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Dade Phelan Re-Elected As Speaker – Tea-Party Faction Flips Out

Dade Phelan will be the next speaker, and the Republicans will again push terrible legislation that will worsen our lives.

Last year, the far-right HD2 Representative Bryan Slaton pushed to have Democrats appointed chair positions in the Texas House. The only Rep that joined him was Jeff Cason, who was forced into an early retirement via redistricting. Yet, Slaton was determined. He continued his plight to have no Democratic chairs in the legislature this year.

In a recent interview, Slaton told Texans for Fiscal Responsibility that Democrats shouldn’t have chairs because they called Republicans racist.

A point backed up by a recent tweet from the CEO of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Tim Hardin.

I watched the entire legislative session in 2021. House Democrats never called any House Republicans racist either in committee or on the House Floor.

Speaker Dade Phelan even told the body, “No one is allowed to SAY racist.”

Democrats did, on occasion, call bills and intent racist. That’s because they were.

Take Bryan Slaton, for example.

Last legislative session Slaton introduced a bill to protect and preserve all Jim Crow-era statues in the State of Texas. These statues have long been referred to as odes to white supremacy, and the fact that Slaton wanted to preserve them was pretty racist.

Aside from that, last session, Republicans reinstated vagrancy laws, implemented bills to punish cities that invested in programs to reduce police violence and passed a racially gerrymandered map.

Tweet by Tim Hardin, CEO of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility

That was just the tip of it. And “insurrectionists?” Retired Rep Kyle Biedermann, Attorney General Ken Paxton, and Senator Angela Paxton all attended the January 6 insurrection. Representative Briscoe Cain flew to Pennsylvania to try and help Republicans there overturn the election. If any Republicans in the House were called “insurrectionist,” it was a well-deserved title.

This year, Slaton again made a big push not to have any Democratic chairs in the Texas House.

Representative Tony Tinderholt, the only Rep who befriended Slaton in the last session, said he planned to challenge Phelan for Speaker of the House.

His reasoning? To make sure that Democrats didn’t get any chair positions.

The far-right gobbled it up. They accused Phelan of not being conservative enough and called him a RINO.

To be clear, under Phelan, Texas women last their rights to bodily autonomy, millions were disenfranchised of their right to vote, and Black history was banned from being taught in public schools.

If the conservative principle is taking away people’s freedom and liberties, Phelan is about as conservative as they come.

But for the Tea-Party faction, Slaton, Tinderholt, and the stooges at Empower Texans, conservatism is about tribalism, and appointing a Democratic chair violates their rigid ideals of us vs. them.

Matt Rinaldi, the State GOP chair, and the State Republican Party got on board with Slaton’s idea.

Last week they put out a statement and a list of Republicans who supported a ban on Democrat Committee Chairs. That list included:

  • Bryan Slaton
  • Tony Tinderholt
  • Matt Schaefer
  • Steve Toth
  • Cody Vasut
  • Matt Shaheen
  • Briscoe Cain
  • Valoree Swanson
  • Gary Gates
  • Ellen Troxclair
  • Carrie Isaac
  • Nate Schatzline
  • Terri Leo-Wilson
  • Mark Dorazio
  • Ben Baumgarner
  • Caroline Harris
  • Richard Hayes

It seemed like Slaton’s push for more tribalism was gaining traction. Now only ten House Republicans were seemingly on board, and eight Representative-elects supposedly were on board too, even though they have yet to be sworn in.

Then, on December 3, the GOP Caucus in the Texas House voted by secret ballot to nominate the House Speaker.

Dade Phelan won 78-6.

This means that 12 Republicans who publicly committed not to support Phelan changed their votes in secret. We can only speculate who stuck to their guns at this point. Bryan Slaton and Tony Tinderholt were undoubtedly the two who remained committed.

All of the Rep-elects likely felt bullied into supporting Slaton’s position and changed their vote via secret ballot. Although, some on the far-right have assured that Carrie Isaac has stuck to her guns.

Again, we can only speculate at this point.

After that, the Tea-Party faction Republicans had a complete meltdown.

Jonathan Stickland called Phelan’s re-election a success for Democrats. Tony Tinderholt vowed to keep fighting. Kambree from the Texas Scorecard said she was sure Democrats were thrilled.

Then, the Tea-Party factions attacked Republican James Frank from HD69.

Who knows why he became the target of their anger, but the things they said to him were very telling of the current state of the Republican Party.

Essentially, the official position of the Republican Party of Texas, the Texas Scorecard, Empower Texans, and Tea-Party Republicans is that you are not a real Republican and cannot run under the Republican banner if you work for your constituency.

You heard that right. They believe that Republican representatives should ONLY work for Republican primary voters and not for ALL the people of Texas.

To be clear, 30 million people are living in Texas. However, only 1 million of them are Republican primary voters.

Tribalism. Us vs. Them. And they hate us so much that everything they do is geared towards hurting us.

Yet, 9 million registered voters didn’t bother to show up to the polls.

Dade Phelan will be the next speaker, and the Republicans will again push terrible legislation that will worsen our lives.

For the extreme right, it still won’t be good enough. Slaton and Tinderholt will continue to push for Democrats not to have a voice in Texas, regardless of how many of us live here. The 88th Legislative Session starts in one month. So get ready to show up and be ready to stand your ground.

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