Republicans Really Don’t Like It When Democrats Put Up A Fight
Defenders of the Senate filibuster are either Republicans who enjoy blocking progressive legislation or Democrats who still believe in bipartisanship (i.e. “chumps"). People are free to debate the merits of the filibuster but it's obvious whatever principles Republican supporters hide behind are just sophistry. We know this because of how they've responded to Texas Democrats leaving the state to block the state GOP's voter suppression bill.
Republicans have accused Texas Democrats of abandoning their duties, when in reality the Democrats are risking actual jail time to defend their constituents' right to vote. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has vowed to arrest the Democrats who left the state.
"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," Abbott said.
There's no actual “job" for Democrats to do other than serve as a passive witnesses while Republicans pass the bill on a party-line vote. Abbott sounds like the twisted heavy in an action movie who wants to make Democrats watch as Republicans kill democracy in front of them.
However, Democrats leaving denies the Republican-led legislature a quorum, so they can't conduct business. Democrats are just exploiting the same parliamentary loopholes as the Senate filibuster, which Republicans and the chumps (my least favorite music group) insist will preserve democracy somehow. This puts the brakes on, for now, the whole horror show of culture war crap that Abbott considers legislative priorities, such as banning transgender kids from playing sports and ending the scourge of critical race theory.
During an appearance on Laura Ingraham's white power hour, Abbott accused Democrats of “running from a fight," because Republicans only consider a fight fair if Democrats just stand there and get pummeled like when Bluto would use Popeye as a punching bag. God forbid Democrats use every available weapon against these assholes. That's just un-American.
This is at least a walking filibuster where Democrats have to put in more effort than just declaring
bankruptcy a filibuster like Senate Republicans every other day. The 1/6 commission “failed" with a majority vote. How am that democracy?
The Democrats aren't just delaying the inevitable with a flashy stunt. Their bold move forces debate on the bill Republicans would've happily passed in darkness. It also embarrasses the chumps who mistake self-serving op-eds for legislative action worth a damn.
Ironic is Ted Cruz complaining about anyone fleeing the state of Texas https://t.co/CIxfcAUOOD— David Gardner (@David Gardner)1626185793.0
There's no real defense for a bill that's clearly designed to suppress the vote, but Texas Senator Ted Cruz has no problem defending the indefensible. It's how he convinced Heidi to marry him. Last night on Fox News, Cruz said:
It's ironic. As they were getting on their private jet to fly to Washington DC, they almost surely had to show identification to get on that jet.
How ironic indeed! Democrats flew to Washington DC, because driving would've taken longer. Cruz is so predictably disingenuous. This is what happens when you let your blood sugar levels rise to 90 percent smugness. Republicans conveniently focus on the most superficially reasonable part of these voter suppression laws — voter ID. After all, as Cruz notes, people need ID to board airplanes, which is a constitutional right ... no, wait, it isn't. It's like he's emceeing False Equivalency Theatre. The Texas voter suppression bill would ban drive-through and 24-hour voting, drastically restrict access to absentee ballots, and increase poll watching requirements. Republicans cry “NAZI!" when airlines mandate mask wearing during flights in the middle of a global pandemic.
A better comparison here is to gun ownership, which is a constitutional right that Cruz believes should have as few barriers as possible. He's praised permitless carry, for instance, which would no longer require Texas residents to obtain a license to carry handguns if they're not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a gun. The For the People Act, which Republicans uniformly oppose, would for a start offer automatic voter registration, so eligible citizens wouldn't have to jump through hoops to exercise their right to vote.
Texas Rep. Senfronia Thompson declared today that she didn't come to Washington "to take a vacation," but to make sure "that my constituents' rights will not be stripped from them."
She added that Republicans in the Texas Legislature "may have changed the messiah from Jesus to Trump, but I haven't."
Texas Republicans, just like their counterparts in several other states, are passing voter suppression bills with a simple majority. If a 60-vote threshold was required, even the most conservative states wouldn't have enough votes. This includes Texas, which would (proportionately) need 90 out of 150 votes. They have just 83. Thompson and her Democratic colleagues are only asking for a level playing field. If Republicans have no qualms restricting voting rights on a party-line, majority vote, then Senate Democrats shouldn't find it beneath them to do the same.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."