There’s a new political battle cry in Tarrant County.
And it’s for political intolerance.
As the 2020 election looms, some Republicans concerned about losing power in Tarrant County — which has stayed red as nearly every other major urban county turned blue — say there needs to be a shift in thinking.
“If a change does not happen soon in the Tarrant County Republican Party, those who oppose the leftist agenda will see the loss of Tarrant County to the Democrats forever,” according to a post entitled “Prepare to be Intolerant” on the NE Tarrant Tea Party website.
“We need Republicans who are calling for the deportation of all illegals, the DACA babies, the anchor babies, & more,” continued the July post that pointed at a recent Tarrant County vote to let sheriff’s deputies continue working as ICE agents. “We must allow AND give cover to those with more extreme views on the right wing of the party.”
The post calls for supporting an “American Nationalist party.”
Tarrant Republican and Democratic Party officials said they hadn’t seen the post until the Star-Telegram drew it to their attention.
“I think it’s the writing on the walls,” Marco Rosas Jr., executive director for the Tarrant Democratic Party, said in response. “From the 2016 cycle to now, Tarrant has been making major moves to move the needle.”
Tarrant Republican officials said they don’t endorse or support the post, but they know the First Amendment protects the author and others. And they aren’t that worried about losing to Democrats.
“We are confident that our core values and beliefs resonate more with mainstream voters,” said Jeremy Bradford, executive director of the Tarrant Republican Party. “The Democrat Party has become more and more radical to the point where socialism is the mainstream of that party.
“Open borders, abolishing ICE, ‘Medicare for All,’ infanticide and infringing on our Second Amendment rights are too liberal for voters in Tarrant County and Texas as a whole.”
The post was attributed to Fredrick Hambright, who was identified as “a patriot, a lifelong resident of Tarrant County, and Republican since age 16.” Hambright has a Facebook page that says he lives in Pantego and is a Texas gubernatorial candidate in 2022.
The author declined to talk to the Star-Telegram about the post because “he’s not a big fan of the the FWST,” said Julie McCarty, president of the NE Tarrant Tea Party.
She called the post thought-provoking and she agreed with it.
“We need to quit playing by the Left’s playbook,” McCarty said in a statement. “The #1 thing any activist in Tarrant talks about is the fear of Tarrant turning blue. It’s a very real concern.
“In fact, it’s a very real concern for the whole state because everyone knows how significant that would be.”
Tarrant County has long been seen as a bellwether, a guide to any political shift that might happen in Texas.
Republicans fear a Democratic shift in Tarrant could spread statewide. The concern has become greater since Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who lost his overall bid to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz last year, narrowly beat the senator in Tarrant County.
“Republicans in Tarrant County have seen from afar how every other major urban area has turned blue in their lifetimes,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston. “The blue wave is now upon their shores and they are panicking about how to stop it.”
The GOP post suggests there’s one clear way to stop that from happening.
“We must be intolerant of progressivism,” it states. “All of it. Total intolerance is how progressives moved the country so far left. Beyond left and into outer space.
“The Republican Party leadership is currently calling for MORE tolerance, a proven failed strategy, just like was tried in California 10 years ago. All it does it put voters to sleep and alienate the base.”
This approach is different than what some Republicans have preached nationally for years.
The late U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, “carefully argued that though the parties have profoundly different views of governance, at the end of the day, those differences are made insignificant in comparison to what unites us,” said Jim Riddlesperger, a political science professor at TCU. “His understanding is closer to a traditional view of politics, that winning elections is about building coalitions of folks who have differing opinions.”
“This posting argues the opposite — that defining our opponents as enemies and motivating ideological purists to vote in large numbers is the way to win elections.”
Hambright’s post indicated that now is the time for action.
“Let’s finish what Trump started and capitalize on the yearning for an American Nationalist party and put these Bolsheviks in their place,” it stated. “We must look to the future and not just offer criticisms, but offer the American people a strong vision of sanity for our increasingly insane country.”
McCarty said she supports the bulk of the ideas in the post.
She would not, however, “support a new party at this point in time.”
But she said the thrust of the message “is that Republicans should take a lesson from the Progressives and never compromise on anything. Progressives never do. Conservative politicians always do.”