Credit: Gage Skidmore

I don’t really keep up with the machinations of the Texas Republican Party so I don’t know much of the backstory on this, but it’s notable that the party’s state Chairman, Tom Mechler, announced his resignation on Saturday and that he took the opportunity to make some comments that indicate some internal squabbles are causing problems. Among other things, Mr. Mechler noted that the GOP “needs to work harder than ever to come together” and that “a party that is fractured by anger and backbiting is a party that will not succeed.” He appears to be supporting Rick Figueroa as his replacement, and he wrote that “If we do not engage in the diverse communities across Texas, we will lose the state, then the nation, and there may be no coming back.”

I don’t know if it’s really appreciated that the presidential election in Texas was closer than it was in Iowa. Of course, President Obama carried Iowa twice but never really came close to making Texas competitive. While it’s true that something horrible obviously has happened to the Democrats in the Hawkeye State, it would be a much bigger deal for our national politics if Texas were to turn blue.

There were polls early on in the presidential contest that predicted that Clinton might be able to put Texas in play. More recent polls have indicated that Senator Ted Cruz might be genuinely vulnerable when he seeks reelection next year. More than that, when the DCCC put together a list of House seats that might be competitive, a surprising number of them were in Texas. In fact, they’re quite serious about contending for at least three supposedly safe districts in the Lone Star State.

That the GOP chairman quit and gave out a warning that a failure to engage with the diverse communities in Texas might doom the party nationally indicates to me that the threat is real, that it is appreciated, and that the state’s Republicans aren’t currently on the same page on what to do about it.

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at