In Texas, It's Beto vs. The Kid-Torturing Governor!
Let’s break down those Texas primary results, shall we? First, the bad news: Governor Greg Abbott decisively defeated seven challengers for the GOP nomination and avoided a runoff. He’ll face Beto O’Rourke, who handily won the Democratic primary, in November.
The New York Times fairly drooled over Abbott’s victory, noting how he spent the past year delivering for Texans ... no, just kidding: Abbott shamelessly catered to the "state’s conservative base by passing new restrictions on abortion, easing gun laws and enacting new limits on how Texas schools teach about the history of racism.” That was apparently enough to make Republican voters forget how they almost froze to death last year.
PREVIOUSLY: Millions In Dark And Cold In Texas, So Expect Mandatory Coal-Burning Stoves, And Guns
The Times is already picturing Abbott in the White House: "Mr. Abbott has been said to have presidential ambitions himself, if Mr. Trump does not run again in 2024. The next step on that journey for him will require a decisive victory in November. In a year when Republicans are expected to do well, he will need a show of strength in Texas to make a case he can appeal to voters nationwide.”
This is the media’s double standard. Abbott is a rightwing extremist who has attacked voting rights and children. His policies have made the state less safe for pregnant Texans and people who want to avoid getting shot in the head. He’s unleashed hell on the marginalized for his own political gain yet he’s presented as a viable nationwide candidate. God help us.
GOP Attorney General Ken Paxton, who’s so scandal-ridden his official title includes “embattled,” did not avoid a runoff in his race against Land Commissioner George P. Bush. However, it wasn’t that close: Paxton got 42.7 percent of the vote versus Bush’s low-energy 22.8 percent. We’ll never let Bush forget how he debased himself at the scuzzy feet of Donald Trump, who still endorsed his loyal seditionist Paxton. Louie Gohmert, who retired from Congress to challenge Paxton, came in dead last with 17.1 percent. So ends a disgraceful career.
The runoff is more or less a formality, and Paxton is already boasting that he will personally “end the Bush dynasty.” Even the worst people can do something positive.
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Trump’s command over the GOP electorate was evident. The candidates he backed, such as Sen. Dawn Buckingham for land commissioner, did well, and any Republican on his bad side faced a stark reversal of fortune. Rep. Van Taylor was forced into a runoff against former Collin County Judge Keith Self, who attacked Taylor’s vote for a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection. The bipartisan commission didn’t survive the Senate filibuster but Trump holds a grudge nonetheless, snubbing Taylor while endorsing 16 other Republican incumbents.
Here’s some good news: Progressive Greg Casar, a former Austin city councilman, easily won his primary and will probably cruise to a general election victory in his safely Democratic district. Immigration attorney Jessica Cisneros forced a runoff against moderate incumbent Henry Cuellar. She’d narrowly lost to him in 2020 but she had a slight advantage during this year’s rematch, as Cuellar is currently under FBI investigation. It’s never great for your reelection campaign when the feds raid your home a few weeks before voting starts.
See you all in May for the runoffs and the rest of the nation’s actual primaries.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."