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Why is Texas always a mere Fort Sumter away from seceding?

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But if the secessionist numbers are on the whole paltry, the emotions are real and widespread. Indeed, if national Republicans were chastened by the national election, conservatives in Texas seemed to double down on rebelliousness. If the tea party flagged nationally, not so in Texas, where tea party Republicans gained ground in the Senate, the legislature turned even more Republican, and GOP Gov. Rick Perry (who once suggested secession might not be the worst idea) dug in his heels for more battles with Washington, against which the state has already filed 24 lawsuits on issues ranging from environmental laws to voting rights.

Moreover, Texas is leading the online secession movement on the White House website – and not just because there are lots of Texans. Perhaps the greatest reason is that the fundamentals of nationhood – materially, legally and philosophically – are more evident in Texas, at least arguably, than any other state. Add to that its political counterweight status to Washington, it is, always has been, and likely always will be, the one state to most likely sign divorce papers.

Having once been a nation, Texas could conceivably go at it again. Successful secession would mean Texas would instantly become the 40th largest country on the globe, with a wealth of oil and other natural resources. No longer would Austin have to bow by executive orders and bureaucratic fiats from Washington. According to this vision, lovers of individual freedom and enterprise would flock to Texas, bolstering a wave of migration and investment that has allowed the state to weather the nation’s economic storm better than most.

“This ‘nation,’ as some would call it, is not only a highly functional, world-class economy, engaging in robust commerce with other nations and neighboring states, it actually has a budget, a balanced one at that,” writes Chuck Poole, a columnist with the Arlington, Tex., Voice. “… [B]ut why should the Great Republic of Texas continue to be at the losing end of the welfare worm-hole that wends its way to New York and other so-called blue states by way of the Washington vortex?”

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