First it was Donald Trump saying “Texit” would never happen because “Texas loves me.” Now it’s Gov. Greg Abbott saying a Texas secession won’t happen because “what Texans believe in is that we need the United States to be more like Texas.”
“Candidly, Sean, what I think is that what Texans believe in is that we need the United States to be more like Texas,” Abbott said. “In fact I believe America longs to be the way the Texas is.”
Abbott added that nations and states “asserting sovereignty” is essential, saying the idea of a Texit isn’t just in the U.S. but across the globe.
“And there’s a reason for it,” he said. “Sovereignty is a key component of a nation and we’ve seen the United States, we’ve seen Great Britain, we’ve seen countries in Europe, sacrifice their sovereignty and we’ve seen the way their citizens have suffered because of it.”
Not only did the United Kingdom make history this week as the first nation to exit the European Union — but as you might have seen by now, “Brexit” has also inspired the rise of “Texit.”
The U.K.’s decision on Thursday has led some Texans to start campaigning for a Texas secession from the United States, causing many on social media to weigh in. But the idea of a “Texit” has garnered so much attention that its even reached the 2016 presidential candidates, specifically Donald Trump.
On Saturday morning, during a press conference addressing England’s vote in Aberdeen, Scotland, Trump praised the nation for its decision. When a reporter asked him about Texas’ talk of secession, Trump responded by saying “Texas will never do that because Texas loves me.”
In March, former Republican presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz beat out Trump in Texas with 44 percent of the vote to Trump’s 27 percent. But with Cruz out of the running, Trump visited Texas earlier this month to hold three rallies in Dallas, San Antonio and Houston.
Some Texans have long awaited their chance to secede from the U.S. in a “Texit” — you know you’ve seen those bumper stickers. So will the United Kingdom’s decision Thursday on whether to stay a member of the European Union have any effect on our state’s fate?
And a few Texas groups — like the Texas Nationalist Movement, the Republic of Texas and some Republicans — feel similar sentiments toward the U.S. government. Of the 27 million people that make up Texas, Daniel Miller of the TNM told the Guardian that 260,000 people support the idea of Texas secession. He said the arguments for Brexit and Texit are fundamentally identical.
“You could take ‘Britain’ out and replace it with ‘Texas,’” he said. “You could take ‘EU’ out and replace it with ‘US’. You could take ‘Brussels’ out and replace it with ‘Washington DC’. You could give you guys a nice Texas drawl and no one would know any different. So much of it is exactly the same.”
In this state where people still celebrate its independence from Mexico in 1836, those of TNM have called for Texas to decide whether to remain a part of the U.S. via a referendum. Just a few years ago, after President Obama was re-elected, the White House had to respond to a Texit petition that received more than 125,000 votes — of course, the answer was no.
Texas Standard spoke with Tom Dart, the journalist who interviewed Miller for the Guardian. Dart, a former British reporter and recent Texan, said there are important differences between Texas’ status in the U.S. and Britain’s status in the EU.
“Even if this is a relatively small part of Texas’ population, you could argue they’ve been making increasing amounts of noise in recent years,” Dart said. “They’ve been getting more organized, they’ve been having a bit more traction in the Republican Party of Texas – certainly among the Tea Party wing.”
He said Texas secession isn’t widely supported, though Texas rhetoric has been anti-federal government as of late. Texas Standard notes that “could be a consequence of Gov. Greg Abbott’s statement that he’s sued the federal government 40 times.”
The Dallas Morning News also said there is little parallel between Texit and Brexit. The article brings up the idea that Brexit could actually affect trade with the U.S., “which means Texas has a dog in this hunt.” The U.K. is one of the top countries receiving Texas exports but a “leave” vote might affect U.S. negotiations for a free-trade deal in Europe.