Political language and the narrative framing used in campaign ads are smudgy windows with a view into today’s rancid media and political cultures. Corruption is rampant. Extreme claims and disinformation are in vogue. And if you happen to line up on the right, you will need to pay fealty to Don Trump.
Let’s look at the race for Texas Attorney General. The sitting A.G. is Ken Paxton. Paxton was indicted on three felony charges related to securities fraud violations and accused by his top deputies of using his office to help a wealthy donor with a troubled real estate empire. An evangelical conservative, Paxton has positioned himself as a fierce fighter for right-wing causes and a close ally of President Donald Trump.
Paxton’s primary challengers include Land Commissioner George P. Bush, former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, and U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert of Tyler. They are all arguing that Paxton is unfit for office.
It’s interesting how Bush and Guzman are both children of legal immigrants and staunchly opposed to illegal immigration. Bush’s father and uncle do not like Trump. Yet, if young George P. Bush is to have a political future in the Lone Star State, he has to make it clear that he will finish building Trump’s wall.
Guzman too paints a picture where law-and-order and preservation of the Texan way of life are inextricably linked. Both Bush and Guzman are loading their messaging with fear-based GOP talking points, meant to trigger uneasy voters into voting for them during the March 1 primary.
I wonder if Bush will back away from his pro-Trump rhetoric, should he win the primary and then need to appeal to a much wider audience of independent voters and less partisan voters in the general election next November. Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps, George P. Bush truly wants a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
A Democrat Could Win This One
1994 was the last time that a Democrat won a statewide race in Texas. To say the odds are stacked against any Democrat in a statewide race would be a gross understatement of fact.
However, the Attorney General’s office could change hands in 2022.
Legal cannabis. Respect and dignity for all people. A woman’s right to choose. Even though it’s the same large and diverse Texas, Joe Jaworski and Rochelle Garza both sound like they live on a different planet from the GOP candidates featured above. A kinder and more habitable planet.