Governor Greg Abbott of Texas had the audacity of putting the blame for the aftermath of a historic snowstorm in his state on renewable energy during an appearance on Fox News. More specifically, Governor Abbott placed the blame for power outages squarely on the Green New Deal, something which has been touted by Democrats but is not yet law. Texas is supposed to be the energy capital of North America, so the images emanating from the Lone Star State, coupled with stories of people literally freezing to death are deeply disturbing and embarrassing. There are many flaws in the governor’s logic but chief among them is the fact that the GOP has dominated Texas politics since 1994. Texas’ governor has been Republican for the last 25 years, the state senate has been Republican for the last 23 years and the Texas House has been Republican for the last 17 years. No Democrats, no socialists, no liberals introduced renewable green energy to Texas, it was the GOP itself. Furthermore, wind turbines only comprise 10% of the grid energy in Texas as opposed to 90% of the grid being powered by natural gas. With the situation being so dire, not even Senator Ted Cruz defended Governor Abbott, saying in a tweet, “I got no defense.”
There’s no question that voters in Texas, a state that has been trending more blue in recent years, with Senator Cruz himself squeaking out a victory against former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, are likely to remember the massive state-wide failure at the polls. Something that is not widely known outside of the state is that in Texas, the electrical grid has been deregulated and removed from broader power networks, therefore siphoning money to a very small group of individuals. With the power lines off other networks, the owners of the smaller, more localized and lucrative grids were disincentivized to spend extra capital and winterize their equipment, helping to lead to the disastrous images, videos, and stories that are coming out of Texas throughout the week. Governor Andrew Cuomo is getting absolutely fair scrutiny for completely concealing the amount of nursing home deaths in his state, and Governor Abbott must also face the same sort of scrutiny and judgement by the voters next year. Texas deserves better from its leaders, and this is not a left or a right issue, it’s about providing basic services to citizens. It would likely surprise no one if Beto O’Rourke throws his hat in the ring, and should he do so, he might be the man to beat.