After news broke that House Speaker Joe Straus would not seek re-election to the Texas House, notable Democrats took to Twitter to commend the liberal lawmaker for his role in killing conservative reform.
The first and most notable leftist was failed gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis. Now working for Planned Parenthood as a spokesman, Davis took to Twitter to applaud Straus for always putting “people above party,” calling his retirement a “sad day for Texas.”
— Wendy Davis (@wendydavis) October 25, 2017
Not to be outdone, U.S. Congressman Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke of El Paso, who is currently running against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, stated in an interview he hoped Straus would eventually look to run for another public office.
— Patrick Svitek (@PatrickSvitek) October 30, 2017
It’s notable that O’Rourke doesn’t mention which office. And given Texas Democrats failure thus far to find a candidate for governor, perhaps O’Rourke is in the Straus for Governor camp.
But it wasn’t just losers and soon-to-be-losers who rent their garments on social media lamenting Straus’ “retirement.” Incumbent Democrats in the Texas Legislature were consistently the same. After years of lauding their alliance with the Speaker, the liberal Republican ship is sinking.
— Donna Howard (@DonnaHowardTX) August 20, 2017
Thing is, Texans can’t really blame the Democrats for being unhappy. They know that Straus was the best thing to happen to their state party, a party which hasn’t won a single statewide office in more than two decades.
But now, things are a changin’.
While they used their coalition to dethrone Republican Speaker Tom Craddick, elect Speaker Straus, and then re-elect the liberal speaker to his position several times over, they know their best last hope has departed. Unless, of course, Straus’ Republican allies replace him with a member from inside their ever-shrinking circle.
With House Republicans currently maneuvering to select a nominee internally, Texas Democrats now rightfully fear a mainstream Republican holding the gavel, and moving the legislature more in line with the Republican Party’s values.
While the retirement of Speaker Straus surely spells a victory for the grassroots movement, conservatives ought to keep the pedal to the metal going into what will be a crucial 2018 election cycle.