A few days ago, the fugitive Texas Democrats that fled their state to stop the passage of an election integrity bill were declaring victory. Though Gov. Greg Abbott had called a second special session, an activist judge in Austin declared that the Texas Constitution didn’t matter, creating a path for the Texas Democrats to return without fear of arrest to force their appearance.
Our quorum break shined a national spotlight on the TX voter suppression bill and pushed Congress closer to passing a federal voting rights act to override it. I’m confident they will.
— James Talarico (@jamestalarico) August 9, 2021
That dream of declaring victory was quickly shattered after the Texas Supreme Court ruled that arrests were allowed to take place to force a quorum.
Now, life is coming at the Texas Democrats fast as arrest warrants for all 52 of the fugitives have been signed. They will be delivered this morning and enforcement can begin. That means that in the span of just a few days, they went from thinking they were victorious to being right back where they started.
Life coming at this dude so fast… pic.twitter.com/eOcr5gPpFG
— Bonchie (@bonchieredstate) August 11, 2021
It’s not just Talarico, though. While it’s hard to gauge how many Texas Democrats have returned home at this point (at least four have already shown up on the House floor), it seems plausible that enough are back in the state to force a quorum. Even if there aren’t at this time, the second special session and subsequent sessions will continue to make it untenable for those hiding out in Washington to stay there all the way until 2022. Further, with another ruling coming down that gave Abbott the power to defund the legislators who aren’t showing up, they can be drained financially in the process.
That’s a lot of pressure being applied at once and I expect more defectors. These people have families to support and see. They have mortgages. If the Texas Democrats in Washington start accepting money to pay for that stuff, they may run into some serious legal questions.
In short, I think it’s just a matter of time before enough fold, the quorum is provided, and Texas’ elections are protected by common-sense rules and regulations.