In an incredibly narrow win for sanity, a GOP lawmaker who had demanded Muslims go to her office to pledge allegiance to the United States and renounce terrorism lost her primary by 118 votes. Texas State House member Molly White, is already requesting a recount of the results. She announced on her Facebook page that she would request a recount for her district, and was immediately confronted with comments rejoicing that she was gone and asking her to get out of dodge as soon as possible.
Molly White made all the wrong kind of headlines a while back when she demanded Muslims visit her office to pledge allegiance to the United States in front of an Israeli flag she left on her desk while she was out of town (she apparently completely missed the irony there). White timed the outburst during Texas Muslim Capitol Day, an informal holiday where Mulsim leaders from all over Texas travel to the state capitol to lobby their representatives on topics ranging from police wearing body cameras to the DREAM Act.
The outburst inspired the routine tea party sideshow during the event, where participants waved informative signs like “Radical Islam is the new Nazi” (no word on whether that’s supposed to be some kind of Orange is the New Black comparison):
— Alexa Ura (@alexazura) January 29, 2015
If the incident with the Muslim community wasn’t bad enough, White was later given an F from pro-LGBT group Equality Texas and proudly celebrated that fact with her constituents. Equality Texas named White the worst member of the Texas State House on LGBT equality issues. For comparison, Texas Republican Jonathan Strickland received an “F-” from the group, but wasn’t even in Equality’s top ten list of most anti-LGBT representatives.
White had also refused to meet a gay rights activist last spring, and this was easy for her to do because Texas law does not require members of its House of Representatives to meet with constituents. All of the gay activists that had made the trip to White’s office were told to leave and immediately thrown out by White’s staff.
In some respects White was the exception, not the rule: many anti-gay candidates including one that has gained immediate notoriety for believing the president to be a prostitute advanced in their primaries on Super Tuesday. But White’s primary was personal and weird, even by Texas standards. She wrote in a mailer sent out to her constituents that read, “Before I was born again by His grace, I sacrificed two children at the altar of a death cult called the abortion industry.”
Despite that statement, she couldn’t even win the support of a Texas anti-abortion group because a proposed abortion ban of hers was so poorly written it would have outed women who’d been sold into sex slavery, a claim that itself may or may not actually be valid. Texas was fortunate that White’s crazy was revealed in the competitive primary and she lost because of it.
The other possible reason for her loss was the national attention her Islamaphobic remarks garnered and the embarrassment it caused her constituents, especially judging by comments on her Facebook page after she announced she was seeking a recount. There is an important lesson here: even where one would think it doesn’t matter, in one of the reddest districts in Texas and the country, one can go too far. But only if, when they do, someone is standing at the ready to document it.
Featured image via Texas House of Representatives