As the end of Texas’ legislative session draws near, and conservative activists see too little of their agenda getting accomplished, I am reminded that there is good money to be made by Republican strategists in “almost” winning. That is to say, politicians and their cronies find it advantageous for the citizens to lose.

The activists, lobbyists, and politicians on the left have their own sorts of internal issues and strife, none of which concern me that greatly.

In Texas, Democrats and leftists cannot advance their priorities (or kill conservatives’) without the explicit permission of Republicans.

When the priorities of conservatives die, it is because Republican lawmakers allowed it – every single time.

I have spent most of my adult life observing and participating in the operations of the political right. Here is what disgusts me most: In “conservative” politics, there is really good money to be made in “almost” solving a problem. Republican strategists and lobbyists make their careers on “near wins.” Legislators win re-election with the promise of “next time.”

Sure, when all else fails, they might deliver a minor victory or two. Some table scraps will be tossed to the grassroots, but the insiders reserve the substantive efforts for ensuring big paydays for their cronies and themselves. This is why you have been denied, again, substantive and lasting property tax relief even though corporate welfare is growing.

At the risk of offending you, my readers, let me be blunt: This is our fault. We have succumbed to the tyranny of low expectations.

Conservative activists have too often adopted a participation-trophy mentality when it comes to political engagement. We let the politicians, strategists, and consultants define our expectations and set the measures of success.

They preen as experts when they are, in fact, charlatans.

We should not be surprised that their standard is a loss which keeps them employed for another term to fight an issue that should have already been won. They give us paper-thin excuses and hope we’re too busy with our families, businesses, or other interests to realize they are part of the problem.

Frankly, conservatives could be getting this same record of losses for a lot less money. Texas is slouching towards California not because of Californian refugees, but because native-born Texans are cashing big checks without delivering on their promises.

Despite complete GOP control of Texas’ executive, legislative, and judicial branches for more than 20 years, the state’s policy landscape is littered with the refuse of unkept campaign promises. By this point, conservative activists should be making up priorities rather than still waiting for substantive action on Republican-defining issues. Government is bigger, and the tax burdens are heavier.

Lawmakers are already bragging about making “some” progress on the GOP’s eight priorities. Eight, out of thousands of pieces of legislation filed, and the hundreds that will pass. Forgive me for not being overwhelmed with amazement.

And, yet, the voters – that would be you and me – keep rewarding them by returning them and their co-conspirators to office.

Until we raise our expectations as citizens, they will continue to serve mediocre results. They will not deliver better until we demand better.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."