Progressives and Democracy

The Texas legislature, Monday morning, moved forward a bill to ban abortions after the 20th week.  The Progressives’Democrats’ behavior during the debate was—and will be, apparently—illuminating.

Democrats used parliamentary tactics to draw out the debate for 15 hours, pointing out technical mistakes in the process or trying to tack on amendments to fundamentally change the bill.


Congresswoman Jessica Farrar (D) gave a personal privilege speech decrying how the Republicans were manipulating the parliamentary process to rush it to a vote.

Never minding that the voting deadline was just hours off, while she and her colleagues were doing everything they could to prevent the vote being taken.

“Everything about the process related to these abortion regulation bills has smelled like partisan politics,” Farrar said.


Democrats in the Senate said they would try to filibuster the bill if it came to them on Tuesday, which now appears assured.

Whose partisan politics, really?  Leaving aside the question of the legitimacy of banning late-term abortions, why are these Texas Progressives so afraid of the democratic process that they’ll use whatever partisan tactics they can dream up to block the democratic process, to block an up or down vote?

I can hear the objections now: the Republicans do the same thing when they’re in the minority.  That’s certainly true—the Federal Senate’s filibuster is intended explicitly to protect the minority from mere tyranny.  But that filibuster can be ended by a vote of the body.  Aside from which, if Democrats don’t like it when Republicans do it, how is it all right for Democrats to do it?  Is Democrat morality purely situational?

In the end, of what are these Progressives so afraid that they work so hard to block a vote at all?  That if the democratic process runs its course, they won’t get their way?  Is it, then, that no one can have democracy if Progressives can’t have their way?

Update: In the event, the bill failed.  The Senate’s vote began a few minutes too late, due mostly to a successful Democrat fillibuster and a lack of coherent Republican response to the fillibuster.

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