Thursday, January 10, 2019

OMG! Some People Think Texas Republicans Are Islamophobes


There are 5 counties in Texas with over a million people: Harris County (Houston), Dallas County, Tarrant County (Ft. Worth), Bexar County (San Antonio) and Travis County (Austin). Four are basically blue counties that elect Democrats. Tarrant, with nearly 2 million people, is the outlier. This was Trump's share of the vote in each:
Harris- 41.8%
Dallas- 34.9%
Tarrant- 52.2%
Bexar- 41.0%
Travis- 27.4%
Gerrymandered savagely, Tarrant County, is part of 6 congressional districts-- and five are held by Republicans, just one by a Democrat (Marc Veasey). These are the congressional districts and the percentage the congressman got this past November:
TX-06 (Ron Wright)- 53.1%
TX-12 (Kay Granger)- 64.3%
TX-24 (Kenny Marchant)- 50.6%
TX-25 (Roger Williams)- 53.5%
TX-26 (Michael Burgess)- 59.4%
TX-33 (Marc Veasey)- 76.2%
Why all this Tarrant County information today? There's a reason. The vice-chair of the Tarrant County Republican Party is Shahid Shafi and there is a move among some Republicans to remove him from office-- and tonight's the vote. And it's not because he's a surgeon. "Shahid Shafi identifies as a Republican," wrote Alex Samuels, "because of his firm belief in small government, lower taxes and secure borders. But his commitment to core GOP values hasn’t shielded him from ire within his own party."
“This is, unfortunately, not the first time that people or my political opponents have tried to use my religion against me to distract the voters,” Shafi, who declined to be interviewed by the Texas Tribune before Thursday’s vote, told the Washington Post. “And unfortunately, I don’t think it will be the last either.”

Dorrie O’Brien, one of the precinct chairs leading the charge to recall Shafi, did not respond to The Tribune’s request for comment. She’s previously said, however, that her support for ousting Shafi stems not from his religion, but whether he supports Islam or is connected “to Islamic terror groups,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. In a series of lengthy Facebook posts, O’Brien wrote that she “never doubted” her side has “the votes to rescind Shahid Shafi’s ratification as vice chair.”

“We don’t think he’s suitable as a practicing Muslim to be vice chair because he’d be the representative for ALL Republicans in Tarrant County, and not ALL Republicans in Tarrant County think Islam is safe or acceptable in the U.S., in Tarrant County, and in the TCGOP," O'Brien wrote on Facebook, adding that "there are big questions surrounding exactly where Dr. Shafi’s loyalties lie, vis a vis Democrat and Republican policies.”

...It’s unclear whether Thursday’s vote will happen in public, behind closed doors or be delayed indefinitely, Easton said. The Star-Telegram reported that, since the movement to remove Shafi has picked up steam, it has expanded to also target some of his defenders, including Easton and a Republican party official who is married to a Muslim.

Shafi, who came to the U.S. in 1990 and became a naturalized citizen in 2009, has repeatedly defended himself against the attacks on his religion. In an open letter, he wrote that he believes “much of the hate against Muslims is driven by a fear of terrorism.”

“Here are the facts. I have never had any association with the Muslim Brotherhood nor [the Council on American-Islamic Relations] nor any terrorist organization,” he wrote. “I believe that the laws of our nation are our Constitution and the laws passed by our elected legislatures-- I have never promoted any form of Sharia Law. I fully support and believe in American Laws for American Courts.

“I am honored to be an American and a Republican,” he concluded.

Jeremi Suri, a professor of public affairs and history at the University of Texas at Austin, said claims that Shafi’s religion impede his ability to work with the Republican party are “completely unfounded.” He compared the attacks against the surgeon to rhetoric the Ku Klux Klan used in the early 20th century against Catholics and Jews running for political office.

“The Klan argued that if you’re a Catholic, you obviously put the pope before the country so how could you be an American leader? That’s the same argument this Tarrant County group is making," said Suri.

Though the movement to reconsider Shafi’s appointment was afoot well ahead of last year’s midterm elections, Thursday’s vote comes just months after Tarrant County-- considered the most conservative urban county in the country-- narrowly flipped in favor of Texas Democrats’ star senatorial candidate, Beto O’Rourke. In Tarrant County and the surrounding Dallas-Fort Worth region, several Texas Senate and House seats went to Democrats, including the district previously held by conservative state Sen. Konni Burton of Colleyville.

Brendan Steinhauser, an Austin-based GOP strategist, worries that Shafi's ousting would harm the Tarrant County GOP and state party in the 2020 elections.

“These are the kinds of headlines the party doesn’t need right now,” Steinhauser said. "Doubling down on shrinking the tent is a very bad idea. It does make me wonder what’s next. Are they going to say no Catholics can be in a leadership positions in the party or no Jews? I mean, what is the religious standard that they want to impose?"
Kenny Marchant may be most hurt by the latest GOP bigotry scandal

Could this bigotry scandal harm the chances of the 5 congressional Republicans up for reelection in 2020? There isn't enough of Tarrant County is Roger Williams' district to make any difference. But Kenny Marchant and freshman Ron Wright could both be in for trouble if Democrats make an issue out of it. TX-24 (Marchant's district) looked like this in Marchant's 2018 race:

In other words, if he loses any significant support in the Tarrant part of the district, he's dead. TX-06 is more than 2/3s Tarrant County and the Tarrant County part of the district is already trending blue. Just a few less votes in a Tarrant County with a Republican Party in turmoil will mean Wright will be a one-termer.

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At 6:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shahid Shafi should immediately join the Democratic party - he would be welcomed with open arms. Right?

At 10:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If one is a White, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant Male Property Owner, then the Republican Party wants you. If you aren't, you are evil, vile, anti-American, and probably socialist bearing the mark of Cain and the stain of Original Sin.

At 6:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...his commitment to core GOP values hasn’t shielded him from ire within his own party."

What, hasn't he said he hates meskins and blacks enough for Texans?

The Nazi party's core value, there is only one, is hate. Unfortunately for this pos, hatred of muslims is high on the list.

It's fucking texas. he could be a poster boy if he switched to the democraps. If he's corrupt enough... that's their yardstick.


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