As he pushed the narrative that President Donald Trump could still win another term, Vice President Mike Pence gave a shout out to Texas.
â€œI donâ€™t know if youâ€™ve heard about it,â€ Pence said last week during a speech in Georgia. â€œSo far, just in the last few days, 18 states have joined the Lone Star State to defend the integrity of our elections to the highest state in the land. President Donald Trump deserves his day in court â€” the Supreme Court. And all I can say is God bless Texas.â€
Pence was referring to the failed lawsuit from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that sought to nullify election results in four states won by former Vice President Joe Biden, who beat Trump in both the popular and Electoral College vote. The suit contended that Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia and Pennsylvania â€œexploited the COVID-19 pandemic to justify unlawfully enacting last-minute changesâ€ that skewed the votes of the presidential election, according to Paxtonâ€™s office.
Trump had tapped Sen. Ted Cruz to argue the case before the High Court, but justices refused to hear the case, perhaps the final blow to the unusual effort by Trump and his allies to overturn the will of millions of American voters.
Republican leaders in Texas got in line behind Cruz, including congressional Republicans who signed a document supporting Paxtonâ€™s effort.
Why are so many Texas Republicans on board with Trumpâ€™s efforts to remain in power?
Texas Republicans relish the opportunity to curry favor with the president and his loyal base, particularly elected officials who need those voters to win elections.
A recent Fox News polls reveals that 77% of Trump supporters and 68% of Republicans think the election was stolen from Trump.
There are probably other, more personal motives at play.
Paxton, under indictment since 2014 for securities fraud and now facing a federal probe into allegations from former staffers of public corruption, could benefit from being a darling of Trump loyalists.
It could help him raise money for not only his 2022 reelection campaign, but funds for a legal defense. And if Paxton is in federal jeopardy, Trump could pardon him before leaving office.
Cruz has other motivations for backing Trump, even as the moving trucks head for the White House.
During the 2016 campaign, Cruz had an up close view of the power of Trumpism in the Republican Party. His disdain for Trump the candidate (he called him a â€œpathological liar and â€œamoralâ€) was not effective on the campaign trail, as Trump easily beat the Texas senator and the rest of the large field to with the GOP presidential nomination and take control of the GOP.
Now, in backing Trump to the end, Cruz is positioning himself as the heir apparent for a potential 2024 presidential bid. Much of what happens with Cruz, however, depends on whether Trump will seek another term.
Other Texas Republicans realize that supporting Trump and mollifying his base protects them from primary challenges. In Texas GOP politics, itâ€™s better to be with Trump than against him.
But the maneuvers by Trump and the failure of Republicans to publicly accept the result doesnâ€™t help the nation heal after a divisive, hard-fought election. And it casts doubt on the nationâ€™s democracy with unfounded allegations of widespread cheating, which could have ramification for feature elections.
The acting out by Republicans over Bidenâ€™s defeat of Trump could also impact the upcoming Texas Legislative session.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who helped lead the presidentâ€™s successful effort to win Texas, has already signaled that heâ€™ll push legislation to guard against voter fraud. Thereâ€™s no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 Texas elections.
Patrick has also called on the candidates in the special election to replace Prosper Republican Pat Fallon in the Texas Senate to support reducing the number of senators needed to bring legislation to the floor from 19 to 18, which is the number of Republicans in the Senate.
â€œTexans reaffirmed in the 2020 election that they support conservative candidates and conservative policies and I am committed to again moving a conservative agenda forward,â€ Patrick said in a statement. â€œThis procedural vote is critical to the outcome of the next legislative session.â€
The Supreme Court dashed the less than faint hopes of Trump and his supporters overturning the election.
But from a GOP standpoint, Texas is Trump country.