Will Texas secede from the US? The state's Republican Party wants to hold a vote

Elaine Wilmore, of Cleburne, poses for a photo with Tex, a longhorn, at a display for Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, during the first day of the Republican Party of Texas convention at George R. Brown Convention Center on Thursday in Houston.

Elaine Wilmore, of Cleburne, poses for a photo with Tex, a longhorn, at a display for Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, during the first day of the Republican Party of Texas convention at George R. Brown Convention Center on Thursday in Houston. (Elizabeth Conley, Houston Chronicle via Associated Press)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

HOUSTON — The Republican Party of Texas wants to let voters decide if the state should leave the United States and form an independent nation, as delegates considered making secession part of the party's platform going forward.

Driving the news: At Texas' Republican convention over the weekend, delegates claimed the U.S. government has infringed on the state's right to self-government and added that the state should reject federal laws it doesn't agree with, according to NPR.

The party platform is not legally binding — instead it outlines the party's priorities going forward — and the results of the delegate vote on the secession clause are still being counted.

"Texas retains the right to secede from the United States, and the Texas Legislature should be called upon to pass a referendum consistent thereto," the 40-page document says.

It asks the state to pose the question to Texas voters, by putting a referendum on the agenda for the 2023 election.

What would happen if Texas seceded? According to NPR, "secession is a perennial idea" in Texas, especially when the president is a Democrat. After former President Barack Obama was elected, NPR points out, Texas Gov. Rick Perry floated the idea.

The state has a history of secession. It declared independence from Mexico in 1836 before being annexed by the U.S. in 1845. It then seceded from the union in 1861 and was made a state again following the Civil War.

Texas Republicans claim that federal legislation has infringed on their 10th Amendment rights but, according to The Independent, the Supreme Court has affirmed that the Constitution doesn't allow secession.

If Texas did try to secede, and ignored any court rulings against the state, it could set the stage for significant political violence.

An attempt to declare Texas independent "would mean war," Richard Albert, professor of law and government and director of Constitutional Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, told Newsweek.

According to an article published by Business Insider in March, many experts believe calls for secession are part of an escalation of violent rhetoric and actual violence following the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

What else happened at the Texas GOP convention? Here are some other significant developments from the Republican convention in Houston over the weekend:

  • Texas Republicans continued to make baseless claims about the 2020 election, claiming President Joe Biden "was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States." At the convention, delegates screened the film "2,000 Mules," a debunked documentary alleging that left-wing operatives illegally stuffed drop boxes with absentee ballots.
  • Delegates loudly booed Texas Sen. John Cornyn, according to NPR, who is one of 10 senators working on a bipartisan framework on gun reform. The GOP took a strong stance against any gun control, saying, "All gun control is a violation of the Second Amendment and our God-given rights."
  • The Republican Party of Texas also took a stance against LGBTQ rights, calling homosexuality an "abnormal lifestyle choice," saying it "(opposes) all efforts to validate transgender identity" and supporting efforts to "convert" members of the LGBTQ community, per The Hill.
  • Log Cabin Republicans, an organization that represents LGBTQ Republicans, was denied a booth at the state convention, prompting backlash from other conservatives, according to Newsweek. Donald Trump Jr. decried the decision, accusing Texas Republicans of "canceling" gay Republicans.

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Bridger Beal-Cvetko

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