The answer is that he never had a constituency. There is no statewide constituency in Texas for a moderate Republican. Dewhurst is a decent, well-meaning fellow, but he was overwhelmed by the far-right wave. Over the course of two election cycles, he ran into two political phenoms, Ted Cruz and Dan Patrick, and he was no match for them.
Dewhurst never understood the tea party: They were driven by an anger and a zealotry that was beyond his understanding, and he was helpless to challenge it. But it must also be said that Dewhurst's political instincts range from awful to nonexistent. He was putty in the hands of activists like Michael Quinn Sullivan. He thought he could win over Dan Patrick by making him chairman of education, but all he did was hand Patrick the knife with which to stab Dewhurst in the back. Whatever personal problems Patrick may have, he is one of the shrewdest politicians Texas has produced. All these years later, Dewhurst still doesn't understand that the Texas Republican party isn't the party that existed when he became lieutenant governor and his genteel conservatism worked against him when it came to the tea party.
(AP Images | Pat Sullivan)
- 1 week