Grand Old Problem

What Greg Abbott and the Republican party should have learned from their state convention.
Illustration by Thomas Fulchs

In early June, about ten thousand conservatives gathered in Fort Worth for the Republican Party of Texas’s biennial convention. Officially, the purpose of the gathering was party business, such as recognizing the candidates for this year’s general elections and updating the party’s platform. Informally, the convention offered anyone who was curious a chance to check in with the base—to ask a statewide cross-section of the party’s leaders, and its most ardent supporters, to elaborate on their current preoccupations and their preferences for the future direction of Texas. Even a casual observer could see that the delegates weren’t perfectly representative of the state; as a group, they were far older, whiter, and more likely to wear patriotic button-downs than any random sample of Texans could possibly be. Still, as devoted supporters of the Republican party in the most important red state in the country, they could reasonably be considered ambassadors for their causes,

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