It’s endorsement season for Texas’s newspapers, which means voters are getting a lot more unfiltered Wendy Davis than ever before. Last week, Davis called for a ban on late-term abortions – a reversal on her signature issue. However, in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram today, Davis insists “my position on that has not changed.”
Davis’s latest interview with a newspaper editorial board feels like just as much of a grab-bag of positions as her interview with the Dallas Morning News last week, in which she reversed the stance on abortion that led her to filibuster a state bill last summer and turned her into a national progressive darling. In that interview, Davis also stated that she supported the legalization of medical marijuana and was waiting to see the situations in Washington and Colorado play out before taking stance on recreational use. She also reiterated her support of open carry gun laws, a view that shocked state Democrats who were previously happy to support her. The major policy stances that she revealed in that interview are not a part of her official platform and do not appear on her website.
To the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, her hometown newspaper, Davis spoke about a number of similarly arbitrary issues. Davis, for example, said that she would want legalized gambling to be an issue that Texan voters decide through referendum. She reiterated her stance on medical marijuana and even spoke about an issue that is on her campaign platform: education. She would want a plan for “trying to draw more teachers to public schools to create a better gateway into the college arena,” but didn’t say how, promising something more concrete “in the coming weeks.”
Then there is the issue of abortion. Davis became a cultural icon on the left last year for her pink-shoed filibuster of a law aspiring to ban abortions after 20 weeks. Earlier this week – on the same day that the New York Times published an extensive profile of her that called her false life story “politically exquisite” – Davis suggested that she could see herself supporting a bill that banned abortions after 20 weeks. The Times called it “nuance;” most called it a comically desperate flip-flop.
“My position on that has not changed,” she told the Star-Telegram in the interview published today. She elaborated that her concern was that she did not think the state “can appropriately articulate the exceptions in the way that will really be able to capture the decisions and the challenges women face who make a decision post-20 weeks.” This position not only contradicts her latest stance entirely but contradicts the reasoning for which she said she initially objected to the bill she filibustered.
Davis told the Dallas Morning News that her objection to that particular bill was that it did not give sufficient deference to mothers but that she could see herself supporting a bill that did. Here, she tells the Star-Telegram that she does not believe the state could ever draft such a bill because of the limitations of legislation with regard to one-on-one cases.
Davis’s conflicting stances on a number of issues as a gubernatorial candidate have been dismissed by many as a candidate trying to find a blue niche in a red state. Davis herself denies that Texas is a Red state, inexplicably, and has confused and concerned Democrats her entire career as a former lifelong Republican who donated to then-Governor George W. Bush days before entering public life. Her choice to abandon her past stance on abortion has now overshadowed the other major scandal of the Davis campaign: the many falsehoods in her official biography, including the claims that she was a “single teen mom” and paid her way through law school by working, which Davis continues to insist are true.