The Republican Party of Texas (RPT) included a plank in its party platform that calls for a referendum on seceding from the United States. The platform was finalized as part of the RPT’s convention in Houston this weekend.
The push for a referendum on seceding is included under the “state sovereignty” section of the platform.
“Pursuant to Article 1, Section 1, of the Texas Constitution, the federal government has impaired our right of local self-government,” the section reads. “Therefore, federally mandated legislation that infringes upon the 10th Amendment rights of Texas should be ignored, opposed, refused, and nullified. Texas retains the right to secede from the United States, and the Texas Legislature should be called upon to pass a referendum consistent thereto.”
The proposed referendum would be on the ballot in 2023.
Texas became independent in 1836 after breaking away from Mexico and then was annexed by the U.S. in 1845. Texas seceded from the Union in 1861 and then was readmitted in 1870, five years after the Confederacy was defeated in the Civil War.
In 1869, the Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. White that states cannot unilaterally choose to secede from the Union.
“The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration, or revocation, except through revolution, or through consent of the States,” according to the court.
“If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede,” the late Justice Antonin Scalia once wrote.
In early 2021, State Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R-Fredericksburg) filed a bill that called for a “Texit” referendum. Then RPT Chair Allen West endorsed the bill.
It would have placed a referendum on the November 2021 ballot asking Texans “Should the legislature of the State of Texas submit a plan for leaving the United States of America and establishing an independent republic?”
The referendum would have been nonbinding if passed by voters, but it also asked the State Legislature to “develop a plan for achieving Texas independence.”
After introducing the bill, Biedermann declared it was “time that the People of Texas are allowed the right to decide their own future.”
“Voters of all political persuasions in Texas can agree on one thing, Washington D.C. is and has been broken,” said Biedermann. “Our federal government continuously fails our working families, seniors, taxpayers, veterans and small business owners. For decades, the promises of America and our individual liberties have been eroding.”
The bill never received a hearing and garnered criticism from other lawmakers.
State Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) branded it a “disgrace to the Lone Star State” and the “very definition of seditious.”
In November, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said that he, as a U.S. Senator, did not support the idea of Texas independence, but he understood why some people believed it was in the state’s best interests.
“If the Democrats end the filibuster, if they fundamentally destroy the country, if they pack the Supreme Court, if they make D.C. a state, if they federalize elections, if they massively expand voter fraud, there may come a point where it’s hopeless,” Cruz told a student at Texas A&M.
Daniel Miller, president of the Texas Nationalist Movement (TNM), said, “When we started the TNM, support for independence was polling in single digits, but we have always polled higher than the approval rating of the U.S. Congress.”
Now, TNM’s website boasts that more than 427,000 Texans support its organization, which seeks to “make Texas an independent nation again.”