The Corner

Texas Tea Party Still Wields Clout

It wasn’t a good night for the political class in Texas’s primary runoffs last night.

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, the establishment Republican who lost to Ted Cruz in the Senate primary in 2012, saw his political career evaporate. Dewhurst won 42 percent of the vote against Cruz. But in the March primary he won only 29 percent versus tea-party-backed Senator Dan Patrick. That left Dewhurst and Patrick scrambling for the remaining 30 percent of the vote in the runoff. Despite a vicious character-assassination campaign against Patrick financed by $5 million of his own money, Dewhurst bombed. He won only 35 percent of the primary vote, a pathetic showing for an incumbent. Other tea-party-backed candidates won the runoffs for attorney general and agriculture commissioner.

Down ballot, the Tea Party had a good night in most races. It lost one primary runoff in the Houston area for the seat vacated by eccentric congressman Steve Stockman. But John Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney backed by the Club for Growth, defeated 91-year-old incumbent Representative Ralph Hall, who was seeking an 18th term. 

Should Republicans retain the Texas governorship with Attorney General Greg Abbott this November, the legislature that he will face will be significantly more conservative. A group called Empower Texas defeated establishment Republicans in two primary runoffs for state senate seats yesterday, and won a significant number of the House runoffs. Bill Hammond, a leading lobbyist for Texas business interests, says he’s worried that the legislature may be so conservative that they will take a meat axe to business subsidies and development aid. 

The Texas Model for economic growth — low taxes, reasonable regulation, and a business-friendly climate has made the state prosperous. It also appears to be good politics, because the candidates who most vigorously promoted that model won most of the races yesterday. 

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More