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The Problem With Carpetbaggers
Do outsiders define the Texan narrative?
Texas is full of transplants and carpetbaggers. Transplants are always welcome with open arms. People move here for job opportunities or to be close to family. They bring their diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, enriching the cultural fabric of our state. Transplants contribute to Texas’s economic growth and vitality, bringing their skills and talents to various industries. They embrace the Texan spirit, immersing themselves in the local community, forming connections, and actively participating in the vibrant Texan way of life. Their presence strengthens our shared values of resilience, hospitality, and opportunity. As a welcoming home to transplants, Texas continues to evolve and thrive with the contributions of these individuals who call it their new home.
Transplants are not carpetbaggers. Carpetbaggers, our opportunists who moved to Texas to benefit and sew chaos in Texas politics. Just as in the period after the Civil War, carpetbaggers are almost always Republicans and are always corrupt and exploitative. They never have Texans’ best interest in mind, as they are opportunistic interlopers who seek personal gain and manipulate the political landscape for their advantage.
Unlike transplants, carpetbaggers do not come to Texas to embrace its culture or become part of the local community. Instead, they use their presence to further their agendas, often at the state’s and its people’s expense.
Dan Patrick - a carpetbagger from Maryland.
Dan Patrick, born Danny Scott Goeb, moved to Texas in his mid-30s and opened a chain of sports bars. When the Houston oil boom dried up, all his bars closed, and he filed for bankruptcy. By 2004, he launched his political career.
As most of you know, Texas politicians don’t make much money, not from their political work, anyway. However, Dan Patrick’s net worth is $237 million.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that after he filed for bankruptcy, he made most of that money from corrupt political dealings. How? Ken Paxton got caught with his pants down with Nate Paul, but there have been ongoing allegations of political corruption against Abbott, Patrick, Paxton, and a slew of others for decades.
The Lt. Governor, like most of these carpetbaggers, is a persona. He’s playing the part. When he worked in sports, they used to call him the “silver-tongued devil.” That’s because he played the role, and now he’s playing the part of a cowboy rancher with Christian values and fascist ideology. The big-money CEOs and billionaires love it. That’s why he pulled in $26 million in the last election cycle.
But Dan Patrick doesn’t share our Texas values. One of the biggest values in Texas is loyalty to family, friends, neighbors, and community. Yet, when the pandemic hit, Dan Patrick went on TV and urged low-wage Texans to sacrifice their lives for CEO profits.
Ken Paxton - a carpetbagger from North Dakota.
Paxton is a perfect example of how carpetbaggers from other states have moved here to run for government office and turn it into their own playground of corruption, to enrich themselves, and harm the people who call Texas home.
Paxton moved down here for college in the 1980s but ultimately received his Virginia law degree before moving back in the 90s. He first ran for office in 2002.
A big part of being a Texan is being neighborly and not sticking your nose in everyone’s business. However, since he was first elected, Ken Paxton has been sticking his nose in Texans’ business. Paxton’s record is against abortion, access to healthcare, immigrants, clean energy, LGBTQ rights, equitable labor laws, and voting rights. Paxton’s idea of Texas is millions of people are suffering and hurting because Republicans can’t mind their own business.
Chip Roy - a carpetbagger from Maryland.
Chip Roy reminds us all of a theater kid when it comes to acting like a Texan, but he didn’t move here until after he got his master’s degree at the University of Virginia. It’s not a secret that Chip Roy is loud-mouthed and obnoxious, all Yankee values, but he acts like he thinks a Texan would act.
That’s why he voted against making Juneteenth a national holiday and voted against the Emmit Till Lynching Law. While Chip Roy may believe that white supremacy is a Texas value, those values have long been dead, and Juneteenth originated in Texas. Indeed, he should have known that, but he didn’t because he’s not from here.
Beth Van Duyne - a carpetbagger from New York.
Individualism and personal responsibility are two well-known Texas values. But Van Duyne has never displayed either, going back to 2015 when she single-handily started and amplified the anti-Muslim crusades in Texas.
Personal responsibility would have included apologizing to the family she ran out of town. Personal responsibility would have ended the racism in Irving and brought the community together. Personal responsibility would have denounced the “Draw the Profit event.” Van Duyne did none of those things.
Troy Nehls - a carpetbagger from Wisconsin.
Troy Nehls, like many of the other carpetbaggers, participated in Trump’s seditious conspiracy to overturn the election. That goes entirely against the Texas value of personal freedom and limited government intervention. But, unlike some of the other Republican carpetbaggers, Nehls doesn’t pretend to have a Texas accent.
How many Texas Congresspeople are not from Texas?
Of out 38 Congresspeople, 25 are Republicans. Of those 25 Republicans, 13 were born and grew up in other states, only moving to Texas during adulthood. For the math nerds, that’s 52%.
In comparison, only 3 of our 13 Democratic representatives hale from somewhere else (or 23%).
Why does this matter?
The reason why Texans are suffering today is because of Republican policies. Lack of access to healthcare, rampant childhood hunger, inadequate education, low wages, and high taxes are all due to policies that Republicans enacted.
52% of the Republicans who worked so hard to harm Texans and the lives of people aren’t even from Texas—opposed to the 23% of Democrats who have spent their time in Congress trying to make your life better by expanding healthcare, fighting for living wages, and feeding the poor.
Those 23% of Democrats aren’t carpetbaggers; they’re transplants, and we love them. They’ve tried to help Texans and improve our lives, even though they weren’t initially from here. Texas transplants are always welcome. They enrich our lives and respect us as much as we appreciate them.
The 52% of Republican Congresspeople are carpetbaggers. They all moved here later in life and got into politics to enrich themselves or gain power for their agendas (their business or religion), all at the sacrifice of the people they were meant to serve.
What about the State Legislature?
In the State Senate, there are 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats. 4 of the 19 Republicans are carpetbaggers (21%). The Democrats only have one transplant on their side (8%).
The House is a little harder to track down, as all that information isn’t readily available like with Congress. However, we know that some of the furthest-right are from other states, like Steve Toth and Tony Tinderholt. If you want me to do a follow-up with the Texas House, send me a note and let me know. Regardless, we should all expect it to be as skewed as the other government bodies.
Whether they are Republicans or Democrats, we should give everyone a chance.
THAT is a Texas value. And there are a few Republicans (not in Congress) that aren’t so bad on the economy or social issues. As a society, we eventually have to get to the point where we are making compromises with one another.
That being said, once you learn that their intentions are self-serving or harmful to your community, that’s when you demand accountability and work on getting them out.
Texas will be blue one day, and it won’t be because the cavalry has ridden in to save us. It’s because we saved ourselves. That’s why there are so few transplants (who we love) in government. We’ve been trending blue for a long time. It may not be this election, and it may not be the next (although I hope it is), but by 2030 it will happen.
Until then, all we can do to turn the carpetbaggers into transplants (or send them packing) is always demand accountability and always vote, no matter what.