Texans grudgingly come around to Trump despite past feuds

SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson talks about support for Trump in Texas.

By Rick Jervis

AUSTIN — Donald Trump has messed with Texas, starting clashes with high-profile Lone Star State figures throughout the 2016 campaign, most notably the Bush family and Sen. Ted Cruz.

Former presidents George W. Bush (also a former Texas governor) and George H.W. Bush boycotted last month's GOP convention, as did native Texan Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who was the target of some of Trump's sharpest jabs during the Republican primary campaign.

Meanwhile, Cruz, runner-up in the primary, caused an uproar by refusing to directly support the candidate during his convention speech.

None of that bad blood, however, seemed to slow the more than 9,000 Trump supporters who filled a rodeo arena here Tuesday for a Trump rally. . . 

The Bushes are less popular here today than they were a decade ago, said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Cruz gained the backing of a lot of Texas Republicans by calling out Trump's “New York values” and suggesting during the primaries he wasn’t conservative enough.

But the real issue fueling Republicans here are not Bush or Cruz but the specter of Trump’s Democratic opponent, Jillson said. “[Trump] is more conservative than Hillary and that’s all they really care about,” he said.

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