming Federation specifically made that an official rule for swimming competition.
  • Forbidding medical practitioners to “transition” anyone 21 years old or younger.
  • Forbidding any taxpayer expenditure to “transition” prison inmates, active-duty military, et al.
  • Abolishing any civil or criminal penalties for principled opposition to “alternative lifestyle choices.”
  • Repealing the federal Voting Rights Act, that still discriminates against certain States and localities.
  • Repossessing all federal land, except that on which any Article I Section 8 Clause 17 structures rest. This means military bases, post offices, courthouses, city Federal Buildings, and the like.
  • A uniform age of majority of 18, except for the 21-or-old rule for gender transition.
  • Nullifying certain Supreme Court rulings, and supporting new federal laws limiting the jurisdiction of the federal courts over State law.
  • Forbidding all gun-free zones, and presumably disestablishing present ones.
  • Keeping marijuana illegal.
  • Withdrawing from the United Nations and various agencies and programs, and rejecting one-world government.
  • Full support for the State of Israel, including keeping the U.S. Ambassador’s office in Jerusalem.

Texas Republicans move the Overton Window

In summary, the Texas Republican Party clearly seeks to move the “Overton Window” that defines acceptable public discourse and policy. It seems to have some in the mainstream media losing their minds. For that reason, mainstream reporters prefer to focus on incidentals and sensational content. While they do that, they refuse to address concrete proposals that address real problems that real people have. This includes not only how people vote but how a State chooses State-wide office holders. The State Electoral College provision is one of the most innovative proposals CNAV has seen in a major party platform. It’s far from perfect, but better than what any State currently has.

Real progress will come, as the Texas Nationalist Movement suggest, from convincing people that these recommendations will be good for individual Texas residents and for Texas as a civilizational state, or as a part of one. The TNM, of course, wants an independent Republic of Texas. But if that does not happen, Texas could, with this platform, become a model for all States to follow. And if it does happen, this platform sets out the principles on which an independent Texas should run.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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