A cunning linguist might call this move by Texas democrats a “tactical retreat” rather than the last-ditch gambit that it is. In a political paradigm, this divided, even politicians refusing to go to work is being framed as being heroic.
59 of the 67 state democrats are set to leave the state of Texas during the upcoming congressional session – a move that is supposed to prevent the majority republican legislative body from meeting quorum. Two-thirds of the House must be present in order for the Texas House to conduct legislative business. Why go to these lengths? What so scary about the proposed legislation they are running from? Sealing exploits in the election system.
The bill set to go forward in the Texas House of Representatives during a special session of Congress would place restrictions on early voting, prevent anyone not related or close to a person voting by mail to deliver their ballot, and raise the penalties relating to election impropriety to the level of a felony charge (no, it isn’t already for some reason). The substance of the bill mirrors, in many respects, mirrors the measures adopted by Georgia which drew much controversy. The misgivings surrounding measures such as voter ID requirements and preventing voting methods lacking a chain of custody (i.e. mail-in-ballots) is part of a long-standing, ongoing effort to convince the public that minorities are somehow less capable of attaining the same amount of paperwork needed to drive or apply for a job in order to decide the people running their government.
It makes about as much sense as it sounds.
However, this little PR exodus may not go as smoothly as advertised; lawmakers that abstain from congressional sessions without official leaves of absence are subject to arrest by police and forcibly returned to the chamber to resume the session which the Governor, Greg Abbott, has called into order. A hypothetical scenario that, while it would assure the passage of the new voting laws, might be exactly what the Texas democrats are after: Politicians being hauled in by police could be very easily framed and divorced of its context for a barrage of political ads ahead of next year’s midterm elections.