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June 12, 2018      3:55 PM

Grusendorf: The Establishment vs. The Folks

Former Texas House Chairman Kent Grusendorf argues that despite the fact that incumbent Texas House Republicans held their own in the primaries and runoffs, external forces pushing for change in state government have the wind at their backs

The revolt against establishment forces is alive and well in the world today. In Europe, Brexit was the first major crack in the dam; then other events such as those in Austria and Italy have reinforced the movement. In America, Donald Trump defeated 16 establishment Republicans in the primary, and a very establishment former First Lady in the General Election.

In Texas the anti-establishment dynamics are also clear: Ted Cruz handily defeated establishment Republican David Dewhurst, Dan Patrick later defeated then incumbent Dewhurst for Lt. Governor, and Ken Paxton won over establishment choice Dan Branch for Attorney General. Greg Abbott did not need to beat a credible establishment Republican in the primary; they were all afraid to challenge him. Abbott easily defeated the establishment Democrat, Wendy Davis, in the general election.

The only establishment leader in Texas over recent years has been Speaker Joe Straus. However, his ascension to power was more of an anomaly, due to rebellion in a closely divided Texas House against a leader who was viewed as ignoring the will of the House.  Straus was not elected by the public, and probably could not win a statewide race; instead he was elected by 150 house members.  His position of power is definitely not indicative of public support for empowering “the establishment” in Texas.

The complete column by former Rep. Kent Grusendorf is in the R&D Department.

By Kent Grusendorf

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