It doesn’t sound like a majority of Texans have enjoyed the way Republicans are handling abortion. We already have one of the most restrictive laws in the country – and if Roe falls, we’ll have a trigger ban that completely eliminates access. When asked whether they were in favor or against banning all abortions in the state if the Supreme Court overthrows Roe, 54 percent of voters said they were against it, and 42 percent strongly opposed it. As for the constitutional carry bill passed last year — the law that means anyone 21 or older can carry a gun without a license — a majority of Texans, along with many law enforcement officers, were against it.
Last year, more Texans disapproved for a while than approved him — a rarity since 2015. His rating bounced back this spring, to 47 percent approval versus 41 percent disapproval. Republicans still love him — 80 percent approved it in April.
And yet, if a leader’s yardstick is how he operates in a crisis, Mr. Abbott failed at every turn – spectacularly at times, if such a thing can be said. Some examples: the February 2021 freeze that officially killed 246 Texans, though the real toll was likely much higher, as donors to energy companies ran off like bandits. His antipathy to vaccination mandates of almost any kind, while more than 88,000 Texans died of Covid. His inability to even consider that his stance against abortion in the case of rape would lead to what some consider to be forced births. Not to worry: Mr Abbott said his administration would “remove all rapists from the streets of Texas.”
Who would be surprised then when he said of the shooting at a school in Uvalde that “as terrible as it was, it could have been worse”?
Such reactions are not because of Mr Abbott’s lack of empathy, as many have suggested. Well, he seems to lack empathy, but there are other more glaring factors at work. After the 2018 Santa Fe High School shooting, he made a feeble attempt to introduce new school safety regulations, but soon withdrew.
Ultimately, a major reason for this hard-right administration has been and has been the grassroots of Republican primary voters. In a state of nearly 30 million, about 17 million registered to vote, but only about two million voted in the past two Republican primaries — and those who vote reliably are older, white, and far to the right. In this year’s primaries, a Republican candidate could have won the nomination with less than 4 percent of the vote. So the typical calculation for Republican politicians is this: Keep the far-right voter base happy, and you’re a guaranteed winner in Republican-dominated Texas.
This is why Lieutenant Governor Patrick can get away with claiming that arming teachers is the way to prevent school shootings, and why Ted Cruz’s solution to avoiding the death of schoolchildren is to open all but one of the doors of school. keep school buildings locked, fire brigades be damned.