DALLAS — While Republicans finish the 2021 legislative cycle having accomplished just about everything they wanted, Democrats leave Austin nearly empty-handed.
And at least one says she’s disappointed and disgusted with the level of politics influencing that happened under the Capitol dome versus policy itself. And state Rep. Yvonne Davis says the most vulnerable communities are the ones being attacked.
“People just want to ignore the rights of minorities and their right to vote, their right for fair representation. So, it’s just a continuation of what can we do to the people to harm them,” the Democrat from Dallas said on Inside Texas Politics. “We didn’t get anything.”
Even though the vast majority of growth in Texas over the past decade was fueled by minority populations, making Texas the only state to gain two seats in Congress, Republicans solidified their power with their new political maps. They insist the new districts follow all federal voting rights laws and are “race blind.” Democrats say since 95% of that growth was because of Texans of color, the maps are discriminatory.
“And to not represent that with the maps that we drew, it’s unconscionable,” Rep. Davis said.
At least one federal lawsuit has already been filed, with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) arguing the maps weaken the strength of Hispanic voters and violate the federal Voting Rights Act. Many more lawsuits are expected to follow.
It all concerns Rep. Davis, who fears some voters may be losing confidence in the process altogether, which will lead to fewer people participating in electoral politics. But she thinks Democrats can use it to motivate their voters. And while she mentioned no specific names or offices, she says some good candidates are still considering a run for office.
“The process, it always swings back. And this pendulum of conservative take all you can, while you can, when you can, will grow old for the citizens of Texas and they will want their government back in the middle,” she said.
Rep. Davis says it’s clear the system is broken, from the state’s pandemic fight to battles over mask and vaccine mandates to several school districts even suing the governor. The influential Democrat says it all has her "fed up," but also "fired up."
“I think that one of the challenges for folks like myself is, because we know it can be better, is to get fired up and try to make it better, fed up with the stupid stuff, and energized enough to try to get people motivated to recognize it’s not getting better, it’s deteriorating and it requires them to get engaged,” said the Dallas Democrat.
MALDEF federal lawsuit: Microsoft Word - 2021 Task Force Federal Complaint_Final_NINA FINAL (maldef.org)
Rep. Yvonne Davis: Texas House of Representatives : Representative Davis, Yvonne