Texas Tribune reports Gov. Greg Abbott is possibly miffed to the point of vengeance after acting Secretary of State David Whitley, an Abbott favorite, failed to win Texas Senate confirmation during an otherwise productive session of the Legislature. Far be it from us to give Texas’ most popular elected official advice, but here goes: Next time you appoint someone to this post, suggest your appointee take the time to acquaint himself with the job and its responsibilities before allowing him to bungle at the outset an initiative based on canards, myths and hollow rhetoric.
Whitley was no sooner appointed than he suggested in a press statement that some 95,000 non-U.S. citizens with driver’s licenses or ID cards also had voter registration records in Texas — and that some 58,000 had voted in at least one election. As the scandal unfolded, it became obvious many in the state’s cross hairs were people of color who had become naturalized citizens. Oops. Whitley and his office settled discrimination suits for $450,000 in taxpayer money. (Whitley now works on Abbott’s staff, making $205,000 in taxpayer money, evidence the swamp absolutely thrives here in Texas.)
So here’s more advice: If you have an appointee who has botched purging election rolls to the degree it’s impressed every single Democrat in the Texas Senate as a blatantly partisan maneuver to marginalize people of color likely to vote Democratic, then, good heavens, don’t allow Republican Senate allies to put forward a toxic bill that threatens to marginalize even more voters by sticking them in jail for innocent mistakes. That’s going to make it harder to get your guy confirmed. Yet abominable Senate Bill 9 arose. Had it passed, it would have penalized disabled voters. Amazing.
Pundits say one reason this legislative session proved less controversial and more productive is because Republican leaders saw the writing on the wall in the 2018 general election in which statewide Republican officials saw their once-significant margins of victory from 2014 shrink dramatically. Reason: More Texans are becoming weary of divisive social issues such as the failed “bathroom bill” of 2017, born of Bible-thumping and not a shred of evidence.
So here’s more advice: More and more voters recognize no massive conspiracy exists to get unwashed waves of illegal immigrants into the sanctity of polling places, especially in a state famous for abysmal turnout by registered Texas voters. Most of us are indeed concerned about election integrity — but as witness after witness testified before the ho-hum Texas House Elections Committee, the real threat involves the hacking of our vulnerable election systems, not disabled people and the Good Samaritans who aid them. And not overworked poll workers.
By the way, let’s hope that Democrats quoted in Texas Tribune are wrong about your killing bills as political payback, including Senate Bill 511, which sought to prevent accidents through civil penalties for the installation of unsafe tires. Sure, it’s just a minor bill, small potatoes — unless, of course, someone dies or is crippled in a blowout because of bald tires and political pettiness.