Public Policy Polling, known for conducting accurate political surveys, released a survey in September 2010 saying that one out of every five Texas Republicans supported Texas secession from the Union.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry made a secession comment during his campaign for re-election to the office of governor in 2010.
Tea Party assemblies across the state push for less government control and more states’ rights.
Is this poll correct? Was Perry’s statement meant simply as a political ploy in order to gain the support of the Tea Party members he was speaking to? Or is it accurate that 20 percent of Texas Republicans support the idea of secession?
The rumor of Texas secession seems to be floating around, occasionally being picked up by a news source, but largely unreported.
“We can’t speak for the whole Tea Party movement; however, I will say that the great majority of us believe that the 10th Amendment and states’ rights are important to uphold,” Walker said. “Congress and the federal government have very limited powers according to the U.S. Constitution, although both the executive branch … and Congress, no matter who is in control, tend to overstep those powers.”
Though states’ rights and the 10th Amendment are extremely important to the Tea Party, that does not necessarily mean secession is on their minds. In fact, Walker thinks few Texans, including Tea Partiers, actually support secession and that the statistics from the poll are far from reality.
“I believe the number of people who support secession is very low. People may joke about it, but I seriously doubt they would want to leave the union. The vast majority of us love our country, and that includes Texas being part of it,” she said.
Though she has firm views on limited federal government, Walker still appreciates the United States and believes unity across the nation is important.
“I love my country. It wouldn’t be the same without all 50 states. I do not believe we should secede. Yes, states have to exert their rights, and we must get the federal government under control, but walking away from the Union is not the answer,” she said.
Chris Elam, spokesman for the Republican Party of Texas, believes that limited federal government is desirable for all Republicans and that the powers designated to the federal government are clearly outlined in the U.S. Constitution and its amendments.
“We support state sovereignty reserved under the 10th Amendment and oppose mandates beyond the scope of federal authority,” he said. “We oppose and refuse any federal mandates which infringe upon the right to self-government and rights of citizens, businesses and public entities of the State of Texas.”
Elam said that Republicans wish to do away with national government groups that were not initially established in the founding documents of the country.
“We further support abolition of federal agencies involved in activities not originally delegated to the federal government under a strict interpretation of the Constitution,” he said.
Elam thinks that their views on states’ rights, similar to the Tea Party’s, have no direct connection to Texas secession.
“We are all happy to be Texans and happy to be part of the Union,” he said. “We as a party are not advocating secession from the Union.”
Chairperson of the Bell County Republican Party Nancy Boston would like to see government powers returned to their constitutional places, where she says they are clearly explained.
“The states do have rights, and there are certain rights that are specifically spelled out in the Constitution. Sometimes the federal government infringes on rights given to the states,” Boston said.
Boston thinks one way the national government has taken over states’ rights is with the new healthcare plan.
“The Republican Party does believe that the federal government has overstepped by mandating that everyone must buy healthcare,” she said. “There are certain things that the government cannot mandate that individuals buy Obamacare is one of them.”
As far as secession, Boston does not believe taking that course of action would be a wise decision for the state.
“I don’t think that is a viable option. It would not be in the best interest of the U.S. for any state to secede,” she said.
Though most leaders and activists in the Tea Party and Republican Party do not support Texas secession, some people believe it to be a good idea.
Junior biblical studies major Landon Hebison thinks that Texas could function better on its own than as a part of the Union.
“I support secession because I think it would free us from the massive debt in D.C., and that would enable the government to be far more effective. Also, I think the government in Texas would make decisions more in line with the attitudes and beliefs of the citizens here in Texas,” he said.
Hebison would like for more people’s political opinions to be heard, something he believes could be accomplished if Texas seceded.
He said, “With less people, each person’s voice would have a heavier impact, so the government would be much better suited to meet the people’s needs.”
Boston sees the Public Policy Poll results as reflective of people’s frustration with the way the nation is currently being run.
She said, “I think that it’s a knee-jerk reaction. People are saying ‘Hey, I’m fed up.’ They have done something to show that.”