The Eyes of Texas are upon Chuck Schumer
Senate Democrats, led by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, are as nervous as a bunch of long-tailed cats in a room full of rockin’ chairs. If Leader Schumer can’t find a way to unify his razor-thin majority, they won’t be able to muster enough votes to abolish the filibuster. Nor will they be able to pass any bold legislation to confront key issues of the day, including voting rights, climate change, gun regulation, and infrastructure. Clearly, Chuck is having a hard time wrangling his herd. Some are starting to wonder if, as they say in Texas, “He’s all hat and no cattle.”
Speaking of Texas… In case you missed it, voting rights advocates and Texas Democrats are all begging New York’s Senior Senator to help ’em out. They want him to grab his ten-gallon hat, put on some spurs, and drive his team out to the prairie for a showdown with Governor Greg Abbott. Abbott and his wily Republicans are determined to make it harder for people in black and brown communities to vote by reintroducing a voter suppression bill known as S.B.7 later this year.. It’s one ugly piece of legislation; it looks an awful lot like those being passed in other Republican-led states. They’re working like ducks on a June bug to rig elections and create new Jim Crow style voter laws, all to ensure they win back the House and Senate in 2022. And, to put Donald Trump (or one of his desperados) back in the White House in 2025.
Texas’s S.B.7 demonstrates the extreme measures that Republicans are willing to take to stay in power. It would, among other things, make it easier for Republicans to win—even if they lose. The bill includes more voter suppression tactics than you can shake a stick at. One provision even requires individuals to fill out a form if they plan to transport three or more voters to the polls. (see section 3.09 subsection f.) Apparently, this includes those you transport on horseback.
Meanwhile, in our nation’s capital, President Biden has called on Congress to stop all the jaw jacking and pass the “For The People” act. This bill was created specifically to nullify these state attempts to end free and fair elections. The House passed it, but it’s stuck in the Senate. So, this brings us back to Leader Schumer. He just hasn’t been able to get this done.
This seems like a good time for Chuck to lasso some Texas swagger, corral his herd, tame his wild stallions (e.g., Joe Manchin), and follow the lead of a Texas Democrat that used to have his job. Lyndon Johnson was the “Master of the Senate” before he was the President that signed the historic 1965 Voting Rights Act. (This was gutted in 2013 by the Supreme Court.)
Johnson’s deal-making and arm-twisting were legendary. Anyone who resisted or tried to march to their own drummer was often subjected to his unique form of persuasion known as “The Johnson Treatment.” According to one historian, those who received it described the treatment as:
“…supplication, accusation, cajolery, exuberance, scorn, tears, complaint, the hint of threat. It was all these together. It ran the gamut of human emotions. Its velocity was breathtaking, and it was all in one direction. Interjections from the target were rare. Johnson anticipated them before they could be spoken. He moved in close, his face a scant millimeter from his target, his eyes widening and narrowing, his eyebrows rising and falling. From his pockets poured clippings, memos, statistics. Mimicry, humor, and the genius of analogy made The Treatment an almost hypnotic experience and rendered the target stunned and helpless.”
Our republic needs Schumer to give the Johnson Treatment to anyone that stands in the way of passing strong federal voter protections like the “For The People” act…right now. If he can’t find a way to “render them stunned and helpless,” our democracy is going to dry up like a Texas tumbleweed. The eyes of Texas (and the free world) are upon the Senate Majority Leader. Here’s hoping he finds a way to get this done.
Terry Gipson is a former New York State Senator, but he was born and raised in Texas. He’s now a Lecturer in Communication Studies at SUNY New Paltz and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Communication and Media at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. To learn more, visit TerryGipsonNY.com.