"16 Wacky Ideas In The Texas Republican Party’s New Platform"
CREDIT: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
Immigrants, gay people, children, minority voters, the environment, elderly Americans and, of course, President Obama, are the big losers in the Texas Republican Party’s 2014 platform. Meanwhile, rich taxpayers, conspiracy theorists and Wall Street make out like gangbusters. The 40 page document, which was released to the public on Wednesday, provides a healthy serving of red meat to nearly every segment of American conservatives. Even anti-pornography activists can find something to love in this platform
We read through the entire platform so that your wouldn’t have to. Here are some of the most bizarre ideas we discovered:
1) Pornography Should Be Treated Just Like Cocaine
Texas Republicans “encourage state and federal governments to severely prosecute illegal dealers and manufacturers of addictive substances, including pornography.” They also support “the enforcement of laws regarding all forms of pornography, because pornography is detrimental to society.”
2) Social Security Should Be Phased Out
The Texas GOP platform calls for “an immediate and orderly transition” away from Social Security and towards “a system of private pensions based on the concept of individual retirement accounts.” It also supports “gradually phasing out the Social Security tax,” a proposal which will starve the program for funding. According to a 2012 study, Social Security keeps over 20 million Americans from falling into poverty.
3) Texas Should Veto Federal Laws
“Nullification” is an unconstitutional doctrine which claims that states may invalidate federal laws within their own borders. It’s also explicitly repudiated by the Constitution, which provides that duly enacted federal laws “shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” Nevertheless, the Texas GOP platform calls for the state legislature to “ignore, oppose, refuse, and nullify any federal mandated legislation which infringes upon the states’ 10th Amendment Right.” Although the platform is vague regarding how Texas Republicans interpret the Tenth Amendment, the top Republican in Texas, Gov. Rick Perry, has argued that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid all violate this amendment.
As a bonus, the platform also claims that the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies should have to get a Texas sheriff’s permission before they can investigate federal crimes.
4) Americans Should Not Be Allowed To Choose Their Own Senators
The Seventeenth Amendment abolished an older practice that empowered state lawmakers to choose their state’s senators, in no small part because the old system “led to rampant and blatant corruption, letting corporations and other moneyed interests effectively buy U.S. Senators, and tied state legislatures up in numerous, lengthy deadlocks over whom to send to Washington.” The Texas GOP platform, however, wants to return to the day when the American people could not vote on their own senators. “Full Repeal of the 17th Amendment of the United States Constitution” is one of the platform’s demands.
5) The Problem With America’s Schools Is That They Have Too Much Money
According to the Texas GOP, “[s]ince data is clear that additional money does not translate into educational achievement, and higher education costs are out of control, we support reducing taxpayer funding to all levels of education institutions.”
6) All Federal Agencies Should Be Rendered Impotent
Texas Republicans “decry the appointment of unelected bureaucrats, and we urge Congress to use their constitutional authority to defund and abolish these positions and return authority to duly elected officials” — a sweeping statement that appears to rule out allowing anyone from being paid to implement federal laws. It is not clear whether United States Senators would qualify as “unelected bureaucrats,” if the Texas GOP’s proposal to abolish the Seventeenth Amendment became law.
As an interim measure, before all “unelected bureaucrats” are fired, the platform says that “[e]xecutive decisions by agencies must be reviewed and approved by Congress before taking effect” — a provision that would make it virtually impossible for any executive agency to do anything at all, given the paralytic state of our Congress. The platform also calls for “Elimination of Executive Orders,” and it names once agency in particular as particularly disfavored — “We believe the Environmental Protection Agency should be abolished.”
7) Climate Change Is A Myth
Texas Republicans don’t just want to eliminate the Environmental Protect Agency, they deny the overwhelming scientific consensus indicating that man-made climate change is a real and serious problem. Climate change, according to the Texas GOP, “is a political agenda which attempts to control every aspect of our lives.”
8) Congress Must Act Now To Prevent America From Becoming A Muslim Caliphate
The platform urges “the Texas Legislature and the United States Congress to enact legislation prohibiting any judicial jurisdiction from allowing any substitute or parallel system of law, specifically foreign law (including Sharia Law), which is not in accordance with the United States or Texas Constitutions.” Bans on Sharia law are a common proposal raised by Islamophobic state lawmakers. Yet, in an opinion blocking Oklahoma’s Sharia ban, a federal appeals court explained that the law’s defenders “did not know of even a single instance where an Oklahoma court had applied Sharia law or used the legal precepts of other nations or cultures, let alone that such applications or uses had resulted in concrete problems in Oklahoma.”
9) God Hates Gay People, And Their Bosses Should Be Allowed To Fire Them For Being Gay
“Homosexuality is a chosen behavior that is contrary to the fundamental unchanging truths that have been ordained by God in the Bible,” according to Texas Republicans. Moreover, the platform denounces the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit anti-gay employment discrimination, explaining that “government regulations which would coerce business owners and employees to violate their own consciences, beliefs, and principles.”
10) Gayness Can Be Cured
The Texas GOP “recognize[s] the legitimacy and efficacy of counseling, which offers reparative therapy and treatment for those patients seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle.” In reality, people who have undergone such “theapy” describe it as a source of “shame, emotional harm, self-hate, suicidal ideation, and nervous breakdowns.”
11) The Voting Rights Act Should Be Repealed
The Supreme Court recently gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, which prevents voters from being denied the right to vote because of their race. Nevertheless, the act’s provision allowing lawsuits challenging state laws that deny or abridge “the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color” remains in effect. Texas Republicans want to change that — “We urge that the Voter Rights Act of 1965, codified and updated in 1973, be repealed and not reauthorized.”
Additionally, the platform calls for a wide range of laws that will make it harder to cast a vote: “We support repeal of all motor voter laws; re-registering voters every four years; requiring photo ID of all registrants; proof of residency and citizenship, along with voter registration application; retention of the 30-day registration deadline; and requiring that a list of certified deaths be provided to the Secretary of State in order that the names of deceased voters be removed from the list of registered voters.”
12) America Needs More Income Inequality
The platform calls for a broad range of tax reforms that would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest Americans, including a “flat tax,” “[a]bolishment of estate taxes,” “[a]bolishment of capital gains taxes” and “[a]bolishment of the gift tax.” Meanwhile, here’s how wealthy people are currently faring even without the Texas GOP’s tax reforms:
13) Children Of Non-Citizens Should Be Stripped Of Their Citizenship
Texas Republicans call “on the Texas Legislature to pass a constitutional amendment that defines citizenship as those born to a citizen of the United States or through naturalization.” Texas lawmakers do not, however, have the authority to unilaterally amend the United States Constitution, which provides that “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” The words “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” in this context, only excludes a small group of children, such as the children of foreign diplomats who enjoy diplomatic immunity to U.S. law.
14) The Supreme Court Should Not Be Allowed To Enforce The Bill of Rights
The platform urges “Congress to withhold Supreme Court jurisdiction in cases involving abortion, religious freedom, and the Bill of Rights.” The constitutionality of this proposal is doubtful, but it is also unclear whether the Texas GOP has fully thought out whether it makes sense to reduce the power of the conservative Roberts Court. In recent years, the Supreme Court has not simply expanded gun rights under the Second Amendment, it also appears likely to give business owners new authority to ignore federal laws they object to on religious grounds.
15) America Needs To Quit The United Nations
The Texas GOP supports “the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations and the removal of United Nations headquarters from United States soil.” Additionally, it appears to embrace a conspiracy theory previously touted by one of Texas’ most famous Republicans. The platform “oppose[s] implementation of the United Nations Agenda 21 treaty policies and its supporting organizations, agreements, and contracts which were adopted at the Earth Summit Conference in 1992.” In reality, Agenda 21 is a more than two decades-old non-binding resolution which primarily speaks at a high level of generality about reducing poverty and building sustainable living environments. During his campaign for the United States Senate, however, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) claimed that it “attempts to abolish ‘unsustainable’ environments, including golf courses, grazing pastures, and paved roads,” and that the originator of this War on Golf is liberal billionaire George Soros.
Finally, the platform embraces the widespread belief among Republican legislators and views of Fox News that the deaths of several Americans in Benghazi, Libya was not just a tragedy, but that it is also part of some grand criminal conspiracy by the Obama Administration. Texas Republicans want a special prosecutor to try to uncover what countless congressional hearings have yet to find — evidence of criminal action on the part of administration officials. It also calls for “bringing those responsible to justice, including jail time.”