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Republicans In Name Only, or RINOs, have been in office for decades, but what exactly is a RINO? Simply put, they are controlled opposition. There may be no better case study than Texas State Representative Stephanie Klick. Grassroots conservatives must learn to identify any Klick-type politician in their area.

Some say the term RINO is overused or too broad, but it’s neither. RINOs come in various forms while still fitting a distinct profile.

President Donald Trump doesn’t shy away from attaching the label to US Senator Lindsey Graham, former US secretary of state Colin Powell, and most recently former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as well as current governors Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, Doug Ducey of Arizona, and Brian Kemp of Georgia.

The fact is RINOs hold office in every state and in every level of government, and in the past that’s also included the highest levels of the federal government.

Here the focus will be on the representative for Texas’s 91st State House district, Stephanie Klick. Her example is especially relevant in this midterm election year, when Republicans are widely anticipated to win a “red wave” of seats at the state and federal levels.

Klick fulfills all three of the fundamental flaws that make a Republican a RINO. First, she is disconnected from normal, conservative, Christian workers who are her core constituency. Second, she has no political sense of a friend/enemy distinction. Third, she’s willing to do what’s politically expedient, at the expense of her constituency.

Three key votes reveal this reality.

On January 14, 2021, Klick voted to preserve the ban on citizens from attending committee hearings in person at the state capitol. For Klick, in-person meetings with the public aren’t important, or rather, virtual meetings offer more of a benefit to her. The Zoom or Google Hangout-style arrangement not only excludes those without proper internet connections, but also impacts those who lack the necessary equipment to testify or make public comments to those in power.

During the same session, Klick voted to give Democrats powerful committee chairmanships despite their party being in the minority, a move that led to them killing conservative legislation without a proper vote. Is it naivete, carelessness, or some ulterior motive to blame for this governing approach?

What’s known for certain are the consequences, which Klick doesn’t have to worry herself over.

Thanks to Democrat chairmen, the following conservative bills failed to move out of their committees. 

HB1569, a bill to not prohibit a property owner from displaying or affixing religious items, died in the Texas House Business & Industry Committee. HB446, a bill that relates to “increasing the criminal penalty for the offense of criminal mischief involving the damage or destruction of a public monument” was killed in the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. HB4537, a bill that establishes the Family Educational Relief Program and an insurance premium tax credit for contributions, died in the Committee of House Public Education.

What did Klick expect to happen when she voted to allow Democrats to be chairmen of committees despite the GOP having the majority in the legislature?

To make matters worse, Klick is a committee chairman herself.

As chairman of the Public Health Committee, she killed legislation that would protect children from gender modification drugs and surgeries. It’s not as if she or the legislation lacked any support to pass. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, is trying to end these practices. 

Klick also allowed two bills prohibiting gender modification to sit in committee without bringing them up for a hearing. Those bills, HB68 and HB4014, have remained under her committee since February 2021 and March 2021 respectively.

Klick isn’t against passing all legislation though. She worked to pass a bill mandating taxpayer funded critical race theory studies of Texas hospitals and assessed a need for “health equity.” HB4139 unanimously passed out of her committee, reading in part: “Assume a leadership role in working or contracting with state and federal agencies, universities, private interest groups, communities, foundations, and offices of minority health to develop and implement health initiatives to create health equity by decreasing[e] or eliminating[e] health and health access disparities among racial, multicultural, disadvantaged, ethnic, gender, age, language, and regional populations, including appropriate language services; and (2)AA seek out state and federal agencies, universities, private interest groups, communities, foundations, and offices of minority, gender, age health in order to coordinate and maximize use of existing resources without duplicating existing efforts.”

This is the next stage in anti-white race-baiting, and even that Klick can’t summon the courage to stand up against. She’d rather do what’s politically correct no matter the repercussions her constituents will face.

Despite positive momentum in some primary elections this year, there is no doubt the America First, populist, and nationalist factions will be contending with more RINOs following the November midterm elections.

The Right must seriously consider the bigger threat against them. Is it the Left and the Democrats who are open and honest about their desires and plans to hold and expand power over their political opponents? Or might it be the lukewarm Republicans in leadership who pretend to be conservative all the while capitulating and leading their flock to slaughter?

Gavin Wax

Gavin M. Wax is a New York-based conservative political activist, commentator, columnist, operative, and strategist. He is the Executive Director of the National Constitutional Law Union. He also serves as the 76th President of the New York Young Republican Club and as an Ambassador for both Turning Point USA & Live Action. He is co-authoring an upcoming book entitled 'The Emerging Populist Majority.' You can follow him on Twitter at @GavinWax.