< }}” alt=”checkmate-fb.png” width=”250″ />The Republican Party is in the midst of a full-blown uprising against the political class. On the national-level it’s the “Trump insurgency”. In Texas, it’s a revolution over something entirely different – a vote on Texas leaving the union.
The Texas Nationalist Movement has been steadily working for a vote on leaving the union. And our point of attack over the past year has been surprising and effective – the operational apparatus of the Republican Party of Texas.
Whether on purpose or by accident, the electoral system firmly establishes the political parties as a wholly ingrained part of the political process in Texas. If you want to achieve political and economic goals, you ignore the role of political parties at your own peril.
The rationale of targeting the Republican Party of Texas isn’t without merit. Polls taken since 2009, most notably by Research 2000 and Reuters/IPSOS, have not only shown that a majority of Republicans believe that Texas would be better off out of the union, the margins have consistently grown with each poll taken.
Much like the Trump insurgency has tapped into a populism that the establishment had been ignoring, the TNM insurgency is tapping into a nationalism that Texas party leaders have been ignoring until it they couldn’t. And much like the national Republican response to Trump, the reaction of the political class in Texas has been one of disdain and disbelief.
The indignant response from the Texas Republican leadership became apparent when the TNM launched a 23-city tour in the summer of 2015 to kick off a statewide petition drive. While petitions are nothing new in Texas, there was something different about what the TNM was doing. Using a little-known and never-used section of Texas election law, the TNM plan was to gather 75,000 signatures which would force a resolution for Texas leaving the union on the Republican Party primary ballot in 2016. And there was every reason to believe that we could pull it off.
The TNM has consistently touted our large number of supporters and the fact that we are adding new supporters by the minute. Although the TNM does not release exact supporter figures, the outward signs give every indication that it’s true. The TNM currently has more Facebook fans than the Republican Party of Texas, the Texas Democratic Party and the Libertarian Party of Texas combined. We have consistently held some of the largest demonstrations at the Texas Capitol during the past few legislative sessions. And, as we are apt to boast, TNM supporters are fond of mass “phone bombs” during those same legislative sessions which clog up capitol switchboards with Texans advocating for pro-Texas legislation.
But there is a difference between being loud and being effective. That all changed during the last legislative session when two of the bills championed by the TNM were actually signed in to law. One bill established a Texas Gold Depository, a key step on the road to economic independence, and the other allowed the sale of fireworks on Texas Independence Day and San Jacinto Day.
Through the duration of the petition campaign the response from the Republican Party of Texas could best be described as disbelief bordering on annoyance. In an interview with the Dallas Morning News, party spokesman Jeff Whitehead expressed, “Our preference is that Republicans choose what’s on the Republican primary ballot.”
His sentiments seemed to confirm the message that the TNM is sending as has been expressed by TNM President Daniel Miller: “The majority of Republicans who want independence are being suppressed by the Republican gatekeepers. It’s time to storm the gates.”
And in the final days of the petition campaign, the TNM did just that.
Tanya Robertson, a member of the State Republican Executive Committee, formally introduced the TNM’s resolution for placement on the March ballot at the December 2015 meeting. While party leaders predicted it would die in the Resolution Committee, it didn’t. The TNM’s resolution beat out a slew of other resolutions tied to high profile Republican issues including abortion, school choice, gun-free zones and one submitted directly from Governor Greg Abbott. It joined 4 other resolutions passed by the committee to be submitted to the full body of the SREC.
It was at this moment that disbelief turned to panic as party leaders went into overdrive. So did the TNM. Overnight, while the leadership of the party was focused on defeating the resolution on a floor vote the next day, the TNM was rallying its supporters to focus their efforts in an unexpected direction – filing to run for Republican Precinct Chairmen.
While the floor debate ensued in front of an overflow crowd, TNM supporters by the hundreds were answering the call and downloading the forms to file to run for Precinct Chair. The Texas Independence Resolution was ultimately defeated on a floor vote by the SREC, but the revolution was already in full swing.
Although the proposition was defeated and the petition effort didn’t garner the requisite signatures, the following Monday brought the realization that the game had changed. As Miller said, “The leaders of the RPT are playing checkers and we are playing chess.”
In a widely-publicized vote, one-third of the SREC had publicly declared their support for giving Texans a vote on leaving the union. Supporters of Texas independence were now poised to take leadership positions within the party. The real prize for the TNM, it seems, was placing pro-independence Texans in control of the party or, at the very least, a seat at the table.
This was reinforced on Super Tuesday when independence supporters were elected to Precinct Chairmanships and County Chairmanships throughout the state. The TNM’s Texas Independence Resolution is also still in play as TNM supporters flooded their precinct conventions after the polls closed with an eye toward the state convention in May to place the call for an independence vote on the party platform.
It may be some time before Texans are able to go to the polls and vote on Texas staying in or leaving the union, but there is no doubt that the TNM has tapped into something among the state’s voters. The message of the TNM that “the best people to make decisions for Texas are Texans” seems to be resonating with voters that increasingly see the unfixable Federal government as the problem. And that sentiment is what has transformed a political nuisance for the establishment into an insurgency and from an insurgency into a full-blown political revolution.
The challenge now for the Republican Party of Texas is whether or not to embrace this pro-Texas, pro-independence enthusiasm that already exists in the party and is growing. Until they decide this question, the TNM revolution will gain strength until the RPT no longer has a choice.