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Texas GOP Chairman Calls For Increased Gerrymandering

The chairman of the Republican Party of Texas is asking Republican legislators to ignore “fairness” in the next round of legislative redistricting this year, adding to the state’s history of gerrymandering.

“They must realize this strategic opportunity and not concern themselves with ‘fairness’ to the progressive socialist left,” said Allen West, in an email to supporters Monday.

Texas’ voting maps have been criticized for gerrymandering since they were drawn up beginning in 2010. After a years-long battle, the state won at the Supreme Court in keeping the maps that experts have said intentionally diminish the voting power of minority groups.

West has been criticized for his ultra-conservative views. He espoused the same conspiracy theories that resulted in the armed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week. He has been present at several “Stop the Steal” rallies. West — in another email — also called for Trump voting states to secede when the Supreme Court rejected the state’s lawsuit to disenfranchise millions of voters in battleground states.

In the face of widespread criticism, West would later try to explain away the secession talk with logical contortionism.

Monday’s email exhibited the same painful gymnastics.

Leading off with “Cool Heads Always Prevail,” he touted his military career and “prayed” President Trump wouldn’t enact the Insurrection Act — which would give the president the authority to deploy the military in an effort to hold onto power. It is a popular strategy with the same QAnon, conspiracy-minded criminals who laid siege to the U.S. Capitol last week.

The email seems to be trying to distance West from his previous statements and those riotous “hot heads,” as he calls them. He advocates not using a “frontal assault,” and playing chess not checkers. But at no point in Monday’s message to followers does West ever denounce the violence that erupted at the U.S. Capitol just five days prior.

And midway through the email — as though he couldn’t help himself — West again implies secession if the government tried to take his guns away, or if the legislature failed to pass even looser regulations around carrying firearms in Texas.

“Remember these dates in our history: April 19, 1775, and October 2, 1835. These are two dates where the Sons of Liberty in Massachusetts and Texians in Gonzales responded to the threat and imminent objective of a tyrannical government to disarm them. In both cases, the actions on Lexington Green and the field of Gonzales spurred forth movements toward independence,” the email said.

Throughout the jumble of name-callings and accusations one thing was clear, Allen West is not a cooler head.

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Copyright 2021 Texas Public Radio

Paul Flahive is the technology and entrepreneurship reporter for Texas Public Radio. He has worked in public media across the country, from Iowa City and Chicago to Anchorage and San Antonio.