By electing Donald Trump on Tuesday, voters entrusted the Republican Party with the highest office in the nation and gave the Establishment a “stunning repudiation.” At the same time they returned a Congressional majority in both chambers, and expanded the number of states with Republican governors to 33, the largest number in almost one hundred years.
The landslide victory should serve as an electoral mandate for conservative legislation, but House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) is pumping the brakes. Loyal to the coalition of liberal Republicans and Democrats that put him in power, Straus is calling for “civil discourse and bipartisan cooperation.”
Though Straus may advocate for it, Texans have little interest in bipartisanship. Texas has voted Republican in the last 10 presidential elections and a Democrat hasn’t been elected statewide since 1994.
Indeed Texans have no appetite for the purple politics of Straus, and in fact consistently reject those who tout them in favor of strong conservative reformers.
One such reformer, conservative Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, had a much different take on the election results. Rather than compromising with liberal Democrats, Patrick argued that Trump’s victory allows state Republicans to “move forward with boldness and confidence,” on passing conservative legislation that would otherwise be stymied by the federal government.
Patrick is known for refusing to kowtow to political opponents and enable political opposition. Shortly into his term as Lt. Gov., Patrick removed the Texas Senate’s onerous two-thirds rule that gave Democrats an effective veto over any legislation by requiring that any measure receive the support of two-thirds of the chamber before it could even be considered.
By reforming the rule, Patrick paved the way for the passage of historic gun rights legislation, tax relief, and pro-life laws.
In a speech on election night, Patrick reiterated his determination to continue pushing forward on such issues, saying he was willing to do “whatever it takes to fight to get the votes to pass solid conservative legislation.”
Patrick’s agenda is comprised of items that Texas conservatives have been eyeing for years such as education choice, ending in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, tax relief, and property tax reform and all have little in way of Democrat support, but that shouldn’t stop them from being pursued.
There is no inherent value to compromise and if Texans wanted Democrats making state policy decisions they’d elect them to positions to do so. Rather than make concessions to a political party that lost, Texas lawmakers should enact an aggressive agenda on the items they campaigned on.