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Doubling Down: Texas GOP Moves Further Right

Attending the Texas Republican Party convention held in San Antonio over the Memorial Day weekend offered a ringside seat for floor debates on a number culture war issues, and provided a glimpse into how the party has been taken over by the new populist movement on the right.

The 2024 Texas GOP Convention was held May 23-25 at the Henry B. González Convention Center in downtown San Antonio branded with the motto “Defend Texas, Save America,” and featured not one but two Trump “superstores” selling innumerable red, white, blue and gold merchandise.

Floor debate in the main hall where 5200 delegates gathered was punctuated by loud and angry delegates shouting disapproval of any platform language harkening back to “compassionate conservatism” of George W. Bush’s party. 

Rules and Platform Debates

Multiple amendments to party planks were presented, and debate went on until nearly midnight, Friday. The following planks were debated:

  • Plank sought to curtail the power of the state judicial branch to use latitude in interpreting laws, as well as calling for abolishing gun-free zones and all abortion options. 
  • Closing state Republican party primaries to prohibit any non-Republicans from casting votes in Texas was hotly debated, with delegates from South Texas urging the party to keep them open in order to grow the party by adding Latino voters.
  • Altering language defining the description of the sex of party chair and vice chair candidates to ensure a ban on transgender members being elected, and lengthy debate was had as to which words should be included to protect the party in the future.

The gender wording debate went on for nearly an hour, debating religious doctrine and how it defines gender. 

The Party Shift

For a party that frequently cries foul regarding the restriction of free speech, delegates booed and shouted each other down during debate on the floor.

Delegates also called for increasing Christian religious practices and materials in public schools on the basis that the words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the original constitution, even though the concept is enshrined in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. 

A former county official speaking off the record said that the shift to the right began during the Obama administration and snowballed with the election of Donald Trump. 

According to the former official, the makeup of the state delegation has become increasingly irrational and boisterous, effectively drowning out the more measured and level headed party leaders of years past, reflecting the Trump era.

What about real issues

Issues facing Texans everyday were largely ignored by the party, and all discussion seemed to revolve around how to negate any and all social progress the U.S. has made in the past two decades. 

There was no mention of how a continued reliance on fossil fuels contributed to more devastating storms such as the recent Derecho, or inland hurricane, that devastated the greater Houston area the week prior to the convention. 

Dave Manning
Dave Manning
Dave Manning is a content creation professional with a background in multiple forms of media and communications. As a former university publications editor, staff, and freelance writer, he has created content for newspapers, magazines, and online media sites. He has also created content, both written and digital, for small businesses, global corporations, and nonprofit organizations. Aside from being a regular contributor to RA News, he is currently working on a novel for digital publication.


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