Political party platforms can be complicated things, or at least they can cause complications for candidates seeking public office.
Candidates either can choose to ignore some or all of the planks in that platform, or they can embrace them tightly, shouting their virtues at every campaign stop along the way.
Texas Republican candidates want to broaden their appeal with the state’s growing Hispanic population, which has historically voted overwhelmingly Democratic.
One of those candidates is near the top of the ballot this election year, Attorney General Greg Abbott, GOP candidate for governor.
He wants to mine as many Hispanic votes as he can against Democratic opponent state Sen. Wendy Davis.
But a problem may have emerged from the GOP convention the other day in Fort Worth. It’s that pesky platform, the statement of the party’s ideals and principles.
It contains some language that Texas Hispanics might find objectionable.
As the Texas Tribune reports: “Last week, the Republican Party adopted a political platform that no longer endorses a provisional visa program for immigrants and calls for ending in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants and for prohibiting ‘sanctuary cities’ that do not enforce immigration laws.”
Therein lies the sticky wicket through which Abbott must plow.
The party platform is seen by many in the Hispanic community all across the state as anti-immigrant, meaning anti-Hispanic, since most immigrants in Texas come from south of our border. Gov. Rick Perry, who Abbott and Davis want to replace, has endorsed in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants; more specifically, it would be for those who were brought here as children illegally by their parents, but who have grown up as de facto Texans.
Abbott hasn’t said much about immigration as he’s campaigned across Texas. Davis has said plenty and might try to smoke Abbott out on the issue as the two candidates’ campaigns get ramped up later this summer and into the fall.
That plank in the platform could spell trouble — at least with some voters — for the attorney general. “It effectively puts him in an awkward position,” said Mark P. Jones, a political scientist at Rice University.
Awkward? Yes. Impossible? Time will tell.