Over the weekend, the Texas Republican Party voted to punish one of its own.
Tony Gonzalez, a two-term congressman from San Antonio, has been criticized for supporting modest gun safety legislation after 19 children and two teachers were killed at an elementary school in Uvalda.
The day after the party's decision, Texas Republican Ronnie Jackson appeared on Fox News (motto: "Lie to the public for fun and profit"), where he expressed his wisdom about removing a cancerous tumor from President Biden's chest.
"Biden is cancer," the Amarillo Republican said. "That's what needs to be removed, not the wound they found."
Among Texas Republicans, who supported Jackson for his callous and desperate statements, there was no outcry, and none is expected.
Taken together, the events—though unrelated—speak volumes about the state of our politics, and especially the nature of the fictional Republican Party.
Forget about basic human decency. Courage, action and blind and unwavering adherence to the party line are important.
For years, Texas' 23rd congressional district — a swath stretching hundreds of miles from El Paso to San Antonio — has been one of the most competitive in the country.
Gonzalez, a former Marine cryptologist who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, won the race in 2020. He found it easier to seek re-election in 2022 after the boundaries were redrawn to make the district slightly more Republican.
But he's still competitive by Texas standards, and Gonzalez's play suggests the lawmaker is trying to navigate a shaky political landscape.
His constituency includes Uvalde, and his vote on gun laws after the May 2022 massacre was not a definitive answer; All the legislation has done is strengthen background checks, help states enforce red flag laws, and increase funding for mental health and school safety. (The lead Republican negotiator was US Senator John Cornyn of Texas.)
If the measure comes back, Gonzalez told reporters that since the state opposes the GOP congressman, he will redouble his support.
Another of Gonzalez's heresies was voting for a law codifying same-sex marriage. "It was an easy vote," he told the Texas Tribune, noting the diversity of his district. "If the Republican Party can grow and prosper, we should be open to it."
Republicans called it the "big tent" and everyone was welcome inside.
But the extremists who have taken over the Republican Party in Texas and elsewhere are no longer focused on building the party. Cleans and tests cleanliness.
Gonzalez estimated that he received about 1,400 votes in Congress, "and most of them for the Republican Party."
After Saturday's massive vote of no confidence, the state Republican Party issued a statement accusing the lawmaker of "lack of loyalty" to Republican "principles and priorities" and urging his party's candidate to run against Gonzalez in 2024.
Don't think that someone tougher and more ideological can win the primary, but he will probably lose his seat in the House of Representatives in November.
If there's one thing Donald Trump and his supporters have demonstrated over the past few years, it's that they're not very good at winning competitive elections.
Ronnie Jackson served as White House physician for five years under Presidents Obama and Trump, and it's scary — from what he later testified — that anyone would let him get close to a Democrat.
Biden's noise about cancer is the smallest of all.
A former Navy officer elected to Congress in 2020 helped spread Trump's election-stealing lies – Jackson voted against confirming Biden's victory – suggested the spread of COVID-19 was part of a Democratic Party conspiracy and offered baseless theories about the president's intentions. mental and suspicious mind. . natural. . Physical health.
None of this struck a chord with Jackson among voters in his largely pro-Trump constituency; He was re-elected in November with over 75% support.
In Texas, Cal Gillson, an analyst and professor of political science at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, said: "You're not meant to be too far right or take a hard-line, confrontational stance on gun supporters and opponents. fire. accept." – gay rights."
How do you make fun of a president with skin cancer?
"Our politics have sunk to the point where it's not unusual," Jillson said, adding that if such barbaric behavior leads to wider punishment, "a lot of people will punish more."
Here is a great idea. If you want to see more compromise and bipartisanship in Washington, vote for someone like Gonzalez, who is willing to think independently, stand up for his principles, and cross party lines for the greater good.
And send Jackson to the sea where he is now.
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.