Editor’s Note: This is part two of a three-part series
In part one of our interview with Daniel Miller, the author of Texit: Why and How Texas Will Leave the Union, he explained what finally compelled him to write the book after more than 20 years, if there is a desire to secede with Republicans in charge, and why the border is a major concern for Texans.
In this installment, we’ll discuss the challenges facing the Texit movement, the media’s reaction to the idea of a Texas secession compared to California’s own secession movement, and the risk of an independent Texas government becoming too big.
LN: You warn that a considerable challenge for Texit is raising money. How does this change moving forward with Texans generally pleased with the Republican Party in Washington?
DM: I wouldn’t say people are generally pleased with the Republican Party in Washington. That has not been our experience. Let’s be honest here in Texas: I think the approval rating in the U.S. Congress is somewhere between Saddam Hussein’s torturer and zero.
Texans are not particularly happy with the way the federal government does anything. I think it’s going to be rare to find someone who is just over the moon excited about what the federal government does.
But how that flows into fundraising is important. It was one of the reasons why I included it in the book. One of the challenges that we’ve got – and it’s not just exclusive to the Texit movement – is that people by and large don’t understand the role of money, or the role of their individual donations, in politics. The folks out here and the rank and file that are going out there, that are working every day or they have small businesses, they have become so disconnected and disgruntled from the political system that they’re disenchanted, they’re disillusioned. They don’t believe they can individually have an effect on this. They have relegated political fundraising to this permanent political class and their apologists. The first step, beyond addressing any specific solutions to it, is to acknowledge the elephant in the room which is our side has got to begin to grasp the role that money plays, what their particular and individual role can be in alleviating that situation, and then going out what they need to do.
LN: During the beginning of the Tea Party movement, then-Governor Rick Perry passively talked about the state’s right to secede from the Union, and he didn’t even advocate the position. But the media pounced and attacked Perry. Why do you think the establishment and the media are so quick to attack Texas secession?
DM: Yeah, especially when they gave Cal-Exit a free pass, right? It seems that if California or any of the left-leaning states offer it up, it becomes OK. Let’s be honest: the media loves to attack Texas. I don’t like to paint with a broad brush, but it’s hard to not identify a pattern here. They love to denigrate us. If it’s a piece of bad news or Texas makes some kind of bad rating somewhere, they love to pounce all over it. I think it’s one of the reasons that the mainstream media has been largely silent on the issue of Texas.
I go through it in the book, I specify areas where if any other type of movement – look at the school shootings in Florida. They were able to cobble together a group of students and take that small group of students and go out – and they refer to it as a movement – and they got all the press in the world and they got so many free passes. They were able to say and do things that if any of our advocates – not just me in leadership – but anyone wearing that badge of a Texit supporter said or did those things they would be ostracized, they would have been completely burned to the ground in the media.
There is an implicit bias here. It’s one of the reasons they decided to jump all over Rick Perry on the issue even though he’s not the to utter the words. It’s part and parcel why Texans are sick and disgusted with this political media incestuous relationship.
LN: The media for so long have often framed the argument for secession as that of a racist one. In your book, you note that the media generally state that those who want to secede in the south are Fox News fanatics, uneducated, and poor. But they never say this about California or Oregon and their own secession movements. Why do you think there is a stark contrast?
DM: I think it’s very clear that when it comes to the mainstream media there is a political alignment that suits what’s happening in California. It is more aligned with those values you’d find in California. The mainstream media were so outraged by the election of Donald Trump that they were perfectly willing to acknowledge this movement of California to leave the Union viewing it as a reaction to the election of Donald Trump. It goes back to 2000 when Al Gore lost, and you had legitimate political commentators that were writing in large mainstream news outlets that it maybe time for left-leaning states to leave the Union. This is sort of the MO.
Imagine for a moment the pendulum swings in the next presidential election. All of the lessons they learned, all of the realizations in the newfound religion that somehow the Union is not immutable and the states can leave. In the next election cycle, if a Democrat gets elected, and we have a surge of support in Texas independence, they will vilify it, they will take all that they have learned, all that they advocated after the 2016 election, they will throw out the window. That is just how they work. We’re willing to accept that. It’s just become part of the playing field now. It’s why I laughed often after the Calexit thing and said, ‘Hey, it’s nice to have the mainstream media as your propaganda arm.’
LN: One of the main arguments in favor of secession is that the federal government is too big and too powerful and it often ignores the 10th Amendment. Do you fear that an independent Texas government could become too big as well?
DM: I think the size of government is a challenge at every level, whether it’s the federal level or the state level or county and municipal level. Government seeks to expand. It’s up to the citizenry to hold it in check. I think the question becomes: do we need that additional layer at the federal level?
One of the things from practical observation that I’ve seen in our dealings with the Texas government here is that the federal government serves as a massive distraction to what goes on here in the state. While people get focused on these federal races, whether it be president, senator, congressman, they are fixated on the news that’s coming out of Washington, D.C. and the newest outrage, the problem is that it gives the folks at the state and local level almost a free pass because people have their attention divided and diverted. They are fixated on those bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. Too many things are allowed to slide here. By eliminating that distraction and really focusing on the right of self-government for Texas, it shines a really bright light on what’s going on in Austin and, frankly, it’s something our people need right now.
In part three of our series, Daniel Miller touches on the lack of legitimate arguments against Texit, the behavior of Texit supporters, and the momentum it would give other secessionist movements.
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