In a surprising turn of events, Texas could be taking its cues from California in the near future, and electing an actor as its governor.
According to a recent report by The Daily Wire, Texas native and big-screen sensation Matthew McConaughey is looking into his odds of winning a bid for the governorship in the Lone Star State, and the odds are looking good, with an exploratory committee showing him with a potentially strong lead over current Gov. Gregg Abbott.
“I’m a little more surprised that people aren’t taking him more seriously, honestly,” said Austin-based GOP strategist Brendan Steinhauser. “Celebrity in this country counts for a lot … it’s not like some C-list actor no one likes. He has an appeal.”
McConaughey, who hails from the little East Texas Texas hamlet of Kilgore and now lives much closer to the state’s capital, has a folksy charm that is likely to endear himself to those coveted 20 percent between the left and the right, but does he span the field well enough to be elected?
That was the heart of the question long-time GOP strategist Karl Rove asked when talking about McConaughey’s potential candidacy:
“The question is: Would he run as a Republican? A Democrat? Independent? And where is he on the political scale? He says he has a funny phrase about being a hardcore centrist, but what party would he run under?” Rove said, according to The Daily Wire.
For the Texans who have grown to know and love the tall Texan, the question is more likely; will he be Schwarzenegger or will he be Reagan?
The actor has been relatively open in recent years about his opinions on many things but has remained cryptic about his thoughts on big political issues. That’s something that Howard Stern recently warned him about, saying that, “Once you run for office, you actually have to give an opinion.”
Something McConoughey did share an opinion on was masking. The Dallas Buyers Club star was frustrated over current Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott’s decision to lift the Texas mask mandate:
“My reaction to that is, I was a little dumbfounded by the decision,” he told CBS. “I understand ‘go back to work.’ What I did not understand was ‘pull the mask mandate.’”
“It’s not the mask we’re afraid of, c’mon. It’s the word ‘mandate.’ Let’s not let the word ‘mandate’ get in the way of practical use of this little tool called a mask. It’s just a small inconvenience today for more freedom tomorrow,” McConaughey continued.
That opinion could be a bad omen for conservatives who hoped to back the actor with the East Texas drawl and megawatt smile. In fact, it is as yet unknown what party affiliation McConoughey would have if he decided to run for office.
Though it’s unlikely that the Texan is far-leftist, he also might not be “right” enough to run as a Republican, but he risks making both sides mad if he runs as an Independent. While it’s the fondest hope of many to break up the two-party system it seems doubtful that a Texas gubernatorial race is the place to get that ball rolling.
Long-time Democratic strategist Paul Begala weighed in on the possibility of a third party run saying that it’s likely what put former Texas Gov. Rick Perry into office in 2006, though in Perry’s case it was because his opponents were Independents, and he wasn’t:
“The problem with running as an independent is we have seen this movie before,” said Begala. “Texas doesn’t need a third party, Matthew! We need a second party.”
Aside from the trappings of politics, the point that must not be overlooked that politics are viewed by many in the great state (and former nation) of Texas as a means to liberty. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to carry a piece on their hip into any establishment in the state, are all freedoms that Texans have proved they want to maintain.
McConoughey has the pedigree, the southern granny of a mother, and the clearly out of his league wife to make a great politician. The question Texans will have to ask themselves, should they be staring at his name on a ballot, is; has Hollywood tainted him?