Texas GOP Is At A Crossroads After Capitol Insurrection. Which Way Will It Go?

“We are at that sort of key place in time where the Republican Party of Texas should be very concerned.”

By Kristen CabreraFebruary 4, 2021 3:34 pm

A storm has been brewing in the Texas Republican Party after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. It fired a staffer who had posted a video of himself at the Capitol during the riot.

Matthew Dowd says that staffer was evidence of a larger problem in the party, not just in Texas but nationwide – one it will have to continue to grapple with in this post-Trump era.

“I think it’s enough to sort of cause the eyes of many people in our country, and many people in the world, to look at us and say, ‘What’s going on in America?'” Dowd told Texas Standard.

Dowd is a former ABC News chief political analyst, former adviser to former President George W. Bush and an author and co-founder of Country Over Party.

A moment for Republicans to look inward

“This is the first time somebody has tried to nullify an election since 1860 in the run-up to the Civil War. So, yes, I think it’s a key moment in time for the Republicans to ask themselves a whole bunch of questions about where they’re headed,” Dowd said.

Should the Texas GOP should be concerned about people leaving the Republican Party?

NPR has reported that thousands of people are leaving the GOP, but not all because of what happened on Jan. 6. Some are leaving because they feel the party has turned its back on former President Donald Trump. Either way, Dowd says Texas Republican leaders should take notice.

“I think the Texas GOP should be real concerned. This is a symptom of a much deeper problem in the Republican Party and in the Texas GOP,” Dowd said.

He says whether it’s Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, who could potentially lose her House committee positions because of spreading conspiracy theories and more, or Trump or the insurrection, Dowd says all of those things “have led us here.”

“I think that we are at that sort of key place in time where the Republican Party of Texas should be very concerned,” Dowd said.

What has Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said about his party’s future?

Dowd says Abbott hasn’t said much about the insurrection, even as it has led to further division in his party.

“I think it’s incredibly unfortunate that more Republicans, leaders like Gov. Abbott, haven’t stood up for … what happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6 – stood up to the sort of crazies and crackpots that have emerged in the course of this,” Dowd said.

He says Republicans can look to history, to Sam Houston, who disagreed with secession efforts in 1859, and was ultimately kicked out of office because he took a principled stand.

“And I think that’s where I think Republican leaders have to land,” he said. “Are they going to take a principled stand against these things that are against our Constitution and risk losing office? Or are they just going to quietly go along and allow it to continue to destroy much of our political discourse?”

The Tea Party didn’t destroy the GOP. Why should Republicans be worried about the far-right wing of their party today?

“It’s much more of a threat, and it’s wholly different. I mean, you didn’t have the Tea Party sort of raise arms and go to the Capitol to try to overthrow an election. So it’s a big difference in co-opting the Tea Party, and dealing with what we have to deal with today.”

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