Editor’s Note: Robert West sat down with Texas Horn contributor Garrit Blizzard for an interview. West is a Texas native and Navy veteran who currently works as an avionics engineer. He is the author of “The Five Star Plan,” a book about Texas politics The interview took place on June 25, 2021. This is part two of a two-part interview. Part one can be read here.
Garrit: In a few of the Republican circles that I am in, a lot of the members of the circles are avid Abbott supporters. They talk about how he (Abbott) has a high approval rating even amongst non-Republicans. They talk about how well he does with the Hispanic Community. They also cite recent action regarding the border wall, constitutional carry, and the heartbeat bill. So, what is your argument against that?
Robert: Well, first off, the Valley is going to be a hard sell for Governor Abbott. We’ve got illegals pouring across for the last six, seven years. And he is on record year after year after year, my hands are tied, there’s nothing I can do, it’s a federal issue, it’s not a state issue. And all of a sudden, he just decided he’s going to spend a quarter of a billion dollars without legislative approval. And I guess he thinks he can get away with it because he decided to spend a quarter of a billion dollars last year without legislative approval, before the session started, on contact tracing. So I tell people, even if you support the wall, you can’t support how he went about appropriating the money. To me, it doesn’t matter if a thief steals from me, or for me, it’s still a thief. Among Hispanics, you’ve got a very strong desire to stop the flow of illegal immigration. Greg Abbott’s talked about a good game since he ran, but he’s never actually done anything about it not once, not even thinks he had the power to do. As far as permitless carry, which is a more accurate term than constitutional carry, because you’re exempted from this, according to what he signed. You have no constitutional rights, you don’t have a second amendment till you turn 21. That’s not the way I read it. It excludes my child, both of my children, my children are 18 and in the military. I trusted my son with a 30 caliber on top of a Humvee and he can’t buy a pistol in Texas until he turns 21. So no, that’s not going to gain him a lot of support. Trashing the Constitution isn’t gaining him any support among the grassroots. And you’re going to play hell winning an election without people manning the phones and knocking on doors and talking you up. He doesn’t have that among the grassroots. He’s got $40 million. And if he doubled it and added zero to it, he couldn’t bribe me to vote for the man individually. So it doesn’t matter to me how much money he’s got. So it’s not a hard sale. I put it out “Greg Abbott violated the Constitution.” Change my mind and argue with me. I put it out on all kinds of spots, like many places I could find. I get very little pushback. One thing they say is the Disaster Powers Act of 75. And I’m like that’s a law that doesn’t change the power the governor has under the Constitution. It’s null and void under article 1 section 29—any law that violates the Constitution is null and void. You can’t pass a law and add powers to the governor any more than you could take them away with the law. Otherwise, he’d be a king one day and be a pauper the next because the legislature would run everything. That’s not how we set things up.
Garrit: What about Dan Patrick?
Robert: Ah, Lieutenant Dan. Okay, Dan Patrick lied to Texas. Not a month or a year ago, but before we had to vote on permitless carry. Dan Patrick came out and publicly said, I don’t have the votes in the Senate to pass this. And that day, somebody got on the phone to the golden hammer, and said, That’s a lie. Why don’t you guys call up all the senators and ask them how they want to vote on this. And guess what, the same day that Dan Patrick said he didn’t have the votes. Almost every senator in Texas, quite a few of the Democrats, said “Oh, yeah I’ll vote for it. What do you think? That I want to end my career?” So they published, they said, Hey, Dan, Patrick’s a liar. Either that or he’s ignorant of how the senators are willing to vote. Because they have the votes there. He didn’t want it to pass. He’s fought it tooth and nail for years. So yeah, I don’t have a whole lot of respect for the man. You lie to me once in public office, you’re done.
Garrit: Do you think someone will challenge him in the primary?
Robert: Fingers crossed. I got a couple of names in my head that I’d love to see. But I don’t. And if no one challenges him in the primary, then you leave that spot blank and move on to the next thing. Start asking people you trust to run I guess.
Garrit: What about the Attorney General race? This one is setting up to be quite a contentious primary with Ken Paxton, George P Bush, and Eva Guzman. She announced that she would be running a few days ago. Who is the patriot and who is the politician?
Robert: Ah, Bush, and what we have Hmm. I have not talked to them. I don’t know if any of them would support the Five Star Plan. I would be shocked if they did. But to me, it’s almost like three junkies negotiating over a plastic spoon. Who cares is immaterial to me. So I mean, who wins? who loses? What difference does it make? You wind up with the same thing. You wind up with career politicians, more concerned with the next election than with what the people want? If you want an extreme example of that, I was in a meeting at a county event in East Texas, and we brought up ending taxpayer-funded lobbying. That was one of our legislative priorities, overwhelmingly Texans support this 70-80% of Texans across the board, regardless of party. With something that popular, what would be your guess on how many counties in Texas would support it? And how many would oppose it? Turns out, all the counties opposed it. County Commissioners get a huge break on their health insurance if they belong to the TAC. Why would they want that money to come out of their pocket? It’s not a bribe. It’s not an envelope full of cash, but it’s every bit of a bribe. Why else would you oppose what 90% of your Republican voters want? And, I was in the meeting when he brought it up. And I said you don’t have to fly to Washington to find corrupt politicians and don’t listen to the voters and what they want. You don’t have to get your car and drive hours to find corrupt politicians that don’t listen to what the voter wants. You can turn around and shake this man’s hand right now. Because he thinks, for whatever reason, he’s smarter than all of you put together and that’s stupid. Not possible. So the corruption that we see reaches down to the precinct chair level. People who have a full-time day job working for Greg Abbott. But they’re supposed to be representing their voters in their districts. Who do you think their loyalty lies to? We have an SREC member that gets a full-time daytime check from Greg Abbott. More than one precinct chair. It’s a full-time daytime check from Greg Abbott. They can’t possibly be conflicted when they vote. So, with those people, if they look at the constitutional violations, they don’t argue that they happened. And they don’t vote for censure. I’m working on getting them replaced. And so far, we have seated 32 precinct chairs into empty positions. We’ve got another 60 plus signed up to run for precinct chairs to replace people who won’t go along with censure. This is spread across maybe 17 counties right now. Those are the ones we know about. I’m hopeful we have that many more that we have no idea that is out there. And that’s the change. We’re trying to clean up our backyard rather than worry about DC.
Garrit: Tell our readers about The Five Star Plan.
Robert: The Five Star Plan started…when I was growing up, you know, you didn’t have a Republican in Texas. So we changed parties. And as a technician, if I see a light bulb is burned out, sometimes Well, we’ll change light bulbs or we will change brands. Well, 20 years ago, we changed brands. And yeah, it burns, but they’re dead bulbs. And so it’s not the brand, it’s not the Republican or Democrat brand that’s causing a problem. It is the career politicians versus the non-career politicians. So The Five Star Plan breaks it down so that individuals don’t have to wait around for a vote. A lot of people think if they show up on election day in November, that’s being a good citizen. No, that’s abdicating almost all the power you have as a citizen because those choices have already been made for you. You get a choice between Tweedledee and Tweedledum. That’s not much of a choice. So the primaries, those are important. Only about 1.5 million people showed up last time around to participate in the governor’s primary. 1.5 million decided for the other 36 million. So you need to be at the primaries, you need to be registered to vote, you need to vote, everybody needs to take one step up. So what the Five Star Plan does is it tells regular voters and answers this question that I got over and over again, what can I do? What you can do, you can contact your county clerk and ask for the voter’s roles for your precinct. There’s no law against that. It might cost you 10 bucks. And you can start knocking on doors and you can start talking to people. You can find like-minded individuals and get them to vote, get a contact list together and become a party of one for your precinct. You don’t have to be a Democrat or Republican to do that, anybody can do that, it’s legal. You don’t have to have permission to do good. Push your voice. You can volunteer to fill an empty precinct chair, you can run for a precinct chair. You can pass a censure against a sitting governor of your party. If it’s required. Chris Paddie might be looking at censure. Now, can you imagine? Just hypothetical, if all six counties in Chris Paddie’s district got together and passed a group censure? Imagine that for a second. What are his chances of getting re-elected if that were to happen? Pretty low. And nothing is stopping them from doing that. And nothing is stopping you as a citizen there, if you’re 18 years or older, of pushing your county chair, pushing your precinct chair, filling an empty chair, or running in an opposed race against another precinct chair that looks pretty good on a resume. So there’s nothing stopping anybody in Texas from doing what I’m doing—running around influencing things and not waiting for election day to do it. So if we can unseat an incumbent governor, we can turn to the RINO representatives and do the same thing to them. Things can change. We can get regular citizens into those positions. We can ask them hey, here are our legislative priorities 1 through 15. Can you make these House Bills 1 through 15? Can you make this Senate bill 1 through 15? Why was one of our eight legislative priorities number 1399, do they not pay attention to the Republican Party at all? 1398 was if inmates were veterans or not, who cares? Why is that more important than ending gender modification? So that’s The Five Star Plan in a nutshell. We’re going to get 5 million voters to the primaries. 3 million-plus Abbott called nonessential and put out of work. They’re going to love to return the favor. And for your Republican friends that think Greg Abbott needs to be supported because he’s our best shot against Beto. I want to remind everybody Beto came within three points of beating Ted Cruz in Texas. Ted Cruz never put 3 million Texans out of work. And the Democrats are going to flood the state with money if it’s an Abbott against Beto race. That’s what the Democratic Party wants is Beto against Abbott. Why do you think the Democratic Party hasn’t said boo about Abbott’s constitutional violations? There are Democrats upset with the Democratic Party for not defending them. And I’m a Republican upset with the Republican party for not defending me. That is the worst nightmare for career politicians that Americans work together and forget the party lines.
Garrit: I couldn’t agree more. So, how do we defeat the RINOs like Chris Paddie? Chris Paddie, you know, represents Texas House District 9 (my home district). It is probably one of the most conservative districts in the state. Yet, Paddie often defeats his primary opponents. This past election cycle he garnered about 70% of the vote. In 2018, he faced a rather formidable opponent in Garrett Boersma—who was endorsed by Ted Cruz—and still managed to get about 66% of the vote if I am not mistaken. Paddie scored a 33%, I believe, from Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. That is pretty low for a Republican. How do we defeat politicians like Paddie?
Robert: Well, one of the first things to do is, if your solution is in the primaries, there’s no doubt about that. You have to educate people. I tell everybody, if you voted in the Republican primary last year, this is part of that Five Star Plan. You find five people in the next year, you educate those people, you let them know what’s important and what’s not in the primaries. You get them to vote in the primaries. That’s a 500% growth rate. Now, if I tell a political party to increase voter participation by 500%, they’ll laugh at me. They’ll say we don’t have the funds for that. But if I asked you to find five people who didn’t vote in primaries last time around, give you a year. That’s not a big task at all, is it? So yeah, you can look around the dorm room and find five people that didn’t vote at all last year. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m going around almost like a multi-level marketing thing, saying, hey find five people get them to the primaries, if you have to drive them, then drive them and reward them with a pizza afterward. Just get them to the polls and get them to vote in the primaries. There are two reasons why people show up at a primary: they love a candidate or they hate a candidate. There’s not a lot of love for Greg Abbott right now. Like I said, 3 million people are out of work. Those people had spouses, voting-age children, parents, best friends, buddies. That’s a lot of Texans. And I think as far as convincing diehard Republican voters not the vote for RINOs, we have to get over this thing that well “I’m concerned that he’ll lose against the Democrat in the in the general election if we vote for anybody else other than the same old weasel we’ve always had.” That’s a horrible way to speak. And the other day, I saw somebody had a GIF up, you know, a little meme up, and it said, a bad Republican is better than any Democrat and then they crossed out the center part so it read, you know, a bad Republican is a Democrat. And that’s what we see in Austin, we see them placing Democrats in positions of power. The Democrats, percentage-wise, have more committee chairman than they have a percentage of the body. They’re over-represented in Chairman positions. And that’s because the Democrats have picked our speaker, the Republican Speaker of the House, the Democrats have chosen that speaker every session for the last 20 years. They go to them with 40,50,60 votes in hand and say, we’ll give you this block, all you gotta do is find 18 Republicans that are willing to sell out, you become the second most powerful man in Texas politics. And so far every year they found that person, and he’s more than easily found the sellouts. How did we get rid of Joe Straus, we did that with county-level centers, one county at a time, just embarrassed the man out of politics. How did we get rid of Bonnen, which replaced Straus, which was no upgrade? We censured him in the counties. When we got to about 20 counties, he decided not to be a speaker anymore. How can we get rid of Phelan? He was picked by Democrats, they held a secret little conclave before our representatives were even sworn in. And every Republican that attended that meeting, got a call from Colonel Allen West and said don’t do it. It violates the party platform, it violates party rules, you’re going against the Republican Party. And to a person, they flipped them the bird and went down there and did it anyway. Because they get rewarded. And then they come back to the district and say, hey, look how powerful I am. You should vote for me otherwise the Democrats will win. That’s a horrible way to go. And we convince them, that’s a bad position to take by talking to them one on one. So for 100 years, we’ve been told we can’t talk about politics in public and we can’t talk about public issues in the church. Well, yeah, you might as well just put a mask over our face to make us stand six feet apart. Wait a minute, they did that, too. You can’t talk about politics, you can’t talk about religion. If you don’t believe in God, you can’t believe in the Constitution. We have God-given rights. If there’s no such thing as God, there’s no such thing as God-given rights. So I talk about both all the time. And they’ve made, they’ve made politics so nasty, and so dirty and so slimy, that a lot of good people don’t want to get involved. But if good people turn away, That only leaves one group to run things, and that’s where we’re at. So I’ve had some success, I way out of proportion to my intelligence or effort. And I’m very happy with where we’ve done so far. People keep asking me, well, who does your website or who does your editing, or who does your marketing? And I joke around, I’ll go, Oh, I got people for that. Well, my only person is my wife, Carol. That’s it. That’s it. That’s our whole organization. Our budget is whatever our budget is. So I don’t have millions of dollars backing me up. I don’t have staff. I don’t have a team, what we’ve done, we’ve just done because it needed to be done. And people are receptive. And anybody can do what I’m doing. And I want them to.
Garrit: So, what would you say to people who are getting pessimistic about the future of the Republican Party? In Texas, as we saw in 2020, as we saw in 2018, with Beto vs Cruz, a lot of these races, statewide races are getting close. We saw several US House seats with pretty narrow wins for Republicans. The Democrats have made gains with getting a majority in the State House. So, what do you say to those who don’t have a bright outlook over the future of the Republican Party in Texas?
Robert: Okay. Douglas MacArthur said that “all courage is based on optimism.” So, you need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and put on your big boy pants and get back in a fight. If you give up you lose. So just don’t give up. But let’s look at how other people lost. I met my wife when I was in the Navy in Washington state and that used to be a solidly Republican state, and it turned blue. California used to be a solidly Republican state, it turned blue. Colorado used to be a solidly Republican state, it turned blue. You know what all these things have in common is the Republican party started to moderate its views. Wanted to be more like liberals, so they could attract more people so they could get the moderate vote. Well, at some point, you lose your conservative volunteers. Moderates don’t make phone calls. Moderates don’t knock on doors. Moderates don’t give you money. Moderates don’t do anything. Go to your library, and you have a really good library at UT, right? Look for a book about the great accomplishments of moderates through history. If you can find it, it’ll be the shortest read there. Because they don’t do anything. We need to grab our conservative values and we need to message better. I can go to the inner city of any major metropolitan city, I can go to Chicago, a pure democrat city, and I can ask those homeowners and those business owners. Do you believe in the Second Amendment? What do you think they’re gonna say? Believe in it? That’s the only reason I’m alive. Okay. You ask the same people, do you believe in God? They’ll say absolutely. You ask those same people. Do you believe in illegal immigration? The single largest group, demographic in America against not only illegal immigration, but legal immigration, are Black Americans. So if we can communicate our message correctly to these people, we win. They will vote for us. They don’t like the liberal agenda. They don’t like their kids not being educated. They don’t like their kids being told they can’t succeed because somebody is keeping them down. That’s too good of an excuse for their kids to use to not succeed. So we have to communicate better. We cannot abandon our principles. The majority of people do not like abortion on demand. That’s not a third rail in Texas politics. That’s, that’s, that’s bedrock. Second Amendment. When this country started, the US government rented warships. They rented trade ships that had cannons on them from private owners. And when they were done using them, they turned it back over to private owners. Don’t tell me the Second Amendment doesn’t cover cannons. When it covered armed warships. Do you think that the founders didn’t notice that the 10 commandments are carved into the supreme court stone? And now the Supreme Court is saying no, you can’t have 10 commandments hanging in your courtroom. They’re hanging in your courtroom. They’re carved into the side of the building. The founders saw that. They knew that they paid for that. So the founders believed in that. And if you go through the Federalist Papers, you have to have morals, you have to have a religion. Without it. Our government is inadequate. This government only works for people who will chain themselves through their morals. Otherwise, it just won’t work. So we have to reintroduce that into popular culture, we have to communicate that better. So we gotta get the church back involved in politics. We have to get good people back involved in politics, and it will get cleaner and we will get better results. Because I’m asking everybody if you believe in this country and you believe in voting and you’re not giving up on it. Find five people talking about politics, and I don’t care if it is outside of the church or in the church talking politics. Get them to the polls this time around. Early voting isn’t until February this year if they don’t move it due to redistricting. If you can get five people to the polls and vote for the first time in the primaries, Abbott loses. Your RINO representative loses. And once those people realize the power of their vote, they’ll never stop voting. I don’t know if you ever saw how they train elephants overseas. When I was overseas, I saw this. They grab a baby elephant when it’s young. And they put a very uncomfortable collar on a shackle around its leg. And they tied it to a steak. And that baby elephant will scream, it’ll cry, it’ll do everything to get back to mama, right? It’s never been away. And it’ll bleed. It’ll have scars, the rest of its life on that leg. But eventually, it figures out that it doesn’t do any good. They can’t move that steak. It’s a wasted effort, they’re not going to bother. They lose confidence. They lose optimism. And for the rest of their life, they’ll never challenge that steak again. After a day of moving tree trunks around, they’ll take the elephant over and tie it to a little stick in the ground. That elephant won’t challenge that little stick. It’ll starve to death. It’ll die of thirst before it tries to mess with that stick as it remembers its powerlessness. The American people have been convinced that they’re powerless. And that little stick is voting day in November. They think that’s the one thing that they can do. And they forget how much more power they have, why we have a First Amendment you’re allowed to speak. They can be active every day of the year for four years in a row and change how we do things. Because we’re unique. The reason the United States is so far ahead of the rest of the world, the reason you’re sitting in a comfortable room at a higher education institution instead of working in a field. We have peaceful revolutions every couple of years, we can change the entire course of our government, us just the voters. People say we’ve never been more divided as a country, that is a lie. What would it be, 1861 650,000 people dead, it’s been worse. If you want some good news, you go to any convenience store in Texas, you can park your car in a parking lot. And you can watch that front door. And you can see who opens the door for who treats each other with respect. They don’t check who voted for who. They don’t care about color or race or age or ethnicity. Most people are good people. I believe in that. If I did not believe that, I wouldn’t believe in this country. And you wouldn’t be talking to me.
Garrit: Truly an inspiration, unfortunately, we are out of time so I will ask you one final question. Do you have any final words for our readers?
Robert: Find some common ground. Everybody supports good roads. Nobody wants to see anybody hurt, find that common ground, and build on it instead of separating, you know, concentrating on those differences. Because we’re all in this jar together like ants. We shouldn’t tear each other apart. And we won’t as long as people don’t shake that jar. Because we outnumber them. And the people shaking the jar are Republicans and Democrats in higher office, their biggest fear is we will get along. We will work together and we outnumber them by such a large margin. And that’s, that’s, that’s the only thing I have to say.
Garrit: Well, thank you for your time. I greatly appreciate it. Be sure to check out Mr. West’s book and website.
Here ends part two of a two-part interview. Check out part one here.
Garrit Blizzard is the Editor-In-Chief of The Texas Horn. He is a senior studying government at the University of Texas at Austin. Garrit enjoys reading, listening to music, and discussing politics and economics.