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Texas Republicans Offer Up a Christian Nationalist, Anti-Democracy Platform

Voters in rural counties would be given expansive voting power, vastly outweighing voters in cities and suburban areas.

The Texas State Capitol, with the U.S. and Texas flags flying in the foreground.

During its state convention this past weekend, the Republican Party of Texas approved a platform that lays out a Christian nationalist vision for the state, which would be maintained through an anti-democratic elections process that would create a permanent, one-party system.

Party platforms are meant to give voters an impression of what that organization’s principles and goals are. While not binding, they provide a basic idea of the policies a party will pursue should its members win control of government in an upcoming election.

The 50-page platform from the Republican Party of Texas suggests that the party will seek to instill a number of far right policies, including:

  • Restricting in-person voting to just three days prior to an election day;
  • Adopting a so-called “parents’ rights” view of schooling, which would forbid any schools from teaching about “sexual choice or identity…in any grade whatsoever” and passing a law “even more comprehensive than the Florida [Don’t Say Gay] law,” effectively stamping out LGBTQ students’ right to feel safe in schools;
  • Restricting even further the right to obtain an abortion, and banning methods of birth control that the far right considers “abortifacients,” such as Plan B (“the morning after” pill);
  • And mandating that the state legislature and the state Board of Education “require instruction on the Bible” in all public schools throughout Texas.

The party platform also calls for vast changes to how statewide officials are elected, urging for the creation of a system that would be an extreme version of the federal Electoral College by giving equal voting weight to each county, regardless of population size.

In the proposal, candidates for statewide office would have to win a majority of counties in the state, rather than a direct majority of voters, to win the position they’re seeking. Per the platform:

The State Legislature shall cause to be enacted a State Constitutional Amendment to add the additional criteria for election to a statewide office to include the majority vote of the counties with each individual county being assigned one vote allocated to the popular majority vote winner of each individual county.

Democrats have not won a statewide office position in Texas for decades, but the proposal would almost guarantee that they could never win a position ever again.

The last presidential election provides an example of how extreme this plan would be. Former President Donald Trump won the state against President Joe Biden by a margin of 52 percent to 46 percent, respectively. But under the Texas GOP’s proposed changes, Trump would have won 91 percent of the total counties compared to Biden’s 9 percent.

Even if a Democratic candidate has a majority of voters supporting them — likely through obtaining large margins of victories in highly populated counties — they still wouldn’t win the election. In Dallas County, for example, where Biden won with 598,576 votes compared to Trump’s 307,076, the outcome would be canceled out under the GOP’s proposal by the outcome in Loving County, a sparsely populated jurisdiction where Trump won 60 votes total compared to Biden’s nine votes from people living there.

In short, the Republican Party would likely become the only party in the state under this scheme, although far right third parties could potentially do well under it, too.

On his Substack, historian Kevin Kruse described the proposal as a “throwback to the decidedly undemocratic systems that southern states had before the civil rights era.” Indeed, several states, Kruse noted, had similar voting systems in place that Republicans in Texas are now proposing to bring back; such systems served as a means to prevent Black voters from obtaining any real representation in the state legislature during the Jim Crow era.

Those systems were invalidated by a series of Supreme Court rulings that created the standard of “one person, one vote” in state elections. If Texas tries to reimplement the plan, however, it will likely return to the Court, which has taken a decidedly right-wing turn over the past two decades, and may give reconsideration to those past precedents.

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