Do Democrats Matter? Of course they do!

Posted in 82nd Legislature, Around The State, Bad Government Republicans, Commentary, Good Stuff, Had Enough Yet?, Take Action, The Lege at 10:46 am by wcnews

Of course they do. But that’s the question posed in this article, Democrats struggle to make a dent. While Democrats do matter, they have very little political power in this legislative session, especially when the GOP goes against tradition.

Around midnight on Monday, after a debate marked by tears and angry exchanges, a weary state Rep. Harold Dutton, D-Houston, asked Texas House Speaker Joe Straus what amounted to a philosophical question on behalf of all Democratic lawmakers.

His Republican colleagues, flexing the political muscle they enjoy by virtue of a 101-49 advantage over Democrats, had just cut off Democratic attempts to amend a politically-charged sanctuary cities bill.

“Is this the sine die for the rest of us?” Dutton asked Straus, using the Latin phrase for the last day of the legislative session.

Translation: “Do Democrats even matter?”

It is an existential question that has dogged Democrats since Texas voters handed Republicans a super-majority on Nov. 2, giving them the ability to ramrod a conservative agenda through the Texas Legislature.

Since then, Democrats have been searching for a strategy to make a difference in a legislative session in which they are outnumbered 2 to 1, Gov. Rick Perry has fast-tracked emotionally-charged legislation, and a shortfall of as much as $27 billion has assured severe budget cuts.

And a little later in the article we see why the Demcorats do matter.

Dr. James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, argued that Democrats had little choice but to use the only tools available to them — the House rules — to kill legislation that is anathema to their constituents.

“They are obligated to represent their constituents,” he said. “You have to show up, and you have to play and you have to play like it matters.”

Whether Democrats accomplish anything likely will not be felt this legislative session, but future elections.

“There is not much they can do but hope they are right about some of these things,” Henson said. “They have to make sure votes get taken and make people own the consequences.” [Emphasis added]

That is why the Democrats still matter and what their job is right now. Show the GOP”s policies as not just radical, but cold, cruel, and irresponsible. And make them own the disastrous results of those policies.

Their radical policies showed up again yesterday in the Texas House, republicans in Texas legislature pass their own bills to kill Medicare and Medicaid.

But that message [people like Medicare and Medicaid] hasn’t made its way to Texas, where state lawmakers are moving full speed ahead on their own efforts to take control of — and then restructure — both Medicare and Medicaid, the joint state-federal health care program that primarily serves poor children and the disabled.

Rep. Lois Kolkhorst’s “health care compact” bill, HB 5 — which would effectively ask the federal government to give Texas and other states block grants to run Medicaid and Medicare as they see fit — passed easily out of the House, and was heard in a Senate committee on Tuesday. That’s despite Democrats’ warnings that any effort to redesign Medicare will terrify, or potentially harm, seniors and a failed attempt by Rep. Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, to remove Medicare from the Texas compact bill.

The Democrats have started doing daily recognitions on the House floor and LegeTV is calling it Real People, Real Consequences. Here are a few of them.

As the reality of unfettered GOP control of this state becomes a reality to Texans, Democrats will likely matter more in Texas then they have in some time.

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