Waller County, Texas — Cindy Schmidt and her friend Gale Mikeska meet every Thursday at a roadside bar on Farm Road 359, where vast lands in Houston are replaced by stables and hay scrolls. I will talk about everything. Music, a tough right turn in Texas politics.
“We have a very different political mindset,” said conservative Mikeska, who owns multiple guns and is generally happy with the state’s orbit.
“I’m a Democrat,” said Schmidt, whose only gun is an antique of the Civil War. “I think Texas has lost its weird heart.”
In the coming months, the second most populous state in the United States had a special session with more right-wing privileges, following the most conservative legislative session in state history. Many conservative residents are vigilant. The state legislature will convene another special session on Monday to consider further legislation on cultural issues such as transgender athletes and perhaps reorganize the state in favor of Republicans.
New legislation passed at an alarming rate limits abortion, voting rights, and racial education in schools. They have also expanded gun rights, funded the Mexican border wall, and banned social media bans for political opinion. The move supports conservatives, warns liberals, and forces Texas to wrestle with the state’s identity as the tip of the conservative spear in the most controversial social conflict in the United States. I let you.
In addition, the surge in coronavirus cases and the tug of war between Republican Governor Greg Abbott and the growing city-centered Democratic leaders continue to calm many Texans. I am. For the first time in more than a decade, a majority of residents told pollsters at the University of Texas last month that the state was heading in the wrong direction.
“Texas is watching the state government immerse itself in these partisan debates over abortion and electoral reform, but in reality, schools,” said Joe Straus, a Republican in San Antonio. Lives in a state that cannot provide clear safety guidance on Covid. ” He chaired the Texas House until 2019. “The concern is that conservatives have gone too far and are damaging the state’s reputation.”
None of the momentum between Mr. Abbott and the conservatives led by Deputy Governor Dan Patrick, who oversees the solid right-wing Texas Senate, has slowed. Both continue to focus on appealing to their key voters, rather than the vital changes in the state’s fast-growing democratic cities.
For House’s new special session starting next week, the Governor has added legislation restricting the participation of transgender athletes in school sports. This was added late to the session focused on constituency changes.
The Republican-controlled state legislature redraws the boundaries for the first time since the Supreme Court revoked the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which provided federal oversight.
In the past, Texas was found to be in breach of law during a constituency change, and Democrats took advantage of Republicans’ opportunity to redraw the district in a way that blunted the state’s growing black and Hispanic population. , Afraid to maintain control of the Capitol. Increasingly diversified local white lawmakers in the state. This process could extend Republican state locks for at least another decade during times of intense competition across Texas and in the presidential election.
“Republicans should be very optimistic about the 22-year cycle,” said Rey Sullivan, a Republican political consultant who came to power with two recent governors, George W. Bush and Rick Perry. rice field. “The bragging blue wave from 2020 never happened, and PS, Democrats don’t even have a candidate for governor.”
The Conservative Party has been in control of Texas Capitol policymaking since the early 2000s, according to left- and right-wing lawmakers and political consultants, but this year’s Austin legislation aimed at the foundation of Republican voters, significantly. It was disruptive.
Many thought they were hiding in the ultra-conservative primary challenger who would take on Mr. Abbott. Some complained that the tradition of friendship and compromise in the Capitol was almost gone. Austin felt as partisan as Washington, with Democrats and Republicans remaining mixed without splitting the aisles.
Patrick, who presides over the State Senate, was not shy about the stewardship of the party and changed the rules of the organization for the 2021 session to allow 18 senators to vote in favor and submit the bill. .. Over 19 years old after a Republican lost his seat. In last year’s statement, he said the reason for the change to explain his plan was to allow the Democrats to submit the bill “without blocking it.” It went through the party line.
Others on the right, the conservative legislative raft was the expected result of a strong result by the Republican Party in 2020, when the Democratic Party spent a lot of money to take over the House of Representatives and could not win a single seat. I felt that.
Republicans then overthrew Democratic colleagues, but their dramatic flight to Washington couldn’t stop their passage to protest the new restrictive voting bill.
Exactly 666 new legislation came into force on September 1, including a ban on abortion after cardiac activity was detected or about 6 weeks after pregnancy. This is the most restrictive measure in the United States, stopping almost all abortions in Texas.
Matt Makowiack, a conservative political consultant and chairman of the Republican Party of Travis County, said Abbott fears the major challenge of “biting ankles, shrugging, and fundamentally serious people not doing serious campaigns.” He said he had nothing to do with him. With the governor’s own politics. “Greg Abbott is a conservative and an end,” he said.
Understanding Texas Abortion Law
“No one else in the Democratic Party is responsible,” he added. “If they wanted to stop this agenda, they had to win a majority at their Texas home. They didn’t do that.”
This experience has left some Democrats depressed in Waller County, which has a history of trying to limit voting by black residents, especially in Republican-controlled rural areas outside Houston.
Kendrick Jones, 25, the only black member of the Waller County Commissioner of Baseball, said: “Politics is considered to be a compromise, and there is currently no compromise in Texas.”
The town of Prairie View, represented by Mr. Jones, was at the center of a fierce battle for voting rights that had fought students at the historic black college Prairie View A & M University, primarily against white county leaders. .. The town’s main road is named after Sandra Brand, a 28-year-old African-American woman who was pulled in 2015 for failing to signal a lane change and was arrested just off campus. So she decided to start a new job. She hung herself in a county prison.
The arc of its history is not immediately apparent under the lush living orcs of the school. Some of them date back to the days when plantation houses dominated the countryside.
But for 72-year-old Frank Jackson, the former mayor of Prairie View is …