Amber Phillips asked Tuesday in The Washington Post‘s The Fix “Is Texas really trying to secede from the United States?” Some – many possibly – might cheer at such news. According to Phillips, “When Texas Republicans assemble for their state convention next month, it’s possible they will debate whether Texas should secede from the United States.”
Phillips points out that, “There’s almost no chance Texas Republicans will actually vote in favor of seceding, mind you — not least because most of the party wants nothing to do with this,” but she thinks “the fact we’re even mentioning secession and the Texas GOP convention in the same sentence suggests that the once-fringe movement has become a priority for at least some conservative grass-roots Texans.”
After all, Rick Perry was only kidding when he suggested it, wasn’t he? Or did he float the idea and then realize in a rare display of self-awareness how stupid it sounded?
Despite all the claims made by secessionists and other fantasies that “there is nothing legally limiting secession,” it’s crazy talk really, because the Supreme Court forbade it in Texas v White (1869):
The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and arbitrary relation. It began among the Colonies, and grew out of common origin, mutual sympathies, kindred principles, similar interests, and geographical relations. It was confirmed and strengthened by the necessities of war, and received definite form and character and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these, the Union was solemnly declared to ‘be perpetual.’ And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained ‘to form a more perfect Union.’ It is difficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indissoluble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not?
When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which consummated her admission into the Union was something more than a compact; it was the incorporation of a new member into the political body. And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration or revocation, except through revolution or through consent of the States.
According to this decision, “The obligations of the State, as a member of the Union, and of every citizen of the State, as a citizen of the United States, remained perfect and unimpaired.” Texas never left the Union, even when it claimed it did, and it cannot now leave the Union, even if it claims to do so.
It could be argued that an independent Texas means Donald Trump is actually right about needing a wall along our Southern border. But certain advantages accrue as well:
- Red States are on average more dependent upon the federal government – that is, they suck up the tax dollars from the Blue States – so it could be argued that any Red State we can shuck is a net gain for Blue State residents everywhere. In fact, Texas was the biggest stimulus moocher in the entire country. Think economic sinkhole.
- Ted Cruz could no longer be president of the United States. The most he could hope for is president of the Republic of Texas, maybe (see below). Let him scare somebody else’s little kids. And their parents. Few men are as capable as Cruz of making Freddy Krueger seem friendly and approachable.
- Ted Cruz could not be President of the Republic of Texas, most likely, because he was not born in Texas either.
- Ted Cruz could no longer waste taxpayer money in a contest with Marco Rubio to see who could do the least amount of work on the taxpayer’s dime. It was just as bad in 2015 and you can’t expect it to get any better if Cruz is president.
- These guys of Texas Open Carry wouldn’t American citizens anymore (but in a delicious irony millions of Muslims would):
- No more Jade Helm hysteria when the U.S. military tries to hold a routine training exercise for all the wars Republicans want to push them into. It is beyond ridiculous that the Pentagon should have to assure residents that it has no plans to invade Texas, which is, after all, part of the United States, and so, can’t be invaded.
- The NFL would finally realize it’s dream of having foreign teams (the Cowboys and the Texans).
So there are lots of reasons to shed Texas. What’s funny is that the Houston Chronicle reports that, “Supporters of and independent Texas allege overreach, corruption and excessive spending by the federal government, and argue that Texas is large and prosperous enough to get by on its own,” when Texas is a moocher state and the recipient of so much of that “excessive spending by the federal government.”
We can laugh all day at the grade-school mentality of these secessionists but that would be to insult our grade school children. Hanging on tired old Republican tropes, Texas conservatives would be the recipients instead of a huge awakening on their first day of independence when all that welfare the state leaches from Blue States dries up.
I’m all for letting them try, but however serious they are, we’ll never get to find out because it’s illegal to secede from the Union. Both the Civil War’s outcome (1865) and the Supreme Court (1869) have put paid to those fantasies. But if Texas Republicans can dream, so too can Northern liberals.