Instead of turning politically-blue as many demographers and Democrats had predicted, Texas is turning darker red thanks to feckless Democrats and a small, but very active, right wing minority. In the new issue of Rolling Stone, Mark Binelli reports that the Lone Star State’s new, more extreme tea party won’t even elect a gun rights hero like Jerry Patterson as long as talk radio nut Dan Patrick tells them what they want to hear.

The state, meanwhile, faces significant issues not involving border fences and the right to bring your gun to the Dairy Queen. Global warming has brought drought conditions to a critical juncture, to the point where Wichita Falls, where I met Grisham, might become one of the first cities in the United States to recycle wastewater as drinking water. Last November, Texas voters approved Proposition 6, which allowed $2 billion from the state’s rainy-day fund to be used for such drought-easing projects. Yet, Patterson tells me, “The Republican primary voters – the Tea Party – were unanimously, vehemently opposed to it.”

“Because it involved tax money?” I ask.

“Because they don’t understand what the hell they were talking about,” Patterson shoots back. “They were gullible. I think the Tea Party was a great thing. But it’s at a crossroads now. The problem with the Tea Party right now is, they can be had very easily.”

Conservative politics have degenerated into a circle of scam where the only real risk is that a candidate’s denunciations and condemnations won’t be loud or angry enough to satisfy the Obama-deranged fringe that owns Republican Party primaries. Even if social change and shifting demography do turn Texas blue one day, it won’t be soon enough to fix all the damage that tea parties will do in their willful ignorance.

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