Campaign Crawlers

Texas’ Tuesday Primary Primer

Cornyn wears well, Abbott will win—but Davis?

By 3.3.14

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To judge from the New York Times — which, by the way, no rational human should ever do — the Texas primary on Tuesday is all about who occupies the absolutely, genuinely, no-kiddin’ geographically farthest right position on the ideological spectrum, where none thrive save those who oppose regulation of firearms that could be used to wing an abortionist.

Nah. Nothing that exciting or even plausible. The Texas Republican primary field, the one that counts, emits its share of noise, but rumors of an imminent Tea Party, or Tea Party-affiliated, takeover of the state are a little bit over the top: chiefly on account of Ted Cruz, I infer. Our junior senator and his capers in the capital city inspire many to suppose that Texas conservatives regard moderates as the political equivalent of Santa Anna’s lancers.

The Republican primary campaign has been a grapple-fest due mostly to Barack Obama. The animating idea among various Republican candidates is to suggest a unique personal capacity to grab Obama by the ears and make him holler “Uncle.” What we want around here is enthusiasm — got that?

The idea of Texas’s GOP primary as a battle for the soul of the GOP is a bit overstretched. No Texas Republican desires compromise with Obamaism; Ted Cruz’s senior Republican colleague, Sen. John Cornyn, running for re-election, is a shoo-in despite his inability to froth on cue at the mention of Obama’s name. His Republican opponents in the primary, including a Republican congressman, Steve Stockman, are third-rate show-offs. None has any chance of victory over Cornyn, who claims to identify with Cruz on all major issues. Thought not on strategy. (Cornyn opposed Cruz’s latest gambit — the debt ceiling battle.)

Every major statewide office is at stake in the current election, by reason of Rick Perry’s decision to stand down from the governorship. Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott will win the primary going away. Everyone knows this. The rightwing rocker Ted Nugent, an Abbott supporter, may have maligned Obama as a “subhuman mongrel,” but in gubernatorial-race terms, what’s that got to do with the price of eggs? Except maybe as New York Times writers see it.

In the race for lieutenant governor, the incumbent, David Dewhurst, who lost the Senate runoff to Cruz last election cycle, is seeking re-election as — to be sure — a conservative. His leading challenger, a state senator and former radio host named Dan Patrick, claims almost cosmic opposition to all things liberal. Patrick’s problem, if he has one, is sheer stridency. He sees all, knows all. Nobody is as faithful to the cause as he himself. He is likely to end up in a run-off with Dewhurst. This could prove clarifying. The effects of the race will be confined in any case to Texas.

Various races at various levels have split various conservatives. In Dallas County three prepossessing conservatives are seeking the state House seat left vacant by the retirement of the present representative, who is running for attorney general. One will win in November; meanwhile their supporters strain at gnats to determine which is the true conservative paladin. The race for attorney general effects similar divisions.

Oh — and what about Wendy? You know — Wendy Davis; the Fort Worth state senator, blonde-haired, oratorical, whom the Democrats around here tout as their long-term hope for the recovery of Texas from Republican bondage. Wendy has a green light to November and, after that, depending on her campaigning chops, to adoration by Democratic feminists. But she ain’t gonna beat Abbott. Stick a fork in her, etc., etc., etc.

The second most prosperous state in the union (after, save the mark, North Dakota, with its Bakken oil fields) is a nut too tough for Democrats to crack so long as their party remains devoted to the ideals, such as they are, of Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Kathleen Sebelius. Even Hillary might sell around her as a blessed relief from the Obama Regime, disdain for which is the driving theme of Texas politics. And rightly so, you bet, pardner.

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About the Author

William Murchison is a Dallas-based columnist for Creators Syndicate. His latest book is The Cost of Liberty: The Life of John Dickinson.