On Friday, in a lengthy thread on Twitter, retired Austin American-Statesman editor John Bridges walked through the political calculus of Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX), who has drawn backlash statewide and around the country for his efforts to prohibit local governments and even businesses from enforcing mask guidelines and other COVID-19 safety measures.
The key takeaway, argued Bridges, is that Abbott knows that his strategy is blowing up in his face — and that while he can't publicly disavow his policies for fear of angering the Republican base, his best option may simply be to sit by and let courts dismantle his anti-mask orders without a fight.
Abbott has staked an unwavering, absolute and extreme stance prohibiting schools, cities, counties and businesses f… https://t.co/UXT5Kn1R82— John Bridges (@John Bridges) 1629467520.0
For nearly three decades, statewide elections in Texas have been decided in Republican primaries, creating a run to… https://t.co/BsN4P8zS7B— John Bridges (@John Bridges) 1629467521.0
He perceives that the biggest threats to his re-election are from the right, where Allen West and Don Huffines are… https://t.co/rpZPfp2NNd— John Bridges (@John Bridges) 1629467522.0
That has backfired. Unvaccinated Texans are flooding the ICU’s — and one can safely assume that many of them would… https://t.co/TzPGy9MkIc— John Bridges (@John Bridges) 1629467523.0
The key shift that made Abbott realize he was going in the wrong direction, argued Bridges, is that rural, Republican-friendly areas are now starting to rebel against him and require masks in schools — not just large, liberal cities like Austin or Dallas.
Texas has been a state of confusion, fear and ugliness this first week of school, as many schools required masks in… https://t.co/NEhmGrZ5Tq— John Bridges (@John Bridges) 1629467524.0
That calculus changed when school officials in more rural, more-GOP-leaning areas also began to do the right thing… https://t.co/8R2EvlrsCN— John Bridges (@John Bridges) 1629467524.0
And the Texas Education Agency revised its guidance to schools to say that it would not enforce Abbott’s orders on… https://t.co/wGAPVNx7ux— John Bridges (@John Bridges) 1629467525.0