Rich Lowry notes this inconsistency in the Democrats’ position on filibusters:
In Washington, D.C., where Democrats control the White House and both chambers of Congress, the Senate filibuster is portrayed as a Jim Crow relic that is profoundly undemocratic.
In Austin, Texas, where Republicans control the governor’s mansion and both chambers of the legislature, House Democrats’ walking out to prevent the passage of a bill with majority support is portrayed as a heroic act preserving our democracy.
The alleged threat to “our democracy” is an election reform measure. Democrats claim that the legislation would result in voter suppression.
Lowry shows that this contention is hogwash. The bill deals in large part with what were supposed to be temporary expedients during the pandemic, such as drive-through voting and 24-hour early-voting marathons. As Lowry says, “Texas democracy was healthy and robust prior to these emergency innovations, and it will be when they are gone.”
The bill also contains provisions for increased security and transparency, both worthwhile goals. And, as Lowry says, the provisions “are hardly draconian.” They require voters to write a driver’s license number or other identifier on absentee ballots, matching the existing voter-ID requirement for registering to vote and voting in person. This makes perfect sense.
Another common sense provision bans public officials from sending out unsolicited mail-in ballots. This will limit fraud by keeping excess ballots from floating around. I agree with Lowry that “it’s not too much to ask that people affirmatively request their mail-in ballots.”
The only arguably objectionable part of the bill provides that early voting on the Sunday before the election can’t begin until 1 p.m. Supposedly, this would interfere with the traditional “souls to the polls” turnout efforts of black churches. But according to Lowry, this provision is likely to be changed.
In any case, nothing in the legislation would prevent anyone who is entitled to vote from voting.
Yet, Democrats have seized on the Texas bill as a pretext for abolishing the Senate filibuster in order to pass H.R.1. That’s the bill that would wipe out countless state laws, as well as bipartisan federal election legislation passed over the past 30 years — laws designed to make sure our elections are fair and (to the extent possible) devoid of voter fraud.
Our democracy has not been undermined by these laws, nor would it be jeopardized by the Texas legislation.
Democrat cynicism knows no bounds.