Sprinkles from the Left
⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.47 minutes to read.
In case you needed a reminder, there was no widespread fraud in Texas last year — or anywhere — that would justify this crackdown on voting. In fact, former President Donald Trump did better in Texas than expected, especially among Latino communities in the state’s south. And yet here we are, as this bill joins a wave of others based almost entirely on Trump’s lies that the election was stolen from him. With that as motivation, no wonder Democrats were united in skipping town.
The problem with walkouts, though, as impressive as they are, is that they’re usually temporary measures to block bills from passing immediately. That should be clear given how short the voting bill’s demise lasted before the measure was resurrected in the special session. Under Texas law, the session can last up to 30 days, meaning Democrats need to stay out of town for at least 26 days now to keep the Legislature from moving forward.
But a second special session focused on redistricting is already planned for this fall — and that’s one that Democrats can’t afford to miss given the decadelong stakes.
Though there has been almost no documented fraud in the state, the Republican position is now that even the hypothetical possibility of fraud is ample justification to make voting difficult or impossible for huge numbers of voters. “Voting is not supposed to be easy,” one Republican testified to the legislature. “That’s what our men died for.”…
What’s most important here is that the Republicans waging this desperate fight to make voting harder know they don’t have to persuade anyone they’re right. If there’s a backlash against their efforts, they can live with it; indeed, part of the point of voter suppression is to insulate them from backlash over anything they do.
They have to convince their own supporters only that they’re right, and that’s a relatively easy task…
In fact, the more controversial the Republican efforts are, the more Democrats will be heard shouting that democracy is being undermined, and the less committed Republican voters will then become to fundamental democratic principles. If the dastardly liberals are the ones saying every American should be able to vote, then Republican voters will conclude that every American being able to vote is a horrifying idea that must be quashed (if they didn’t already believe that).Paul Waldman, Washington Post ($)
Sprinkles from the Right
⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.48 minutes to read.
State legislators fleeing the state is one of the most tiresome and unseemly charades in American politics. It’s for losers, in both the actual and pejorative meaning of the word, and it should offend you whether you agree or disagree with the party that does it.
Legislators only ever flee the state when they know they’re going to lose because they’re in the minority. In other words, they know that the people have rejected them at the ballot box. With 83 Republicans and 67 Democrats in the Texas House, the Democrats know they are going to lose the vote on the pending election bill…
Aside from the strategic considerations, there’s the more fundamental point: Legislators are representatives of the people. The people elect them to serve terms of a fixed length. They elect them knowing full well they won’t always be in the majority. That’s life. You win some, you lose some. You still have to show up to work.
Legislators who flee their states are failing to fulfill the duty the voters entrusted to them. Whether you agree with the policy position or not, it’s not an acceptable tactic for legislators to use. If you don’t want to show up for work, that’s fine: Resign. Step aside and allow a special election for voters to choose someone else to represent them.
Like so many failed enterprises before them, Democrats in the Texas Legislature are heading to Washington in search of a bailout…
For nearly three decades, in election after election, Texas Democrats haven’t been able to stop Republicans at the ballot box. So now, they’re asking the doyens of dysfunction in DC to do it for them.
By fleeing, Democrats lose any high ground. Rhetorically turning two weeks of early voting and reasonably flexible mail-ballot rules into Jim Crow Redux strikes all but the most intense partisans as overkill.
And shutting down the Legislature — again — means Democrats own at least some of the fallout. Abbott has vetoed the funding for the legislative branch as a leverage play. If lawmakers don’t stick around and vote to restore it, thousands of staffers will be furloughed on Sept. 1, when the new state budget year begins.
Some may see Abbott’s hardball as unfair, but that’s politics. The solution for Democrats is to win more elections.
Maybe then, they’d finally stick around and do their jobs.