Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Says Democrats Who Fled Will Be Arrested Upon Return

AP Photo/Eric Gay

Yesterday, I wrote on the game of chicken Texas Democrats have chosen to participate in regarding they’re fleeing the state to block the passage of an elections reform bill. Because of the rules of the Texas legislature, the only way to “filibuster” is to deny a quorum, but there’s a catch. They must leave the state, otherwise, they can be forced back into session.

That means these Democrats have painted themselves into a corner. They can’t conceivably stay in Washington D.C. forever, nor does that appear to be the goal. Rather, this is an obvious publicity stunt whereby people filibustering and going to stump for the destruction of the filibuster at the national level. You can try to make sense of that.

As I said in my prior piece, the Democrats who fled have to go back to Texas, and likely sooner than anyone thinks. What happens after they do? Well, if Gov. Greg Abbott is to be believed, they are going to get arrested and brought in to vote.

When I read that, I had to double-check that he wasn’t being misquoted. But no, he is saying that the way Texas law is set up, these representatives that are derelict in their duty will be arrested and made to show up to do their job once they reenter the state.

“Once they step back into the state they will be arrested and brought back to the Capitol and we will be conducting business,” he said.

Republicans argue the contentious bill would provide greater election security, while Democrats charge it would suppress voter turnout of minorities.

The exodus was the second time that Democratic lawmakers have staged a walkout on the voting overhaul, a measure of their fierce opposition to proposals they say will make it harder for young people, people of color and people with disabilities to vote.

Color me extremely skeptical that this will happen. Though, I will note that it does say something that Abbott seems to have no qualms with making the threat. I just think cell phone videos of elected representatives being led away from an airport in handcuffs are probably a bit much for Republicans to agree to, and I believe it takes a vote from the Republican legislators to make it happen. But, if it does, it’d certainly send a message to those refusing to do their jobs that the rules will be followed, including the harsher parts of Texas law.

Regardless, Democrats have already lost. They fled to one of the most distrusted hated places in the country (Washington D.C.) in order to flaunt themselves as hypocrites on the filibuster while denying their constituents the representation they were elected to provide. Meanwhile, they are shooting selfie videos and going on MSNBC to talk about their heroic sacrifice. None of this will play well in Texas.

Eventually, arrests or no arrests, these Democrats are going to have to go back to work. When they do, these bills will pass, and it’ll be long before 2022.