Nothing has become more clear in recent political cycles than the idea that the Old Parties are afraid. They are afraid that you might not vote for their candidates and, by extension, for their version of whatever America means to them. So, in order to assuage their fears, they have instituted questionable laws designed to reduce the possibility that you might vote for someone who is not one of their candidates.
Filing Fees (aka "The New Poll Tax")
After the 2018 mid-term elections, and believing that alternate party or independent candidates will "steal votes" away from their candidates in 2020, the Texas legislature passed a law that basically requires any alternate party or independent candidate to pay a filing fee/tax if they want to appear on the general election ballot, and they must pay this tax BEFORE they are even nominated by their party. (Some other states do require filing fees for candidates to appear on the general election ballot, but only AFTER that candidate has been nominated by their party.)
This means that if someone was challenging me within my party for the nomination to this seat, they would still be required to pay their fee/tax, but may wind up still not being nominated. Under that scenario, since they did not receive the nomination, they will NOT be running for the seat and their names will NOT appear on the general election ballot even though that's what they paid their money to obtain. AND the funds that they paid to the State of Texas as their filing fee are not returned to them.
"Hypocrites are slandering the sacred halls of truth. Ancient nobles showering their bitterness on youth."
The law also specifically exempts any candidate whose nomination was achieved through a primary election. Since only the Democrats and Republicans nominate their candidates by primary, their candidates don't have to pay the filing fee/tax -- but everyone else does.
Typically, the funds received by non-primary election candidates for ballot access are added to the funds already secured by taxes. These funds are then used to help fund the primary campaigns of the Old Party candidates, but not independent or alternate party candidates. Since third-party and independent candidates do not participate in the primaries, those of us who stand as alternate party or independent candidates now pay twice for the Old Party candidates' nominations; once as a tax payer, and again as a alternate party or independent candidate.
By passing this law, what the Texas legislature are telling Texans is that they would prefer that you, the Texas voter, are ONLY allowed to choose a candidate from either of the Old Parties. It doesn't matter to them if the issues that matter most to you don't really align with the positions of their candidates; all that seems to matter to them is making it as difficult as possible for any other candidate to appear on the general election ballot. This way, their candidates are the only ones shown on the general election ballot, and you are ONLY able to choose one of them. There is an axiom that has been applied to American politics that states, "You can eat at any restaurant you want as long is it's McDonalds or Burger King. You can drink any soda you want as long as it's Coke or Pepsi." But here's the more important question, especially in Texas: "what if I like tacos and cerveza?"
"Cities full of hatred, fear, and lies, withered hearts, and cruel, tormented eyes."
How is this not "pay-to-play"?