The Democratic and Republican parties in Texas are authorized to include a referendum on selected issues in the spring primary. Because these votes are not binding, the media pays little attention to them. In fact, I didn’t even know there were any this year because there had been virtually no reporting on them.
The Republican referendum last week contained five propositions:
- SCHOOL CHOICE: The state should fund education by allowing dollars to follow the child instead of the bureaucracy, through a program which allows parents the freedom to choose their child’s school, public or private, while also saving significant taxpayer dollars. Yes or No?
- REPEALING OBAMACARE: Congress should immediately repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as Obamacare) and reject the rationing of healthcare by government or the intrusion by government into the doctor – patient relationship. Yes or No?
- PUBLIC PRAYER: Government should be prohibited from restricting the content of public prayer. Yes or No?
- BALANCED BUDGET / CONTROLLING GOVERNMENT GROWTH Out of control spending should be stopped at all levels of federal and state government through constitutional amendments limiting any increase in government spending to the combined increase of population and inflation, requiring voter approval. Yes or No?
- REDISTRICTING: The Texas Legislature should redraw the court-imposed lines for Congress and State legislative districts in its upcoming session in order to remedy inequities. Yes or No?
Obviously, the virtue of these propositions in a Republican primary was not in doubt. All passed easily. But the results still tell us something. Propositions 2, 3, and 4 each received in excess of 90% yes. For the party of constitutional conservatives, it’s ironic that Republicans are willing to disregard what the Constitution says about school prayer. School choice was almost as popular with 84.5% yes, although I am skeptical of its claim that school choice will save taxpayer dollars. The laggard was redistricting, which received only 71.3% yes. That confirms what I have always suspected – i.e., Texans of all persuasions are disgusted with political gerrymandering.
The Democratic referendum had only three propositions:
- Support of the DREAM Act and in-state tuition for those eligible: Any graduate of a Texas high school, who has lived in the state for at least three years and lived here continuously for the last year, should be eligible for in-state tuition at state supported colleges and universities and given the opportunity to earn legal status through a higher education or military service. For or Against?
- State funding to make college affordable: “Because a college education is increasingly necessary for jobs that allow our citizens to achieve middle class lifestyles and become the entrepreneurs who create the jobs that our economy relies on, we call on the Texas Legislature to fund colleges and universities such that tuition and fees can be affordable to all Texans.” For or Against?
- Allow a vote to legalize gambling to fund public education: Should the Texas Legislature allow the people of Texas to vote to legalize casino gambling with all funds generated being used only for education? For or Against?
Not surprisingly, the liberal Democrats strongly supported each of their propositions, too. Leading the way, 92.5% of their voters wanted college to be affordable (who doesn’t), and 84.9% support the DREAM Act and in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. Bringing up the rear, only 74.1% want to legalize casino gambling.
Like the Republicans and redistricting, the Democrats and casino gambling are not completely copacetic.