Who’d have thought — I wouldn’t have, speaking as a seventh-generation Texan — that the Texas legislature would be held up nationally for a good moral beating? Wham! Wham! Ow! Ow!
Yet here we are. Our lawmakers, according to the standard media narrative, have been working to narrow the voting rights of the poor and the non-white. But then legislative Democrats saved us from this awful fate. On the last day of the session, as nasty white Republicans sought to pass a piece of mendacity disguised as voting reform, House Democrats decamped from the Capitol, denying the Republicans their quorum. Take that, you neo-Confederate Trump-lovers!
Or so goes the narrative, which is bosh mingled with rubbish.
Pretty clearly President Biden hadn’t worked his way through the rubbish pile. A couple of days after the Democratic flight, he declared, concerning the franchise: ‘This sacred right is under assault…with an intensity and aggressiveness we have not seen in a long, long time. It is simply un-American.’
This is heavy stuff. Un-American, eh? The bill the Democrats killed through their flight was anything but a measure meant to levy penalties on voters who lived in the wrong part of town or failed, on examination, to recite the Bill of Rights upside down and backwards. Among other things, the bill abolished drive-through voting and the unsolicited mailing of absentee voting applications. It provided an early-voting period longer than that of Mr Biden’s home state of Delaware.
In no way did the bill contemplate shrinking the voter pool. Texas turnout has increased greatly in recent years: due not least to the growing conversion of Hispanic voters in south Texas to economic growth and cultural conservatism. The last thing Republicans should be expected to do is dry up pools and ponds that could nourish their party.
Democrats, with their devotion to racial politics and the demagoguery that goes with the species, respond by playing the Trump card (look at those Republicans, acquiescing in the fallen chieftain’s charge that Biden stole the presidential election!) Then: who’s on the side of civil rights? Why, us Democrats! Over and over they repeat it.
A third issue they twirl about as they excoriate the Texas legislature and its Jim Crow freaks — the necessity, as Democrats present it, of nationalizing in considerable degree our voting processes, through enactment of the For the People Act, aka HR-1, already passed by the House; setting what a raft of political scientists, in a statement this week, chillingly call ‘a comprehensive set of national standards’.
Unless we act, insist these scholars, some states will fail to ‘meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections’ — a declaration with the odor of political hooey. No doubt Texas will try again, in a special legislative session to do the necessary job the Democrats kept from getting done last month. Once more unto the breach…