Texas made it clear on Monday that it intended to continue adding razor wire along the southern border, despite the tragic drownings of children and a Supreme Court ruling that allowed federal agents to cut or remove these barriers.
That Supreme Court ruling overturned a decision by the highly conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals which blocked Border Patrol agents from removing the razor wire. However, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is now arguing that because the Supreme Court ruling only sent the decision back to the 5th Circuit and didn’t explicitly state rules for what happens next, “There was no opinion about anything–about razor wire, what Texas is doing or anything like that.”
MAGA Republicans are celebrating Abbott’s standoff with the federal government and calling on Texas to “Hold the line,” which is bringing on concerns about a constitutional crisis. The most extreme are calling for Texas to secede and initial a second Civil War.
And somehow, the national media doesn’t feel like this is a story.
To resolve the crisis, President Joe Biden could federalize Texas National Guard forces and place them under direct control. Abbott has warned that this would be “the biggest political blunder” Biden could make.
Emboldened Texas nationalists are using this occasion to call on Abbott to expand and “fully militarize” the Texas State Guard, which is not part of the National Guard and can’t be federalized in an emergency. The Texas State Guard is primarily composed of 1,900 volunteers used in situations such as hurricane relief. They don’t have either the training or equipment of Texas’ 23,000 National Guard members.
Last week, Abbott issued a statement in which he said he was invoking Texas’ “right of self-defense.” The language of Abbott’s statement deliberately borrows from the declaration of secession issued by South Carolina when it was the first state to illegally leave the Union in 1860. That mimicry has thrilled Texas nationalists and helped spur calls for civil war throughout the right.
Following Abbott’s statement, 25 other Republican governors issued a joint statement supporting Texas’ right to self-defense. That statement encourages Abbott to use “every tool and strategy” when defending the border and cites a section of the Constitution that requires the federal government to protect the states from invasion.
Donald Trump has praised Abbott and called on other states to help him. In response, other Republican-controlled states, including Oklahoma and Arkansas, are sending National Guard units to Texas to bolster Abbott’s position.
The standoff has also generated excitement in Russia, where Vladimir Putin’s chief deputy has been calling on Texas to get that civil war going.
“Establishing a People’s Republic of Texas is getting more and more real,” tweeted Dmitry Medvedev. Russia is reportedly using its propaganda machine to push hard on this issue, seizing on a dispute between the federal government and Texas as a means of distracting the U.S. from the war in Ukraine.
Despite all this, the story has generated exactly zero articles in The New York Times and scant attention anywhere else in the national media.
The national press is allowing Republicans to stoke their fabricated border crisis—right down to threats of civil war—even while those same Republicans are doing everything they can to undermine a solution to issues at the border.
How do you avoid reporting on the hypocrisy of the Republican position? Leaving off half the story is a good start.
We’re going deep inside last year’s momentous progressive victory in the battle for control of the Wisconsin Supreme Court on this week’s episode of “The Downballot,” where we’re joined by Alejandro Verdin, who managed Judge Janet Protasiewicz’s triumphant campaign. Verdin explains how he assembled a team that took the little-known Protasiewicz from third place in the polls to a runaway first-place finish in the primary and then on to a landslide win in the general election.