Democrats are lamenting their setbacks in a recent election that witnessed a clear mandate for conservative leadership. One of their biggest complaints: the loss of moderate Republicans. A major example outside of Texas sheds light on how Democrats rely on liberal-leaning Republicans to thwart conservative reforms in the deep red Lone Star State.
A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted the frustration of Democrats in the state of Pennsylvania. Despite claiming victory of the state’s governorship in a bad year for Democratic governors, their chief grievance was that a conservative challenger deposed the Democrat’s “top ally” in the Pennsylvania Senate—notoriously moderate former State Senate Majority Leader, Republican Dominic Pileggi.
Described by conservatives in Pennsylvania as “the number one obstacle in the Senate,” Pileggi quashed numerous reforms that conservatives sought when Republicans held strong majorities in the state Senate and House as well as the Governorship.
It was only thanks to Democrats’ “double agent” Pileggi that conservatives failed to prevail in the mandate of Republican governance.
Over the last session of the Pennsylvania Legislature, Pileggi was liberal Democrats’ best linebacker: blocking major conservative progress in a perennial swing state.
Measures that Pileggi is credited with killing include public sector pension reform and a bill that would have eliminated the Pennsylvania Property Tax. The now-former Majority Leader squelched the actions at the behest of liberal special interests in Harrisburg.
Pileggi’s obstructionism in the Senate without doubt contributed to Democrats’ success in sabotaging Republican Governor Tom Corbett’s agenda. It is likely this contributed to his crushing defeat by Democratic challenger Tom Wolf on election day.
What does this story have to do with the Lone Star State?
Texas Democrats have their own “double agent” in the form of House Speaker Joe Straus.
Whether it is attempting to silence conservative activism, obstructing strict spending limits, sabotaging debt transparency measures, or undermining pro-life legislation, Speaker Straus could be considered one of the “most valuable players” in the Democrats’ corner.
By consistently punishing conservative house members and giving “purple” legislation the fast track, Speaker Straus has empowered an electorally marginalized minority of House Democrats to dictate the agenda of the legislature’s lower chamber.
In the upcoming session, House Republicans will have the opportunity to elect new leadership for Texas. Given the tectonic triumphs of outspoken conservatives over linguini-spined, liberal-leaning leftist allies, it is clear—Texans demand conservative governance.
For any newly elected House Republican claiming to be conservative, it will be a challenge to justify a vote for Joe Straus, given his dependable record of undermining the conservative cause Texas voters have clamored for, year after year.
For Texans, the first question to their state representatives should be: who will you vote for on opening day of the 84th Session?