How far-right Texas AG Paxton is campaigning on his record of extremism and 'blind loyalty to Trump'

How far-right Texas AG Paxton is campaigning on his record of extremism and 'blind loyalty to Trump'

Far-right Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sunk to a new low when, in December 2020, he filed a frivolous lawsuit seeking to overturn the presidential election results in four states that now-President Joe Biden won: Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin. Paxton’s lawsuit was thrown out by the conservative-dominated U.S. Supreme Court.

But Paxton, who is seeking reelection in the 2022 midterms, isn’t trying to hide his record of extremism — he’s bragging about it. The Bulwark’s Corbin Barthold, in an article published on February 15, stresses that Paxton is campaigning on “blind loyalty to Trump” and hopes that it will win him a third term.

“The source of Paxton’s political success is hard to pin down,” Barthold argues. “It’s not the man’s charisma; he has none. Nor is it his intellect; to repeat, ‘One in a quadrillion to the fourth power’…. But if it’s a bit mysterious how Paxton got where he is, it’s not hard to explain how he has stayed there. Paxton is adept at the Trumpian style of politics: always attack, never defend, accuse your accusers, muddy the water.”

Barthold continues, “Aside from Trump himself, no one ‘floods the zone with shit’ — in Steve Bannon’s famous phrasing — quite like Paxton. The scandals are so numerous, their facts so convoluted, the obfuscations so bewildering, it’s easy to disengage. The details fade into the fog of culture war.”

In the Texas GOP, Barthold observes, Paxton’s “greatest strength” is the fact that he is a “fanatical Trumpist.”

“When he is not misbehaving on his own behalf,” Barthold explains, “it’s a safe bet that he’s doing so for Trump. After Trump was ejected from social media for inciting the January 6th riot, for instance, Paxton promised to combat the major platforms ‘with all I’ve got.’ Days later, he launched an investigation of Twitter.”

In order to take on a Democrat in the general election, Barthold notes, Paxton will need to overcome GOP primary challenges from George P. Bush (son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush) and Rep. Louie Gohmert. Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Paxton.

“Perhaps in their efforts to use Paxton’s character against him, Bush or Gohmert will succeed where past candidates have failed,” Barthold writes. “But the point stands: Only Paxton enjoys the express endorsement of the Dear Leader. He holds the golden ticket. The polls suggest that, notwithstanding the miasma of discredit that wafts off his person, the nomination remains his to lose.”

Barthold continues, “‘Don’t mess with Texas’ started as a slogan for a successful state-sponsored campaign against littering. In Texas, some kinds of trash are easier to clean up than others.”


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