BY now you’re aware that Marsha Farney handily defeated creationist Brian Russell in the Texas GOP primary runoff election to see who would be the Republican candidate in November for District 10 seat on the Texas State Board of Education (the SBOE). It was more than a victory — it was a landslide. Farney won in every county in the district, and she received 62% of the total votes cast.
It’s probably too early to assess the meaning of Russell’s crushing defeat, but we’re going to give it a try. That’s what bloggers do.
First, it must be remembered that the SBOE seat for District 10 is currently held by Cynthia Dunbar — one of the most strident members of the creationist-theocratic faction that has been dominating the board. See: Cynthia Dunbar And Her Friends, and also: Meet Cynthia Dunbar.
Dunbar had endorsed Russell, and her endorsement wasn’t all that Russell had going for him. He had also been endorsed by former board chairman Don McLeroy, the creationist dentist — an incurable, hard-core, full-blown, flaming young-earth creationist who believes that man and dinosaur lived at the same time — who wants his ideas taught in Texas schools.
It seems undeniable that the Republicans, having been awakened to what had been happening on the SBOE, rose up yesterday and rejected the extreme creationist candidate. GOP voters had earlier defeated McLeroy in the first round of primaries. Only one of the creationist faction won a primary challenge the night McLeroy was defeated. The lone creationist winner was Ken Mercer — we call him “Dog-Cat Mercer” because he dismisses evolution by saying: “Have you ever seen a dog-cat, or a cat-rat?” Our post-election writeup for that night is here: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly.
Does the outcome of these primary contests have any significance beyond the relatively trivial scope of a state school board race? We think it definitely does. See: Texas, the Republican Party, & the World.
In that post we explained why some apparently inconsequential school board contests in Texas are literally of global importance. You may not click over there to read our earlier essay, so we’ll quote ourselves at length:
Whether America continues its slide into the sewer of socialism depends not so much on the success of the left — which never succeeds in economics — as it does on the attractiveness of the political opposition.
If the Republican party presents a repulsive program of government, it cannot succeed at the national level. That leaves the nation, and ultimately the world, with no alternative but to sink further into the pit of socialism, where free enterprise is effectively outlawed, and we are ruled by parasites, power freaks, and economic idiots.
Despite their incompetence, leftists continue to win elections. Why? It’s because, despite their unbroken history of causing economic disasters all over the globe for most of the last century, their opponents are usually perceived as being even worse. Not worse at economics, but at everything else. Ironically, elections are decided by the “undecided” voters in the middle, and such people never choose what they perceive as fanaticism.
Despite a rational core of economic and geopolitical common sense, if the GOP continues to be dominated by the lingering remnant of the ignorant, racist, creationist mobs who idolized William Jennings Bryan, they’ll never attract enough votes to prevail in national elections. No one wants to swap a bunch of incompetents for a pack of even more dangerous lunatics.
And so, dear reader, the battle for the soul of the GOP is playing out in a few rinky-dink Texas school board elections.
Okay, so what does the result of these SBOE primary contests mean to us? It means this: If there are rational Republicans in Texas, and that definitely seems to be the case, then there are rational Republicans everywhere — lots of them. If those voters express their preferences in choosing candidates, then the GOP can indeed present a rational alternative to the Democrats — not only in Texas, but all over the country.
This could be the response we’ve been hoping for since we wrote our Open Letter to the Republican Party. The Republican party still has decent principles, but those are too often overwhelmed by an obsession with sex and religion. The political dominance of that obsession could be coming to an end. If so, future elections may offer more than a distasteful exercise in making exquisitely nuanced decisions about selecting the lesser of two evils — that is, socialism or theocracy.
Maybe we’re reading more into this school board primary than is warranted. We’ve been wrong before, and maybe we’re wrong again. But a Curmudgeon rarely has any cause to be hopeful, so we’ll take what we can get. And to us, last night’s victory by Marsha Farney looks like the start of something big. At least we can hope.
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