Autocracy on the March: The Texan Front

Let us begin with the obligatory—but still sadly necessary—blast at Texas’s devious and sickening new law that for all practical purposes outlaws abortion in that state, in violation of what the US Supreme Court has previously ruled, and deputizes vigilantes to enforce it. 

The same GOP that believes in “my-body-my-choice!” when it comes to anti-vaxxers refusing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will now force women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, even in cases of rape or incest. That same party will mandate that a 12-year-old girl raped by her stepfather must go through with the pregnancy, but not that that girl must wear a mask in school, because that’s “governmental overreach.” The same Republicans who are terrified of fictional “vaccination squads” directed by Oberführer Fauci going door-to-door somehow managed to pass the most intrusive kind of governmental policy imaginable, one which incentivizes Texans to spy and inform on their neighbors for cash. 

No one will be shocked to learn that the Texas law says absolutely nothing about the men who impregnate these women, not even rapists, all of whom are completely absolved of any responsibility or legal repercussions. 

I write screenplays for a living, and they would throw me out of the Writers Guild if I pitched this as a movie idea. That’s the realm of Atwoodian science fiction, amirite? 

Texas is a state that hobbled its own infrastructure to the point where over 200 people died when it couldn’t provide heat and power during an ice storm last winter (while its junior Senator fled to vacation in Cancun), and four months later had to beg its citizens not to run their air conditioners when a heatwave overwhelmed that same power grid. It’s a state where nearly 1 in 5 children live in poverty; a state that ranks 51st (including DC) in children’s health care; a state whose allegedly “pro-life” legislators have consistently opposed funding for child care, education, help for needy families, and even tried to abolish the state’s Child Protective Services agency.

That’s how you know that this new law has nothing to do with “protecting the unborn,” much less the born, and everything to do with demonstrating and maintaining male control over the female of the species. That’s how you know it’s part of a war on women, one that’s deeply baked into the conservative movement, even including the (mostly white) conservative women who are part of it.

Texas is also a state where it’s now legal to carry an unlicensed firearm; a state whose governor recently issued an executive order directing state troopers to stop and frisk anyone they suspect of being an undocumented migrant; a state consistently on the forefront of efforts to restrict the teaching of things its conservative mandarins don’t like, such as evolution, or the history of civil right movement; a state that recently passed some of the most restrictive voter suppression laws in the country, designed to keep Democratic constituencies (including people of color, working women, the poor, young people, and the handicapped) from voting.

As the Internet wags say, the lone star on Texas’s state flag must be its Yelp review. 

BOBBY FULLER PREDICTED IT

So what exactly is in this new Texas law? 

In effect, it outlaws abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, well before most women even know they’re pregnant. It offers a $10,000 reward to citizens who snitch on anyone “aiding or abetting” such a procedure, such as the provider, a doctor who makes a referral to a clinic, or even a friend who gives the woman a ride (payable by that person, plus legal fees). Even a person who contemplates rendering such aid, but doesn’t, can be sued.

The $10K is a minimum, by the way; “There is no cap on the amount of damages a court can award to a citizen who sues to enforce the law.”

As Jezebel’s Laura Bassett describes it, writing in The Atlantic, this is “the most extreme abortion ban the United States has seen in half a century.” It is a thorough, effective, de facto reversal of Roe v. Wade—the very thing the GOP has dishonestly been claiming it is not pursuing (wink wink), and deviously designed to pass legal muster by outsourcing enforcement to private citizens rather than the state. 

But make no mistake: we all know what it is. 

In her dissent, a furious Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote:

In effect, the Texas Legislature has deputized the State’s citizens as bounty hunters, offering them cash prizes for civilly prosecuting their neighbors’ medical procedures. 

Or as a Twitter user called John Slayer writes, “A state is now putting a bounty out for women who don’t comply with a religious belief. Let that sink in.” 

That use of vigilantes is perhaps the most despicable part of the law, even as it is the part that anti-abortion zealots praise for its “cleverness.” But as The Week’s Jill Filipovic writes, “Whatever you think about abortion rights, deputizing any person in the United States to be their own little secret police is an incredibly dangerous approach, less ‘pro-life’ than ‘American Stasi.’” That is especially appalling when you consider that, as Filipovic says, “The right has been on a tear about what they say is the massive threat of liberal totalitarianism, from the classroom to the boardroom to the federal government.” 

Justice Breyer was unimpressed with this too-clever-by-half trickery, writing in his dissent that American women have “a federal constitutional right to obtain an abortion during that first stage” of pregnancy, and that Texas’s delegation of the power to prevent it to private individuals does not offer a way for the state to abrogate that right. Citing a previous opinion, he wrote: 

….we have made clear that ‘since the State cannot regulate or proscribe abortion during the first stage… the State cannot delegate authority to any particular person… to prevent abortion during that same period.’ Texas’s law does precisely that.

The US Supreme Court was not asked to rule on the law’s constitutionality—yet. But in a shadow docket ruling that shocked most observers, it has let the Texas law stand while that process unfolds. Of that refusal to step in, Justice Sotomayor wrote:

The Court’s order is stunning. Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of Justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand.

Ironically, in the same week, the Supreme Court of Mexico, a staunchly Roman Catholic country, ruled that it is unconstitutional to punish abortion as a crime, putting it one up on Texas when it comes to being a civilized society. I suspect we will soon see desperate Texans fleeing in through the out door over Trump’s partially built border wall, seeking help in our more forward-thinking southern neighbor. (On the holy rollers’ side, God did punish Mexico with a 7.1 earthquake since then.)

The United States is now on the road to having abortion laws far more restrictive than Ireland, another deeply Catholic country, which in May 2018 held a referendum in which the Irish people overwhelmingly voted to end their longtime ban on the practice, reversing centuries of repressive tradition

Think about that for a moment. The US and the rest of the developed world are headed in opposite directions. 

And as Heather Cox Richardson writes, the implications of this flagrantly unconstitutional law, and the Supreme Court’s cowardly, dead-of-night 5-4 refusal to stop it from going into effect, go far beyond just reproductive rights and the war on women, terrible as both of those are. 

The new anti-abortion law in Texas is not just about abortion; it is about undermining civil rights decisions made by the Supreme Court during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. 

A state has undermined the power of the federal government to protect civil rights. It has given individuals who disagree with one particular right the power to take it away from their neighbors. But make no mistake: there is no reason that this mechanism couldn’t be used to undermine much of the civil rights legislation of the post–World War II years.

What’s to stop Texas—or Georgia, or Mississippi, or any other fellow traveling Republican-controlled states—from enacting legislation that, say, denies constitutional rights to people of color, or LGBTQ folks, or hell, Democrats? From allowing business to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, creed, sexual orientation, or country of origin, hung on the specious, ass-backwards claim of “religious freedom”? From opting out of 80 years of New Deal protections, union rules, or child labor laws?

Merrick Garland’s DOJ has vowed to intervene in Texas. So, Eisenhower-era like, are we about to see federal troops or US Marshals accompanying women into Planned Parenthood clinics and other providers, the way they did for Black schoolchildren integrating Southern schools in the Fifties and Sixties in defiance of segregationist efforts to stop them? That’s what it took the last time a bunch of regressive states decided that an entire class of American citizens didn’t deserve their constitutional rights. 

The Texas law, then, is not just an attack on reproductive freedom, or even on women full stop, though it is both of those things. It is part of a broader, retrograde attack on New Deal /  civil rights era progressivism in favor of the white nationalist theocracy that the American right craves. 

And these folks are just getting started. 

HAIL MARY, FULL OF GRACE

There are seven Catholics on the Supreme Court, six of them conservatives appointed by Republican presidents. (See here for the nuances of Gorsuch.) Five of them formed the core of the decision to let the Texas law stand. 

Three years ago, almost to the week. I published an essay in these pages that touched on that fact, called “Blessed Be the Fruit”—Patriarchy, Tyranny, and the Supreme Court.” Sadly, it is absolutely pertinent still.

These guys will have the power to decide the future of reproductive rights in this country and to dictate what an American woman can or cannot do with her own body, to include the authority to make abortion illegal if they so wish. And those five men very likely will do exactly that, even though roughly 70% of Americans oppose the idea.

To that end, the Court’s Catholic majority won’t criminalize abortion by blatantly overturning Roe; in this day and age that’s too obvious, even for them. What they will do is cut the heart of that ruling without even having the courage to admit what they’re up to. 

In that regard, we might say that evangelicals made a winning devil’s bargain in 2016 by backing Donald Trump, who put three of the five justices on the Supreme Court who formed the core of this non-decision. We might say that, except that it was no devil’s bargain at all. Evangelicals didn’t hold their nose over Trump’s racism, misogyny, lack of piety, cruelty toward children, and myriad other ills just in order to get Supreme Court justices: they loved it all.

In Slate, veteran SCOTUS watcher Mark Joseph Stern wrote:

Perhaps it was inevitable that this Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade, not with a momentous majority opinion, but by doing nothing. That’s all it took for the Supreme Court to let Texas’ six-week abortion ban take effect on Sept. 1: silence.

At a bare minimum, the monumental conflict over reproductive autonomy deserved a full and fair hearing in open court. Instead, the Supreme Court has let an established constitutional right die in the shadows.

Singling out Kavanaugh and Barrett in particular, he cited their comfort with “manipulating the court’s procedures to reach radical results,” and proficiency  in overruling precedent without acknowledging it

SCOTUS has already taken a case that will probably gut abortion rights by June 2022. But with its new law, Texas handed Kavanaugh and Barrett a gift: They could eviscerate Roe months earlier without writing a single word. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did the dirty work for SCOTUS by preventing a federal judge from blocking the ban or even holding a hearing on its constitutionality. All the justices had to do was nothing.

Stern notes that “the court’s inaction is especially galling in light of its aggressive intervention in cases it deems important,” including emergency rulings to challenge blue states’ COVID restrictions, end the CDC’s eviction moratorium, and reverse lower court decisions blocking Trump’s assault on legal immigration. But abortion? Nah. 

By refusing to lift a finger, the Supreme Court has telegraphed to the states that it does not view an illegal assault on abortion rights as a pressing matter requiring immediate attention. It gave the green light to impatient red states that won’t wait for SCOTUS to reverse precedent. These states can pass blatantly unconstitutional laws, persuade far-right judges not to block them, and count on the Supreme Court to stay out of it.

SIX FLAGS OVER “CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR”

A number of pundits have suggested that with this Texas law—being copycatted as we speak in other Republican-controlled states, such as Florida, South Carolina, Arizona, and Ohio, with others likely to follow—the GOP has become the proverbial dog that caught that car. For four decades the party has been able to gyrate its base over abortion without having to deliver much in the way of results. Now that promise is gone—fulfilled you might say, but no longer available as a GOTV strategy, especially for anti-abortion fanatics who are one-issue voters. 

In The Atlantic, David Frum writes that “Pre-Texas, opposition to abortion offered Republican politicians a lucrative, no-risk political option,” in which “they could use pro-life rhetoric to win support” at low political cost.  

Pre-Texas, Republican politicians worried a lot about losing a primary to a more pro-life opponent, but little about a backlash if they won the primary by promising to criminalize millions of American women. That one-way option has just come to an end. 

Now Republicans may have simultaneously forfeited a core right wing voting bloc while energizing a left wing one. Frum speculates that it’s possible that “anti-abortion-rights politicians are about to feel the shock of their political lives. For the first time since the 1970s, they will have to reckon with mobilized opposition that also regards abortion as issue No. 1 in state and local politics.”

Instead of narrowly failing again and again, feeding the rage of their supporters against shadowy and far-away cultural enemies, abortion restricters have finally, actually, and radically got their way. They have all but outlawed abortion in the nation’s second-largest state, and voted to subject women to an intrusive and intimate regime of supervision and control not imposed on men. 

The GOP’s uncharacteristic absence of gloating in the wake of the SCOTUS ruling suggests that they know the spot they’re in, as did the stealthful means by which the Court’s conservatives pulled the plug on Roe, which was already on life support. 

Stern again:

Initially, the New York Times and the Washington Post treated the court’s inaction as a below-the-fold story. It took several hours on Wednesday morning for much of the media to catch up with the fact that SCOTUS allowed a state to ban abortion. And this, we can assume, is exactly how the conservative justices wanted to end Roe: not with a bang, or even a whimper, but with silence, confusion, and queasy uncertainty.

So might this backfire on the GOP, electorally speaking? Maybe. Maybe it will indeed be the end of driving evangelicals to the polls without provoking an equally passionate turnout from the pro-choice side. (Yes, I know there are plenty of women who are rabidly anti-choice, but it’s not an issue divided strictly along gender lines.) But others have argued that it’s much more complicated, and that this notion of a silver lining is deluded wishful thinking by Democrats. We shall see.

In any case, Texas Republicans, and Republicans in general, aren’t taking any chances. They clearly know how unpopular this policy will be with tens of millions of Americans, not unlike lots of other GOP policies (more tax cuts for the rich, anyone?) which is why they have twinned it with a relentless campaign of voter suppression and electoral subversion. That campaign is especially crucial in a state like Texas that almost turned blue last time and whose demographics are continuing to trend in that direction.

Frum again: 

(T)here’s already compelling evidence that Texas Republicans understand how detested their new abortion law will soon be—not only in New York City and Los Angeles, but also in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and Fort Worth. They took the precaution of preceding the nation’s most restrictive abortion law with one of the nation’s most suppressive voting laws. It’s as if they could foresee what Texas would do to them if all qualified Texans could vote. 

The question now will be whether the angry passion among Democratic voters ignited by this draconian new law and others like it will be enough to overcome the outrageous anti-democratic battlements that the GOP has put up around them. 

Frum argues that the oppressive new Texas voting law “only impedes voting; it does not prevent it. The 2020 election showed that voter suppression can only do so much to protect a sufficiently unpopular incumbent.” True, but the law we are talking about was enacted post-2020, and places far more severe restrictions on voting than were in place to help Trump. Indeed, his loss is the precise reason why the GOP felt the need to enact such laws.

If pro-choice passion is not sufficient to put Democrats in power, or if Republican rigging of the system prevails enough to prevent it, Frum suggests that we might be heading into a situation on abortion comparable to Prohibition, wherein “for a dozen years, metropolitan America lived under rules imposed by non-metropolitan America. Then the whole experiment utterly collapsed. Alcohol prohibition failed so dismally, both in practice and in politics, that even the prohibitionists had to surrender. Only then could the United States move to a stable equilibrium of national legality bounded by locally acceptable regulations.”

Perhaps the same will happen after Americans have to live for a few years under a religiously-driven medieval foreclosure of reproductive rights. Cold comfort to the women with unwanted pregnancies during that interim, however. 

MASKED AND NO LONGER ANONYMOUS

Whether they pay a price at the polls or not, one thing is clear: Republicans will no longer be able to pretend that they are not out to end Roe v. Wade once and for all. Ironically for a bunch of people who have made a fetish of their opposition to masks, the mask is now off Republican hypocrisy over reproductive rights, and they stand bare-faced with their monstrous misogyny. (Ooh, I do love a good metaphor. Also a bad one.)

Laura Bassett writes in The Atlantic of how the Texas law means the jig is up on this longstanding Republican charade:

For half a decade, Republicans—especially self-described moderate members of the party—have been gaslighting America on the issue of abortion rights, pretending they didn’t know that Donald Trump’s Supreme Court picks were always planning to overturn Roe. A central goal of the conservative judicial movement that these justices came out of is overturning Roe. The Federalist Society handpicked them for that reason. It’s a transparently phony act, one that’s now been exposed as such.

Sitting before the Senate during his 2018 confirmation hearings—before he broke out in a tear-stained hissy fit over how unfairly he was being treated—Brett “I Like Beer” Kavanaugh, in full Eddie Haskell mode, insisted Roe was “settled law.” Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska called women “hysterical” for fearing that the federally protected right to control their own  bodies was in danger. (Phrasing, Ben, phrasing.) 

In that aforementioned 2018 essay for the blog, I wrote this ahead of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings:

Kavanaugh will surely put on a ferocious Apache dance in claiming how he can’t possibly speculate about how he might rule in some hypothetical future case such as, oh I don’t know, abortion. He will also go full Mr. Smith Goes to Washington in implying that he has the utmost reverence for legal precedent and is anything but an activist judge looking to overturn Roe v. Wade. Perish the thought! In fact, he already began that charm offensive with his remarks at his nomination, stressing his allegedly female-friendly bonafides. (He coached his daughters’ basketball teams! Rest easy, feminists!) All of this will be carefully calculated to reassure middle-of-the road voters and centrist(ish) GOP senators like Collins and Murkowski that he is not going to gut that landmark ruling.

Then, once on the bench, he will do precisely that.

A year before that, way back in 2017, Mark Joseph Stern wrote in Slate:

(T)here is little doubt that Kavanaugh will gut Roe at the first opportunity. Indeed, he has already provided a road map that shows precisely how he’ll do it….

A conservative state will pass a draconian anti-abortion restriction—one that shutters all abortion clinics, perhaps, or outlaws abortion after a fetal “heartbeat” is detected. With Kavanaugh providing the decisive fifth vote, the court will rule that the state law does not pose an “undue burden” to abortion access; after all, the government has an interest in “favoring fetal life,” and women who truly want an abortion can go to another state. The majority may not admit what it is doing. But in practice, it will be overturning Roe.

Kavanaugh is the ideal candidate to cast that fifth vote and even write the opinion. He has already proved that he can pretend to adhere to Roe while hollowing out its core holding. He has revealed a striking aptitude for intellectual dishonesty, pretending to follow precedent while enshrining anti-abortion dogma into law. His disingenuousness will be an asset on the Supreme Court. And within a few years, the United States will be a country of Jane Does.”       

HUT TWO FOUR THREE

And so, with the Texas abortion law, the forces of right wing autocracy in America march steadily on. Control of the courts is just another front in that war, along with voter suppression and subversion, all of them battlegrounds on which the American right has been waging a slow-burning but relentless insurgency for decades while Democrats slumbered, naively putting their faith in the strength of our institutions and the goodwill of their opponents.  

That may well be democracy’s epitaph.

It’s one thing to enact laws like the one in Texas; it’s another to enact them in defiance of the will of the majority. That’s what the GOP is doing, and not just on this topic. Nationally, Americans support maintaining Roe 58% to 32 %. More broadly, 80% of Americans believe abortion should be legal under some circumstances (including 32% of who believe it should be legal in all circumstances), while only 19% say it should be illegal no matter what. 

In Texas, the issue splits the citizenry pretty evenly, but the new law’s failure to make exceptions in cases of rape and incest go too far even for most pro-life Texans.

But you might have noticed that Republicans’ whole megillah these days is countermajoritarian rule, given that they can’t win national elections outright, a reign to be established and maintained through the aforementioned electoral suppression, gerrymandering, disinformation, legislative obstructionism, and other skullduggery. 

Filipovic again:

This is the strategy for a party that increasingly cannot win fair and square: Rig the game. Make it harder for people to vote so that an ideological minority can maintain its grip on political power. Claim political opposition is the real authoritarianism, while using the courts and legislatures to enact authoritarian laws that serve your aims. Keep women and those who love and support them scared, ostracized, and under the very real threat of having their lives ruined—and in refusing women abortions, keep them poorer, more tethered to abusers, and less able to pursue their dreams and aspirations.

Let’s play out just how cutthroat this will be, and the stakes in play. 

If Republicans re-take the House in the midterms, they will immediately move to impeach Biden, because of course. They were set to do so regardless but now will use Afghanistan to dress the effort up in the mufti of legitimacy. (Never mind their own culpability for that debacle, and never mind that this same party did not think that a president accepting covert aid from a hostile foreign power, or blackmailing an ally for personal gain, or fomenting a violent insurrection to remain in office, merited even a polite throat-clearing by way of complaint.)

I don’t imagine for a moment that the GOP will get 66 votes to convict in the Senate, but it won’t matter. They will succeed in gumming up the works for the next year or more heading into the 2024 presidential race, furthering the paralysis of our democracy—exactly the outcome that the “government is bad” con men of the Republican Party have been peddling since 1932. And they will have engineered it to be so.

In our hyperpartisan climate, will impeachment then become the new normal? It might, but the very question reeks of bothsidesism. The two impeachments of Donald Trump could not have been more in order if they had been hypothetical examples laid out by the Founding Fathers themselves in “The Constitution: An Owner’s Manual.” (If an autogolpe isn’t impeachable, what is?) He could have been impeached for a couple more things as well. An impeachment of Joe Biden, by contrast, would be a partisan farce, unless he tries to sell Alaska back to Russia between now and then.

No, this would not be the fault of some mythical “divided America” in which both parties are equally vile; it would be the fault of Republican scorched earthism going back at least to the early Nineties. (Thanks Newt Gingrich, gravedigger of democracy!)

A Republican-controlled House might also well make Trump Speaker (who, constitutionally, doesn’t have to be an elected member of that body). Not that Trump has the cognitive skills or attention span to handle the managerial demands of the job, but he would be a troublesome figurehead, foisted back into the public eye to rouse the MAGA base. (And his installation would be just another humiliation that the invertebrate Kevin McCarthy will eagerly accept. I guess Kevin must like the taste of Trump’s shoe polish on his tongue.)

The California gubernatorial recall is another example of the current dysfunction, and one that presents dangers at the national level as well. If Gavin Newsom is recalled, and the frail 88-year-old Diane Feinstein dies in the next 17 months before California’s next election, the state’s new interim governor—likely Republican talk show host Larry Elder—will be able to hand control of the US Senate back to the GOP even before the midterms. 

Polls currently tip Newsom to hang on by the skin of his very straight white teeth, but should he lose, Feinstein ought to retire and allow him to appoint a younger Democratic replacement in his lame duck period. Would Republicans scream like their testicles were caught in a beartrap? You bet. Boo hoo. Were the tables turned, they’d do the same, gleefully, and sneer at Democrats for daring to voice objection. 

RACING/FIGHTING IN THE STREET

I have long feared that Biden’s win and these first two years of his term while his party controls Congress (not that it feels like it) will prove to be but the eye of the storm, a brief respite before neo-fascism comes roaring back with a vengeance. We already see the Republican sorcerers trying to conjure that outcome. The midterms will be the first test, and the presidential race of 2024 the next. 

Afghanistan is tailor-made for the GOP to campaign on, allowing them to unjustly reclaim their mantle as the macho party of national security, even though they bear far more blame for that debacle than Biden or the Democrats. They will also pummel Joe for not getting COVID under control, even though it’s their own anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers—egged on by malignant Fox News propaganda—that are hindering the valiant effort of public health officials and responsible Americans. They will savage him for not getting more done, on infrastructure and everything else, even though they themselves blocked that legislation, or if he does succeed, blame him for not being sufficiently bipartisan, when they all voted against it and tried to sabotage it in every way.

We all know the playbook.

And Donald is poised to either run again, or play kingmaker, which might be even worse. 

In 2020 Trump was the incumbent—a liability for him, given his shambolic mismanagement style and ghastly record, including hundreds of thousands dead in the pandemic. But in 2024 it will be Biden defending his performance to a fickle public cursed with the memory of a goldfish, while Trump will be back in his natural role as loudmouthed, bombthrowing outsider promising the moon like the con man he is. 

It’s madness, of course, to think that the American people might return this cretin to office only four years after chucking him out on a Mavericks-sized wave of blood, but it could happen. He remains toxically unpopular, it’s true: indeed, for the GOP, a Trump run might be the same kind of unforced, self-inflicted wound as the Texas abortion bill, in terms of harming Republican prospects at the polls. But don’t rule it out. In addition to our short memories, we Americans are highly susceptible to the grifter’s pitch that “I alone can fix it,” even after recently watching him bollocks it all up in the first place. 

Trump of course need not be on the ticket for Republican horror show to be sufficiently nightmarish in ’24. Even without him, the GOP has so thoroughly—and willingly—remade itself in his pustulent image that a DeSantis or Abbott or Cotton or Haley candidacy would be just as bad. In fact, a Trumpist candidate without hideous scarlet “T” of actually being Trump might be far more dangerous, by which I mean, electable. 

And given the GOP-engineered distortion of the vote, that Republican standard bearer may well win….and if he or she doesn’t, Republican loyalists (via their structural gaming of the system) may by then be in place to hand the race to him or her anyway, or at the very least create chaos by insisting—again—that the election was stolen. More dramatically, after four years of being fed that lie about the 2020 election, and having tried and failed to mount a coup without suffering any negative repercussions, they will be emboldened to resort to mob violence again, or worse, to get what they want. 

GILEAD CALLING

Texas offers a preview of what an America under unchallengeable Republican rule would look like. There are lots of hideous angles to it, from guns to institutionalized white supremacy to a venal and unfettered kleptocracy, but one trademark aspect is sure to be the resurgence of the patriarchy.

It would be journalistic malpractice, or at least a violation of the bylaws of the Cliché Slingers’ Guild, not to note hereFlorynce Kennedy’s quote, often misattributed to Gloria Steinem, that if men could get pregnant abortion would be a sacrament. (Steinem and Kennedy say they first heard it from a salty female cab driver in Boston.) In that regard, the GOP has shown its hand in the ugliest possible way. It’s up to us make them feel the punishment, even if it means scaling the walls of outrageous voter suppression that Republicans have erected.

The alternative, come 2022 and 2024, is a whole country that looks a lot like Texas.

***********

Photo: “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Unveiling New Uniforms.” Satire by Paul Leigh. Enough people were taken in that Snopes had to clear the air….because satire is dead when things happen like what happened in Texas last week.

3 thoughts on “Autocracy on the March: The Texan Front

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