2014: Another Great Year for Liberty in Texas!
We have known, and said, from the beginning that our struggle with the political Establishment (of both parties) would be a long-term effort, a sustained marathon rather than a short sprint. We advance on certain fronts, retreat on others. We win some battles, and lose others.
Most of us have abandoned the naive idea that we have permanent “friends” and “enemies” in this struggle. We form alliances as necessary to advance our core principles, and declare war on those who act against the very ideals they cynically claim to embrace. This movement is not–and has never been–about personality or party. This is–and has always been–a movement built on principle.
While our movement is not permanently aligned with any party or politician, our cause is advanced when those candidates most closely aligned with our ideas and principles succeed at the polls. By that measure, 2014 was a banner year for our grassroots pro-liberty movement. Across the state in 2014, grassroots pro-liberty candidates defeated better-funded establishment candidates.
GRASSROOTS VICTORY #1: Whether they ran under the banner of “tea party,” “grassroots,” “pro-liberty” or “conservative,” candidates running as grassroots reform-minded challengers dominated at the polls across the State of Texas. We collected many of the news reports here.
OUR ONGOING EFFORT TO INFORM AND ACTIVATE THE TEXAS GRASSROOTS:
Through our Statewide Grassroots Events Calendar, The Grassroots Texans Network promoted 250 grassroots events in 2014, sending out thousands of email invitations for each event, hundreds of thousands of invitations in total.
If you have a grassroots event to promote, please feel free to submit it HERE.
OUR EFFORT TO KEEP THE CAMPAIGNS HONEST:
Unfortunately, many of the primary runoffs got very nasty and personal. Although the Grassroots Texans Network does not expressly endorse political candidates, we did feel it appropriate to make a statement in opposition to the nasty personal attacks being leveled in the Lieutenant Governor race, and published a letter opposing the personal attacks.
We are hopeful that a sustained, loud and firm message against such shameful tactics will ultimately see their end. In 2014, in race after race, the people largely rejected political smear tactics and rewarded the campaigns that stayed focused on issues and ideas.
The 2014 runoffs saw the use of another increasingly-popular campaign tactic: the mysterious “tea party” endorsement mailer. (Example here.)
We investigated the “United Texas Tea Party” mailer and were unable to find any legitimate organization behind it. We posted a summary of our initial investigation here. We continued to investigate, and ultimately learned that the mailer was completely fraudulent.
Later in the campaign season, the one statewide campaign sent out a mailer claiming the endorsement of a prominent tea party PAC. Upon investigation, we found that the claim was false and that the PAC organizers expressly denied any such endorsement:
As noted above, The Grassroots Texans Network DOES NOT, as an organization, endorse political candidates and DID NOT endorse any particular candidate for any statewide office in 2014. We do, however, think it very important that political candidates be exposed for falsely claiming endorsements they have not in fact received. We believe that this vigilance is particularly important for any claims of “tea party” endorsements. Going into next year, we will continue to do our best to keep the candidates and their campaigns honest and focused on the issues.
OUR ONGOING FIGHT AGAINST AMNESTY:
Going into mid-year, the “smart money” was betting that the advocates of amnesty would see the “Texas Solution” amnesty plan written into the 2014 platform of the Republican Party of Texas. It was no secret that House Speaker John Boehner was eyeing mid-June for a vote on a federal amnesty plan, and the passage of the “Texas Solution” at the Texas Republican Convention would have given the Republicans all the political cover they needed to pass an amnesty plan in Congress. We laid out the stakes here.
As proponents and opponents weighed in, we tried to keep track of the discussion, publishing a digest of pro- and con- here.
On June 9th, leading into the state convention, we published a letter signed by Admiral James A Lyons, Lt. General William G. Boykin and Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. imploring the Republican delegates to firmly oppose the Texas Solution.
This letter was also printed in hardcopy and distributed to the convention delegates.
GRASSROOTS VICTORY #2: Ultimately, our efforts, combined with with the efforts of hundreds of others, were successful in killing the “Texas Solution” amnesty proposal and adding a pro-border, pro-enforcement plank to the party platform. The full story is too much to include here, but we published Dale Huls’ excellent recount here.
Although The Grassroots Texans Network was only one part of the anti-amnesty coalition, we are proud to have played a significant role in killing the pro-amnesty “Texas Solution.”
OUR RESPONSE TO THE TEXAS BORDER CRISIS:
Later in June, when the Texas Border Crisis was at its peak, we hosted a statewide tele-townhall featuring Matt Schaefer, Jonathan Stickland, Giovanni Capriglione, and James White. Over 150 patriots from across the state dialed in to participate.
In July, we helped to organize and promote a press conference in the Texas State Capitol featuring pro-border activists from across the state calling on Texas Governor Rick Perry to call a special session and deploy additional resources to the Texas-Mexico border.
GRASSROOTS VICTORY #3: In reponse to the outcry from the Texas grassroots, Governor Perry deployed additional law enforcement and National Guard resources to the border.
We followed this effort up in August
with the publication and promotion of the Texas Border Action Plan authored by a committee of tea party and grassroots activists across the state.
In mid-July, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced that he was organizing the preparation of three illegal immigrant relocation centers in Dallas County. The Grassroots Texans Network worked to organize opposition to the plan via a series of news summaries, alerts and calls to action.
GRASSROOTS VICTORY #4: Owing in large part to the sustained grassroots opposition to the relocation plan, Judge Jenkins’ relocation plan was withdrawn.
THE FIGHT FOR DALLAS COUNTY:
Moving into August, we trained our sights on the effort to boost conservative voter turnout in Dallas County. This effort centered around the establishment and promotion of the Dallas Liberty Center, an independent, pro-liberty, grassroots campaign center in Dallas:
In addition to the promotion of the Dallas Liberty Center, we did what we could to highlight why the 2014 midyear elections were so critically important to the future of Dallas County, including the distribution of reports, alerts and calls to action.
As early voting progressed, we watched the returns closely, and published two detailed reports on the partisan breakdown of the voting population, one after the first week of early voting, and one at the end of early voting.
Ultimately, the voters of Dallas County returned County Judge Clay Jenkins to office. They did, however, retire District Attorney Craig Watkins, putting Republican Susan Hawk in his place.
THE TEXAS SPEAKERS’ RACE:
With Election Day behind us, The Grassroots Texans Network shifted gears to focus on the Texas Speakers’ race. Many low-information Republicans had been asking, “Why Not Joe Straus?” We answered that question HERE. Later in November, we published a news digest on the Speakers’ race HERE.
GRASSROOTS VICTORY?: The outcome of the Texas House Speakers’ race still remains to be seen, but whoever wins, we will have a record floor vote on the Texas House Speaker for the first time in decades. Every House member will have to cast a vote, pro or con, on the continued leadership of Joe Straus. That, in and of itself, is a VICTORY.
2015 AND BEYOND:
Going forward, we will be continuing our fight to clean up Texas state government, advance pro-liberty, conservative principles, and expose politicians who are fond of saying one thing and doing another. We thank you for your unyielding efforts for the State of Texas and we humbly ask for your continued help and support in this endeavor.
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