Voting now, in this Texas GOP primary, is more important than in November. Here’s why | Opinion

This Texas Republican primary is all about looking tough.

Only about 7% of Texas voters will choose the state’s next leaders in what seems more like an old cowboy cartoon election for Meanest Hombre in the Valley.

Movement conservatives from the right have always used videos and mailers like baseball bats against incumbents. It’s meant to make federal, state and local government More Godly, or More Conservative.

Texas Republicans used to be smart business leaders. They built highways, lakes, airports and universities to make Texas great.

Now, business leaders are targets for abuse and derision from other Republicans.

They’re “liberal” or part of the “woke agenda.” They’re “for sharia” and help “Democrats like Nancy Pelosi.” They’re ”the swamp.”

Anti-Muslim mailers have been going out in North Texas House races.
Anti-Muslim mailers have been going out in North Texas House races.

Challengers bellow and bluster and preen for phone videos. They turn each campaign into a performance.

The result is a very expensive spitting contest.

Right now, this is what worries me: So far, nearly half the voters in both party primaries are age 70 and older, according to Republican consultant Derek Ryan, who analyzes turnout daily in Texas elections.

They may not be thinking about building for the future.

They may be voting for the state and local candidates who make the most noise, even if they’re the ones who will get the least done.

That’s why you should go vote between now and March 5.

Today would be great. Most election offices are open all weekend and every day through March 1.

Early voting sites through March 1 for the primary elections March 5. For more detail, see tarrantcountytx.gov/elections.
Early voting sites through March 1 for the primary elections March 5. For more detail, see tarrantcountytx.gov/elections.

If you don’t vote, then only the angriest or most extreme 7% of voters will pick our leaders.

Most Texans are independent voters. So, go ahead and vote in the Republican primary.

If you’re new here, let me explain.

Republicans have run this state for 22 years.

The party’s primary is where the next leaders are chosen to run our state’s justice system, highways. healthcare and education. The way election maps are drawn, few decisions are left to the general election in fall.

If there is an issue near and dear to your heart — whether it’s restoring order in Eagle Pass, trimming taxes, changing abortion law or giving more money to public or private schools — now is the election when that gets decided.

If you don’t show up — if you didn’t vote — then the government will not listen as closely when you complain.

A circa 1918 file photo of women demonstrating at the White House demanding voting rights.
A circa 1918 file photo of women demonstrating at the White House demanding voting rights.

In particular, Texas women should vote carefully.

So far, about 55% of Democratic primary voters are women.

But almost everything that matters is decided in the Republican primary, where voters are predominantly men.

If you really feel the need to vote in the Democratic primary for south Fort Worth county commissioner, I understand. But if you’re an independent voter, save your presidential vote for November.

Choosing a primary is like choosing a supermarket.

Go where there’s the best selection.

This is not about how you’re voting for president.

This is about what kind of leaders run Texas.