Richard Greene

Texas Republicans on track to lead with Trump presidency

Former Gov. Rick Perry, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, has been picked to run the Energy Department.
Former Gov. Rick Perry, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, has been picked to run the Energy Department. Bloomberg

Until the night of Nov. 8, the universal expectation was that the Republican Party would be dealing with its ruin by now and wondering if one of its own would ever again occupy the White House.

Leading Texas Republicans instead describe a very different process now underway as a result of the Lone Star State delivering the president-elect his largest haul of Electoral College votes.

The longest-serving Texan in the House of Representatives, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, concluded that the election results provided Congress with a mandate: “I think it’s obvious the American people want real change, and they gave the authority to the Republican Party to do that.”

A McClatchyDC report the day after the election outlined it all, headlined: “Texas Republicans will be a big part of Trump’s plans for America.”

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz weighed in, too, on what he described as “an amazing victory,” saying, “I am eager to help lead the fight in the Senate to pass the conservative agenda that President-elect Trump promised to the American people.”

His colleague, senior U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, acknowledged the “resounding message” from voters eager for Republicans to tackle the big challenges and said he is looking forward to working with Trump to address the “critical issues Texans and the American people have entrusted us to solve.”

And now there are two Texans, one a former governor and the other the CEO of an international corporation, whom the president-elect wants in his cabinet.

All of this is in manifest contrast to what is going on among Democrats, who have found themselves with the unexpected task of picking up the pieces of what The Hill calls an “unmitigated disaster” for the party that has “no obvious leader.”

“The Clinton political machine, a major force in the party since President Bill Clinton’s rise in the early ’90s, is fading into obsolescence in the wake of the shock election result,” the political website says.

There is a scramble among contenders to replace Donna Brazile, the beleaguered interim chairperson of the Democratic National Committee. There are plenty of disparate ideas among the candidates for the position about what to do next.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., declaring, “I don’t think that people want a new direction,” has been selected again by her colleagues as House minority leader.

Since Pelosi has presided over the greatest losses her party has suffered in recent history, not only in Congress but also in state houses across the country, Republicans find her continued leadership to be just fine.

In the upper chamber of the Capitol, the Democratic minority in the Senate has chosen New York’s Chuck Schumer to lead the party into the Donald Trump era.

The Guardian reports that unlike Pelosi, “Schumer has signaled that the party is listening to voters’ demands for change,” and did so appearing in front of the media “flanked by senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, all of whom were given leadership roles.”

It’s hard to imagine a team more entrenched in the far left of political ideology at a time when voters in the states that decided the election have rejected the liberal agenda espoused by those party leaders.

An astounding year in American politics is coming to a close with a totally unexpected struggle to restructure one of the nation’s major political parties.

It’s just not the party almost everyone thought would be given the daunting assignment of attempting to remain relevant.

Instead, the once-questioned Republican Party has taken control of the government, and Texans are in the vanguard of it all.

Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.