Whether Dennis Bonnen fell into a trap or helped plan the conspiracy, his demise as Texas State House Speaker sends a clear message from Empower Texans’ mouthpiece Michael Quinn Sullivan and his billionaire benefactors to the entire Texas GOP: If you aren’t with us, we will take you out.
Deep-pocketed ideologues' investment in the Texas GOP is paying off
The big money behind the takeover of Texas Republicans belongs to fundamentalist oil baron Tim Dunn and a cadre of mega-wealthy extremists. Their return on investment is almost complete. For years, Dunn and the other deep-pocketed ideologues have spent millions of dollars through various dark money front groups – chiefly Empower Texans – to move Texas policy and politics so far to the right it would make Mussolini blush.
Dunn, Sullivan and the others have been on a mission to replace politicians they don’t like with ones who are willing to do their bidding. Their brand of elected official includes those who believe that “rape is non-existent in marriage,” and others who really seem to enjoy filing legislation that endangers women.
Dunn bankrolled the rise of the Texas Tea Party. He controls extremist Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick. He and his cabal of right-wing donors have also given hundreds of thousands to manipulate Greg Abbott’s agenda. The ridiculous “bathroom bill” that could have caused the state economic disaster? The draconian anti-choice measures designed to limit women’s access to health care? The idiotic removal of local control from cities and counties to manage their own communities? All occurred thanks to Empower Texans funded by Dunn and wealthy extremists.
GOP State leaders’ surrender mirrors Cornyn and Cruz collapsing to Trump
Instead of standing up to extreme ideology, bad policies and corrosive corruption, the remaining old guard of the Texas GOP sits quietly – just as feckless Republicans like John Cornyn fail to stand up to Donald Trump.
What does this mean for Texas?
It’s simple — if Texans want constructive, solutions-based leadership focused on the future, they need the Texas House to elect a Speaker with a “D” next to their name. If we don’t, we will continue to be left debating backwards policies driven by the most extreme, divisive and destructive forces that push Texas in the wrong direction.