Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to The Other McCain, The Daley Gator, Pirate’s Cove, Flappr, and Bacon Time for the Rule Five links!

On education, Texas is showing us the way.

A wave of Republican incumbents fell to conservative challengers in the Texas House in last week’s primary run-offs, turning an already red legislature crimson and threatening the state House GOP leader’s hold on power. Those who helped lead the intra-party Texas fight now have their sights set on defeating centrist Republicans in other red states, including Tennessee, Georgia, Idaho, and South Carolina.

A concerted joint effort by Gov. Greg Abbott, outside groups, and a deep-pocketed donor flipped the seats of 14 Republicans who had opposed Abbott’s school-choice measure – a state record.

Abbott’s effort to pass school choice died last fall when 21 House Republicans – mostly from rural districts – voted to strip a voucher program out of a larger education bill. Of those 21 voucher opponents, 15 now aren’t returning. The coalition defeated six GOP incumbents in March, then three more in last week’s run-offs. Additionally, the group filled four of the five retiring Republican seats with voucher supporters, and then a voucher backer won a special election run-off.  

It seems Governor Abbott’s school choice agenda was a big part of the crimson tide that overtook Texas’s primaries.

The leading factor in these Republicans’ historic defeats hasn’t been making the most national headlines or even the most local news. It’s unrelated to Abbott’s border fight with President Biden, state Attorney General Ken Paxton’s resentment over efforts to impeach him, or even widespread local protests over the state’s skyrocketing property taxes.  

Those issues all played out in the election, but school choice was far and away the most lethal campaign issue across the Lone Star state. Its impact was especially potent considering the totality of political spending and blitz of advertisements focused on school vouchers and related issues dominating the Texas airwaves and inundating inboxes.

This is an issue that the GOP should take nationwide. If there is any issue that will gain support among lower-income urban voters who are concerned with the failing schools in our major cities, this is it, and since Democrats are essentially owned by the teacher’s unions, it’s not an issue they can take up.

Teacher’s unions, by the way, have been more harmful to education than any other single organization in the nation.

I’d prefer to see government out of education altogether, but that’s probably not going to happen any time soon. Vouchers are a step in the right direction, though; we should watch events in Texas with great interest.