The Texas GOP just adopted an official platform of sedition and homophobia

It’s an inevitable milestone after half a decade of Trumpism.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks about federal COVID-19 mask mandates, during a news conference on Cap...
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This weekend, Texas Republicans passed what is perhaps the most restrictive, reactionary, bigoted party platform of the past half century. The platform, adopted on the closing day of the Texas GOP state convention, offers an array of deeply homophobic, transphobic, pro-gun, anti-democracy planks, including declaring homosexuality “an abnormal lifestyle” and insisting that President Biden was “not legitimately elected by the people of the United States.”

The platform and its planks, voted on by more than 5,000 Texas GOP delegates and alternates, could be easily dismissed as a far-right fluke, animated by a handful of party die-hards more focused on enshrining their state’s “right to secede from the United States” than actually meeting the needs of their fellow Texans. Everything is bigger in Texas, right? But writing off this unambiguous lurch into enshrined Christian nationalism (there’s even an entire section dedicated to “religious freedom” that focuses exclusively on Christianity) is to miss the forest for the trees. The Texas GOP platform, extreme as it is, is not some aberration to be shrugged off as merely Texans doing Texas Texan-ly. Instead, it’s best to think of the platform and its newest planks as both the inevitable outcome of America’s longstanding — if recently accelerated — right-wing enterprise of exclusion and repression, as well as a template for what’s yet to come.

Consider that nothing in the platform, no matter how abhorrently bigoted or excessive sounding, is unique to the document itself. Every plank — from equating pornography with pedophilia, to opposing “all efforts to validate transgender identity,” to advocating for America’s withdrawal from the “corrupt World Health Organization” — is an expression of an existing sentiment. And while those sentiments may have been honed and uniquely weaponized during the Trump administration and into our current MAGA-fied reality, they all have their roots in older, more civil (read, less obvious) conservatism. Aside from the uniquely Texan sections advocating secession from the Union and other Texas-specific ideologies, the whole document reads as a capstone to what has long been the goal of American conservatives. Texas isn’t the outlier, but the inevitable outcome.

Perhaps even more frightening, then, is what comes next. Because if the Texas GOP platform isn’t an aberration but a collating of pre-existing conservative threads, then it’s only a matter of time before other state conservative parties emulate this same document — regardless of the Republican party’s old guard who would, ostensibly (but not actually) water down the more extreme bits. Keep in mind that the Texas platform makes a point of explicitly condemning Sen. John Cornyn — who just this past February enjoyed fairly unanimous Republican support — for having backed the weakest, bare-minimum effort by Congress to address gun violence after the elementary school massacre in Uvalde. This, after Cornyn himself was booed off the stage during his brief convention appearance. Just like other states looking to Texas’s extreme anti-abortion law as boilerplate legislation for their own iterations, so too will Republicans in other states likely see what Texas has adopted as its official GOP positions and see a door wide open for them to codify their own extremism.

For citizens of Texas, the GOP’s new platform is a horrifying reminder that the majority party in that state considers many of them to be sub-human criminals. For the rest of the country, the Texas GOP’s platform is a reminder of a different sort. It’s a reminder that Texas, although perhaps first to enshrine this degree of extremism as core party principles, isn’t an aberration — it’s an inevitability.