Most of America and the world was horrified to see a crowd that the President of the United States gathered immediately leave his speech to commit a deadly attack on the bastion of U.S. democracy, the U.S. Capitol.
Now, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is concerned that the Trump campaign is helping fuel the same kind of rhetoric and conspiracies that led to the January 6th attack.
Indeed, Donald Trump himself has even been reported as confirming that something coordinated with his ‘reinstatement’ will happen in August.
It’s hard to imagine Trump actually being reinstated; he proved unable to undermine the certification of his election loss to Biden.
So, what seems most likely to be a potential follow-up act that could be as impactful or disruptive as January 6th that the Trump campaign is capable of — assuming that Trump indeed mounts an even more aggressive form of resistance than his taunting speechifying to rally the true believers?
Will Texas want to secede?
Barring some unlikely, large-scale interstate cooperation between Republican states, I imagine that Trump will direct the Texan Republican Party and the Texan government to instigate an actual secession effort.
I believe that if he directed Texas’s leadership to pursue secession now, they would.
I just watched the CPAC conference that was held in Texas. The party’s leadership there is talking in war-like terms about Biden and they refer to Trump as a ‘savior’; Biden ‘rigged’ the 2020 election and is ‘destroying’ the country and only Trump can save it.
Mission: Stopping Biden in his tracks
In fact, the vast majority of the entire state’s government has shown itself to echo that very sentiment. Texan Representatives were secretly recorded saying they just need to politically stonewall Biden completely, referring to him as ‘chaos’.
To further demonstrate Texas’s increasingly defiant anti-Biden stance: as Biden’s federal government promotes gun control, Texas Governor Greg Abbot just legalized
unlicensed open carry. Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have callously pursued the Trump agenda.
They have used state resources to promote and act on the ‘border crisis’ narrative and StopTheSteal efforts, even since Biden’s accession to the presidency, which shows that the state’s government is completely loyal to Trump.
Cruz needs a stage
Senator Ted Cruz, arguably Texas’s most powerful politician, seems likely to go along with a secessionist push. He is a sharp and desperate political triangulator. He is also a man who thinks God comes and speaks with him in the room.
Lieutenant Allen West is leaving his position at the state’s GOP chair as part of some apparent effort to radicalize the party even further in the state and possibly to run for Governor in 2022. And he is an open advocate for Texas to secede.
Texas: Too young and too diverse
Republicans may also be sensing that Texas becoming younger and more diverse could make the state more competitive for Democrats over the next decade. Republicans, who have firm control over the state now, face the prospect of either consolidating power or sharing it with Democrats.
Trump, who has a penchant for a cut-throat business-like approach to politics, may realize he needs to act now or watch his party lose its biggest chip in the electoral vote count.
The independence precedent
In 2016, it is believed that somewhere between 10 and 22 counties in Texas passed an independence resolution.
If Trump were to endorse succession now, I believe that the Republican Party of Texas, rather than ceding any power, could provide enough state and county leaders pushing a referendum on secession to pass. I believe Abbott would sign off on it.
GOP = Trumpistan
The Republican Party has completely coalesced around Trump, advancing his agenda and protecting him at all costs.
After his electoral defeat in 2020 and seeing mounting legal problems, Trump seems poised to make another attempt to bring the country to crisis to further his own political ambitions.
A concerted effort by Texas to secede (with Trump’s blessing) could upset the current, fragile pandemic economy and/or threaten the legitimacy of the U.S. federal government.
The current administration must take these threats seriously and make it clear to any state leaders that involve themselves in any illegal secession movement that the federal government will charge them with sedition.