On Tuesday, May 27, Dan Patrick defeated 11-year incumbent David Dewhurst in the Republican primary for Texas lieutenant governor. While most media lazily defaulted to the “Tea Party defeats establishment” narrative, the reality was much more complicated. Both candidates in the runoff were endorsed by conservative and Tea Party-affiliated groups. While Patrick is seen as the more conservative of the two, Dewhurst was endorsed by most libertarian-leaning organizations. Former congressman Ron Paul and state land commissioner Jerry Patterson also endorsed the incumbent. When Patrick won, many libertarian Republicans like myself were distraught. Dewhurst wasn’t our ideal candidate, but he was the best of the two in the runoff. Patrick is for many a bridge too far. He’s too socially conservative, too theocratic, too combative with non-white non-Christian demographics.
So the night of the primary, I wondered if there was a Libertarian Party candidate alternative.
On the third and final day of the 2014 NFL draft, seven slots before the final selection, history was made. Michael Sam, a decorated defensive end from the University of Missouri, became the first openly gay player in the history of the league. He had planned to come out after the draft so that his status didn’t affect his position, but rumors started swirling around the time of the combine event, so he announced that he was gay at that time, creating an instant media firestorm that lasted until his eventual draft selection by the St Louis Rams on Saturday.
The media mostly celebrated his openness and draft success, though many sports commentators questioned his actual NFL prospects, both athletically and socially. The reaction among Twitter jockeys, on the other hand was almost exclusively negative. There was plenty of name-calling, of course, but the worst part of it was more subtle and insidious: the “who cares?!?” trolls.
At the end of the abortive 2013 season, the Houston Texans were left in a quarterback wasteland. Matt Schaub had a record breaking streak of interceptions, literally starting and ending the season with picks. Backup QB, TJ Yates, who previously led the team to a playoff victory in 2011 after a Schaub injury, played part of a game after Schaub was finally benched, but accomplished nothing. Finally, undrafted local phenom Case Keenum started several games, the first few with astounding promise, but lost them all. The consensus was that a new quarterback was the #1 need of the team and would be their top draft pick this year. That didn’t happen in the first round, and I’m now convinced it shouldn’t at all.
Gallup has a new poll out Thursday showing Tea Party support among Republicans and voters in general slipping to historic lows, if anything within a four-year span can be considered “historic”.