A sizable sector of the GOP primary electorate seems concerned Texas is getting messed with. In its May national poll of Republicans, Public Policy Polling asked participants this: “Do you think that the government is trying to take over Texas or not?” Only 40 percent of respondents said no. Thirty-two percent answered affirmatively, indicating that they’re concerned the government is going after the Lone Star State. The remaining 28 percent said they were unsure.
Though the poll didn’t give participants any backstory on the rumored Texas invasion, conspiracy-theorizing websites like Alex Jones’ InfoWars have been disbursing stories about a Special Operations training exercise in the Southwest called Jade Helm 15. InfoWars has suggested that this could be the beginning of the implementation of martial law or of a federal war on the Tea Party, which would be very big news indeed.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott gave credence to the fear-mongering by announcing last month that he would have the state’s National Guard troops keep an eye on the exercises “to ensure that Texas communities remain safe.” Republican senators and presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Rand Paul also did some chin-stroking about Jade Helm, indicating that they too thought the exercises could—gulp—be part of an effort to make Texas join the United States. But former Texas Gov. Rick Perry emerged as a voice of reason, flatly denouncing any efforts to impugn the military’s integrity. “The civilian leadership, you can always question that, but not the men and women in uniform,” he said, according to The Dallas Morning News.