Does anyone recall Brave Sir Robin from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” who, “when danger reared its ugly head … bravely turned his tail and fled”? I certainly do.
Well, Texas Democrats appear to have taken some inspiration.
State Republicans, led by Gov. Greg Abbott, are pushing for an election integrity bill that would prevent some of 2020’s voting shenanigans — mainly in Harris County, which includes the city of Houston — from ever happening again.
According to The Texas Tribune, the bill would ban 24-hour and drive-thru voting, add new identification requirements for voting by mail, increase criminal penalties for election workers who break the rules and increase the authority and autonomy of partisan poll watchers.
As you can see, this law would not disenfranchise anybody — nobody who is allowed to vote would lose that right. All the law would do is restore pre-COVID-19 electoral norms and prioritize election integrity going forward.
However, Texas Democrats are outraged because the law would change many of their tried-and-true strategies. Hey, they may not be ethical, and they were never explicitly approved by the state legislature, but they worked!
But instead of valiantly fighting the legislation on the floor at the Texas Capital, most House (and a few Senate) Democrats have decided to bravely run away to the welcoming arms of Washington to paralyze any legislative action.
Most boarded a cushy private jet (without masks), which took them to Memphis, Tennessee, and on to D.C., where they, with the help of former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, will lobby for passage of the federal For the People Act and the end of the filibuster — which is funny, because filibustering is exactly what Texas Democrats are doing by fleeing the state.
ON BOARD: Texas Democrats on their way to D.C., where they plan to stay for more than three weeks to deny the state House a quorum pic.twitter.com/hTE0mfxveZ
— Jane C. Timm (@janestreet) July 12, 2021
You’ll recall that Democratic members of Congress this year have labeled the filibuster as “racist.” Apparently, there are no such concerns about the Texas legislators’ version — and no self-awareness about the hypocrisy involved.
“We need them to act now because they will keep calling these special sessions to pass voter suppression legislation,’’ state Rep. Chris Turner, the Democratic caucus chairman, exclaimed upon arrival in Washington. “So we need Congress to act now. The clock is ticking, they’ve got to act before the August recess.”
Of course, despite the blatant hypocrisy and dereliction of duty, left-wing media outlets are treating these Texas troublemakers as if they stormed the beach at Normandy.
BREAKING: Democrats are fleeing Texas in a last-ditch effort to block Republicans’ voter suppression bill. https://t.co/SiHnIx3h7R
— VICE News (@VICENews) July 12, 2021
But Texas Republicans are emphasizing that these antics are only delaying the inevitable. While the Democrats are safe in Washington, once they return to Texas, they can, per the state Constitution, be arrested and forcibly returned to the Capitol.
The speaker of the House, currently Republican Dade Phelan, also has the authority to remove the Democrats from their committee assignments, which would be a major blow to the party’s voice and prestige.
In addition, there is no limit to the number of special sessions that Abbott can call. In theory, he could call repeated special sessions between now and the 2022 midterms — which is exactly what he says he will do.
“If these people want to be hanging out wherever they’re hanging out on this taxpayer-paid junket, they’re going to have to be prepared to do it for well over a year,” the governor said Monday. “As soon as they come back in the state of Texas, they will be arrested, they will be cabined inside the Texas Capitol until they get their job done.”
Texas Democrats can’t stay in D.C. forever, especially after Abbott’s defunding of the legislature.
Eventually, the money will dry up, or some other news story or political grandstanding will capture the attention of Democrats nationwide, and they’ll have to come home. When they come home, they’ll have to vote.
Meanwhile, issues vital to Texans, such as bail reform and border security, will remain completely undiscussed.
The consequences for Texas Democrats will come, and when they do, they will hit hard. Conservatives here have a long memory, and no political grandstanding lasts forever.
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