The Wall Street Journal recently featured an opinion piece by Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson in which he detailed his transition from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. The headline stated, “America’s Cities Need Republicans, and I’m Becoming One.” Johnson emphasized the importance of fiscal responsibility and maintaining law and order in our cities. Although the mayoral position is officially nonpartisan, it’s noteworthy that he had a nine-year tenure in the Texas Legislature as a centrist Democrat.
Certain detractors argue that he is politicizing a nonpartisan role by introducing labels and affiliations that are deemed unnecessary. Meanwhile, additional critics contend that his actions are creating a rift between him and his constituents, particularly considering that a majority of his county voted in favor of President Biden in the latest presidential election.
Eric Johnson, an individual of African descent, has consistently expressed strong support for law enforcement, condemning the calls to reduce police funding following the George Floyd protests that affected both his state and the nation. He extended invitations to police officers who were leaving cities like Austin, Texas, and others that were reducing their budgets, welcoming them to Dallas where he expressed gratitude for their service and pledged to increase, rather than decrease, the budget for policing efforts.
Following his election in 2019, Mayor Johnson dedicated substantial efforts to reducing crime rates in Dallas. It’s worth noting that he ran unopposed in his recent re-election, a significant occurrence for a city as large as Dallas. He attributes his accomplishments to a robust police leadership, a transparent budgetary approach, and active engagement of the community in his initiatives aimed at crime reduction.
Embracing his self-identified affiliation has elevated Johnson’s status as one of the most notable African American Republicans in the nation. This has led some to speculate about his potential political ambitions extending beyond the boundaries of Dallas or Texas. Cal Jillson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University, expresses a certain lament, suggesting that the prevailing political dynamics dictate a need to be a Democrat to secure victory in Dallas and a Republican to succeed in Texas—a dilemma that Johnson seems to grasp.