Rick Perry uses indictment for political gain

Texas politics has become a joke to the rest of America. From issues concerning gun rights to the recent indictment of Rick Perry, Texas leaves the door wide open for Jon Stewart and Jimmy Fallon to humorously criticize our state.  While Congress is in recess and President Obama is on vacation, Americans have turned to Texas once again for their political amusement.

Perry is no stranger to the political spotlight. After he failed in his 2012 presidential run, he became even more notorious for his right wing policies. Recently his support for gay reparative therapy or “praying the gay away” has been strongly opposed by liberals, and his pending trial has him in the news again.

All the news outlets are talking about the indictment of Perry, but what does this really mean for Texas? When Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg was arrested for drunk driving, Governor Perry called for her to resign. When Lehmberg refused, Perry cut the funding for the state Public Integrity Unit which she oversaw. Here is where it gets tricky. The unit, lead by a Democrat, was investigating whether a foundation gave an abundance of grant money to Perry supporters. On Aug. 12 a grand jury indicted Perry who is now awaiting trial for two felony charges.

Perry is not taking the indictment too hard. In fact, he is using it as publicity to kick-start his potential 2016 presidential candidacy. His PAC is selling t-shirts with his mug shot, and Republicans nationwide are calling the indictment purely political and in Perry’s words ‘a farce.’ Democrats have also used the indictment for political gain. With the gubernatorial race approaching in November and Gregg Abbott still leading Wendy Davis by more than 12 points, the democrats need something to keep them alive. The question is, will this indictment do it? If Perry was running for reelection things could be different. However, Perry is leaving office no matter what at the end of this term. As much as liberals want Perry gone and Davis in office, this indictment is not enough to change Texas politics. This indictment is the kind of thing that will fire up the republican base. As hard as democrats try to spin the story, republicans will see Perry as a democratic hero.

The truth is, there are a lot of other things to be mad at Perry about, from his policies involving immigration to Medicaid to social issues.  Whether this indictment will hurt Perry’s 2016 chance is up in the air right now. If his lawyers are not able to have the indictment dismissed, a trail could be messy and bring up things Perry will not want to deal with during a presidential campaign. The coming weeks will be crucial to Perry’s political future.