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Is Donald Trump The Death Of The Republican Party? Dallas Lawmaker Says Yes And No

Joseph Sohm

When Ted Cruz dropped out of the presidential race this week, and essentially locked Donald Trump as his party’s nominee, State Representative Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) responded. His searing column in the Texas Tribune carried the headline “Donald Trump is the death of the Republican Party.”

Interview Highlights: Jason Villalba…

…On why he wrote the essay:

“When I was watching the returns from Indiana and realizing that Donald Trump was going to be the Republican nominee, it hit me in the stomach like a punch. I wanted to make sure when I wrote something about how I felt, people would feel the palpable sense of concern and frustration I had and I thought the best way to do that was with some strong, blistering language.”

…On why he won’t vote for a Democrat:

“As bad as Trump is, I think on the spectrum of what is good and not good for America, he is above Hillary Clinton. I can’t in good conscience vote for Hillary and I can’t in good conscience today vote for Donald Trump. My hope is that a credible third-party conservative will come out of the woodwork and [I can] vote for the third party. I think that’s the only hope people like me have at this point.”

Credit Texas State House of Representatives
Jason Villalba represents the 114th district, which includes parts of Dallas County.

…On what happens to the Republican Party:

“The Republican Party after the Trump era ends will be different, unquestionably, but I don’t think we’re looking at the final death knell and the party breaks up. I don’t think that’s where we’re headed. What I meant by that language was the party as I understood it is different than what I thought it was, it’s not the same party I grew up with. If this person is the standard-bearer, it’s not the party that represents me.”  

…On what’s next for him as a Republican:

“I continue to remain a Republican and do the things I have to do and I think the rest of the party does the same thing. When we watch what happens at the national level if this man is the president, I know we’ll have to accept that office because we respect our institutions and the office of the president, but I’m fearful of what leadership under Trump will look like. It could be very frightening for us. Domestic policy and foreign policy is going to be much different than what you’ve seen under past Republican and Democratic presidents.”

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.
Rick Holter was KERA's vice president of news. He oversaw news coverage on all of KERA's platforms – radio, digital and television. Under his leadership, KERA News earned more than 200 local, regional and national awards, including the station's first two national Edward R. Murrow Awards. He and the KERA News staff were also part of NPR's Ebola-coverage team that won a George Foster Peabody Award, broadcasting's highest honor.