The Return of Wacko Allen West—He Plans to Fight Mask Wearing as Texas’ New GOP State Chairman 7/31/2020
Texas--- the Lone Star State, home of the Alamo, home of Democratic President LBJ and GOP Chief Executives H.W. and son George W. Bush. TX, formerly part of the “Solid Democratic South” is now the biggest Republican state in the country. It is also one of the largest coronavirus hot spots in the U.S. When two-term GOP Governor Greg Abbott, under pressure from many GOP Texans to reopen businesses faster, did just that on 5/01/2020, COVID-19 cases began to spike. Gov. Abbott ordered bars closed again in late 6/2020. For weeks, Abbott stated that TX should not mandate mask-wearing. He changed course before the July 4th weekend and ordered most Texans to wear masks. However, despite pleas from mainly Democratic leaders in major cities, Gov. Abbott has so far refused to allow them to impose county or city-specific stay-at-home orders. Gov. Abbott, like many TX conservatives who have made the coronavirus pandemic into a political issue, has argued that stay-at-home measures should be “voluntary,” lest the government intrude on “personal liberty (nytimes.com, Fernandez & Goodman, 7/23/20).” Translation: the right to preserve business prosperity outweighs that of maintaining people’s health and lives.
Among the 25 American counties with the most cases per-capita over the past week, 9 are in TX. That includes not just the populous counties with Houston and Dallas, but smaller counties that contain San Angelo and Corpus Christi. The average daily case total has exploded to more than 10,000 statewide. At the start of 6/2020, TX had around 1,400 new cases daily. In early 7/2020, TX was averaging 6,500 new cases daily (nytimes.com, Fernandez & Goodman). On 7/20/2020, TX deaths from coronavirus had reached 4,020 deaths only 10 days after crossing the 3,000 threshold. On 7/06/2020, the seven-day average was 36 deaths per day. COVID-19 has now killed an average of 112 people each day, nearly three times more than two weeks ago. The real number of coronavirus-related deaths is higher, according to Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist at University of Texas Health School of Public Health in Houston. Hospital and county morgues are filling up, especially in hard-hit South TX. FEMA has sent 14 refrigerated trailers to the state to hold the increasing number of bodies (texastribune.com, Champagne, S., 7/20/20).
Instead of all Texans uniting to fight this horrible pandemic, what is the dominant state GOP spending/wasting its efforts on? Why getting itself embroiled in a cultural war battle of “Red” v. “wacko-Red.” In 7/2020, more than 130 local Republican leaders in eight counties publicly rebelled against Gov. Abbott and voted to formally censure him for his statewide mask order. Abbott, who easily won re-election in 2018 and until now has been the most popular GOPer in the state, has become the first Republican governor in TX in modern times to be officially reprimanded by a group of GOP county leaders (nytimes.com, Fernandez & Goodman, 7/23/20). And the anti-mask GOP mania continues. On 7/20/2020, the TX State GOP state convention, led by far-right activists, pushed out the state’s party chairman James Dickey and elected a new chairman Allen B. West. West won election to this post by appealing to the anti-Abbott sentiments increased by his statewide mask order. In a video message to delegates at the San Jacinto Monument outside Houston, a site commemorating the 1836 TX battle for independence from Mexico, West declared, “There’s a new battlefield and it’s really not too much different from what they (the 1836 Texans) faced—the despotism, the tyranny, that we see in the great state of Texas, where we have executive orders and mandates, people telling us what we can and cannot do, who is essential and who is not essential. It is time for us to stand up, and it is time for us to fight (nytimes.com, Fernandez & Goodman, 7/23/20).” The NY Times described West as an “outspoken firebrand conservative.” In 2014, West had called for impeaching President Obama. After West became the new TX GOP chair, Demagogue Donald tweeted his congratulations (nytimes.com, Fernandez & Goodman, 7/23/20). Meet Allen West.
Atlanta, GA native Allen Bernard West (59) was a former GOP Congressman from FL. A member of a career military family, West spent 22 years in the Army. In 2004, Lt. Colonel West was forced to retire. This retirement occurred after West fired a handgun near the head of an Iraqi police officer during a 2003 interrogation. This Iraqi officer was suspected of having information about attacks on U.S. forces. No plans for attacks or weapons were ever found. West said it was “possible that he was wrong about Mr. Hamoodi (the Iraqi).” West was charged with violating two Articles in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (Art. 128, assault, and 134, general Article). West was fined $5,000, accepted the judgment, and left the Army (Wash. Post, K. Thompson, 11/24/10, Barone Political Almanac 10, D. Sontag, I. Fisher, NY Times, 5/27/04). West became a “hero” for these actions to conservatives in Congress and throughout the country. They adored West for his quote that he “would go through hell with a gasoline can for his troops (Dept. of Army, U.S. Army Crim. Investig. Command 2/06/04, Sontag, Fisher, NY Times).” West next went to work as a defense contractor with Military Professional Resources Inc. in Afghanistan.
In 2008, West unsuccessfully ran against FL Congressman Dem. Ron Klein in FL’s 22nd Congressional District (CD) that included parts of Palm Beach, Boca Raton, and Ft. Lauderdale. West lost by a 9.5% margin (2008, 22nd FL CD Elections). West’s 2009 “fight for America” speech to a Ft. Lauderdale Tea Party group was viewed 2.3 million times on YouTube (Wash. Post, Thompson, 11/24/10). West was a FOX News favorite. In a 2010 rematch, in that Tea Party year, too many Democrats stayed home and West defeated Klein by 8.6% of the vote (2010, 22nd FL CD Elections). West enjoyed using “trash talk” against opponents. He called Klein a “mama’s boy” for then Speaker Pelosi who was ousted in the 2010 Tea Party GOP wave (Sunshine News, 10/21/20). In his 2011-2013 term in the House where he was a member of the Tea Party Caucus, West belittled the BP Gulf oil spill. He wanted to bring oil rigs close to FL, a very unpopular stand. He was against Obamacare and anti-choice. He called “having a baby not punishment,” for rape and incest victims. Cong. West wanted to shut down the federal government if $61 billion in budget cuts were not enacted (“Politico,” Sherman, 3/09/11, FOX News, 3/09/11, CQ 10 Almanac). West was forced to fire his first chief-of-staff because she had called Pelosi “garbage” and had made nasty comments about illegal immigrants (Wash. Post, 11/24/10). After 2010 FL redistricting, West ran in 2012 in FL’s 18th CD against Democrat Patrick Murphy. Murphy defeated West in what was the most expensive congressional House race in that cycle by an .8% margin (2012 18th FL CD Election). West demanded a recount over voting “irregularities,” but still lost (nytimes.com, AP, 11/18/12).
In 2013, West was hired by GOP propaganda FOX News to offer political commentary during its daytime and prime time shows (press.foxnews.com, 5/13). Following the white supremacist 6/2015 shooting massacre at a historic black Charleston church, S. Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called for the Confederate battle flag to be removed from a memorial outside of Columbia, that state’s capital. African American West referred to the debate over the flag as a “manufactured crisis,” invented by liberals to distract from black-on-black violence (usatoday.com,6/22/15, mediaite.com/tv, 6/29/15).
West moved to TX in 1/2015 (orlandosentinel.com, Man, A., 11/10/14). In 9/2015, he was nominated to the Sunset Advisory Commission which oversees the need for preserving TX state agencies (sunset.texas.gov, Pataki, E.). West is a Life and Endowment member of the NRA (National Rifle Association). In 5/2016, he announced he had been elected as a member of the NRA’s Board of Directors for a three-year term (allenbwest.com, 5/21/16). From 7/2016, until it ceased operations in mid-2017, West was an Executive Director of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a free-market public policy research organization (ncpa.org). He is a motorcycle enthusiast. On 5/23/2020, while participating in a protest against lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic, West was involved in a motorcycle crash outside Waco, TX. He recovered after hospitalization (cbslocal.com, 5/23/20).
In 7/2019, one year before the election, West announced he would run for Chairman of the TX Republican Party. He planned to challenge incumbent chair James Dickey. Even before the coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020 and West attacked Gov. Abbott’s statewide mask-wearing order, West ran on other major issues that the “Red-meat” GOPers in TX and elsewhere applaud. These included “strengthening our families,” “standing up for life,” and securing the U.S.-Mexico border. West called on TX GOP House Speaker Dennis Bonnen to resign (texastribune.org, Pollack, C., 8/15/19). West was endorsed by two former TX GOP state party chairs and a former vice-chair. West received over 100 endorsements for his candidacy (Cision PR Newswire, 12/16/19). He won the TX GOP state chair in the early morning hours of 7/20/2020 (dallasnews.com, Morris & Gillman, 7/20/20). The results weren’t close. West won 22 of TX’s 31 Senate District caucuses, with incumbent Dickey taking only 9 caucuses (thehill.com, Greenwood, M., 7/20/20).
TX remains a linchpin in the “Red” camp. Carter was the last Democrat to win TX’s presidential electoral votes in 1976. Since then, the closest a Democratic presidential nominee came to winning the Lone Star State was in 1996 when Texan Ross Perot split the opposition to Bill Clinton and GOPer Bob Dole won by 5 points (Cohen & Cook Political Almanac 2020). Romney won TX by 16 points in 2012. Against crude and controversial Demagogue Donald, Hillary nearly halved Obama’s loss to 9 points, 52%-43%. Hillary handily won Mexican-American South TX by 22 points, usually a “Blue” base, as well as normally Democratic Austin. Unlike Obama in 2012, Hillary won the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex by less than a percentage point and took metro Houston by 6 points. In 2018, little-known Dem. El Paso Cong. Beto O’ Rourke lost to incumbent U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz by just three points. However, rural West TX, the northern Panhandle, and Southern-based East TX remain GOP strongholds. (Cohen & Cook 2020). The most recent Real Clear Politics (RCP) average of Lone Star polls, give Donald a .2 percentage margin against Biden (realclearpolitics.com). Yes, GOP Gov. Abbott has lost some GOP support over his mask order and general handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, but remains popular (See nytimes.com, Fernandez & Goodman, 7/23/20). Democrats continue to make gains statewide in TX, and in 2018 won some congressional districts. However, archconservatives like West are pushing the TX GOP to the right and the right still has many supporters spread throughout that state. Bet on the national GOP and their sympathetic friends to pour oodles of money into TX to boost East TX, the Panhandle, and rural West TX “Red” turnout. IMHO, TX is not yet a true presidential swing state like FL. However, with the likes of “wackadoodle” West leading “Team Red,” Democrats can start forcing the GOP to play defense in the Lone Star State and help “Blue” candidates to continue to chalk up wins at the congressional and state level.