Back when “Abbott hates dogs” was trending on Twitter, one would think there wouldn’t be a better opportunity to write a slam piece on Gov. Greg Abbott. Apparently not. Over the last few months, Abbott’s baffling decisions have continued to pile up, leaving the people of Texas teetering on the edge of uncertainty and medical disaster. Abbott’s disconnect with Texans is reflected in public opinion, making it glaringly obvious the governor is not right for the people of Texas.
Since April, there has been a 10-point jump in the number of Texans who think the state is on the wrong track, now making a 52 percent majority. Among Republicans, there’s been a 10-point increase since June. Hitting an all-time high, 50 percent of Texans now disapprove of Abbott’s performance.
Abbott is seemingly alienating both the pro- and anti-Trump wings of his party. Some aspect of him will always be too establishment and not extreme enough, indicated by Sen. Ted Cruz receiving boos from Tea Party members when he endorsed Abbott. Texas’ far-right voters seem to also have little reason to support him over other Republicans vying for his job, like former Sen. Don Huffines and former GOP chairman Allen West.
Huffines has criticized Texas Republicans for not being conservative enough, stating, “When we lose Texas, we lose the free world. That means we lost civilization as we know it.” Recently, Huffines claimed Abbott “encourages abortion” based on Senate Bill 8’s six week window for abortions. A truly concerning sentiment, considering Texas now has some of the most draconian abortion laws in the developed world.
West is most well-known for flirting with secession. He claims we are in an “ideological civil war” and “law-abiding states should bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution.” Perhaps in a confederation of sorts, because that’s worked out so well in the past.
In the big tent of the Texas GOP, Abbott somehow manages to be the most moderate candidate. Worryingly, these challengers will push Abbott to more radical positions.
As the ideal Texan would say, “That, governor, ain’t right.” Chief among Abbott’s faults are his blatant disregard for the well-being of his state.
Abbott is bad for business. Texas has dropped from the number two spot in best states for business down to fourth for the second time since 2017. Before then, Texas had not fallen below third place for over a decade. Abbott’s dangerous downplaying of COVID-19 goes against the wishes of most businesses, who prefer long-term economic stability.
Texas’ recent voting restriction legislation and abortion ban also make businesses hesitant to stay in the lone star state. Some businesses have already begun denying services related to the enforcement of the abortion ban.
Abbott denied his policies would hurt Texas, citing Elon Musk as a fan of Texas’ social conservatism.
Musk gave a cold shouldered response on Twitter. “In general, I believe government should rarely impose its will upon the people, and, when doing so, should aspire to maximize their cumulative happiness. That said, I would prefer to stay out of politics,” the tweet read.
That has to sting a little.
With Roe v. Wade in limbo, the Texas Medical Association condemning the abortion ban and an unprecedented new avenue open for a snitching and suing culture, Abbott’s Texas is a mess led by arbitrary guidelines.
Abbott’s vow to “eliminate all rapists” is just one example of his nonsensical approach. Instead of addressing the inaccurate concept of a “fetal heartbeat” in his bill or dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging his state, he continues to make self-serving decisions.
The glaring hypocrisy is best exemplified by Abbott’s stance that Texans should have the “right to choose whether they get the COVID[-19] vaccine” but not whether or not to receive a constitutionally protected medical procedure. Not to mention, Abbott’s mind-boggling decision to promote COVID-19 treatments without prevention — only after getting infected himself — has caused irreparable harm. More than 10 percent of all Texans who have died of COVID-19 have passed away in the last month. Abbott certainly carries some of the blame as a result of his unpopular ban on mask and vaccine mandates.
Though Abbott has seemingly rolled back his stance on dogs, he is unlikely to budge on more significant issues. Abbott’s reversal also demonstrates his inability to foresee the consequences of his actions and his ultimately opportunistic intentions. With Abbott in charge, we’re left with a Texas-sized catastrophe. In fact, the only good thing about our situation is the future attack ads basically write themselves.
“Greg Abbott, a governor so bad, he makes Satanists look good.”
For the sake of all Texans, Abbott must go.
Zachary Freeman is an anthropology senior and opinion columnist for The Battalion.