Despite Corrupt Republican Efforts in Texas, Wendy Davis and Democrats Emerge Victorious

wendy_phixrDespite their best, and absolutely corrupt efforts, Texas Republicans couldn’t beat the determination of Senator Wendy Davis, Texas Democrats and the very vocal women’s rights advocates who flooded the Texas Capitol.

After Republicans successfully put a halt to Davis’ filibuster by claiming some ridiculously bogus reasons I will explain in a moment, Senate Democrats pulled just about every possible procedure out of the book in order to stall a vote on SB5 (otherwise known as the bill that aimed to end abortions in Texas and attacked women’s rights).  Democratic Senators Watson, West and Van De Putte deserve special thanks for their efforts after Senator Davis had her filibuster cut short.

And after time ran out on the Democrats and their valiant stalling efforts, those who stood in the gallery at the Texas Capitol stepped in.  Sounding more like a group of fans rooting on their favorite sports team, cheers and applause echoed loudly for the final minutes leading up to the midnight deadline to vote on the bill.  While Wendy Davis’ efforts are not to be diminished in any way, she was not the only hero tonight.  Her fellow Democrats in the Texas Senate did everything they could to gain a victory in this battle, and the activists in the gallery sealed the deal.

And just before 2:30 a.m. CDT, news emerged that they were officially victorious.

While I’ve written many comments about politics on my page Right Off A Cliff and quite a few articles for Forward Progressives, I still can’t quite gather the right words to accurately portray what I witnessed watching Davis’ filibuster and the events that happened after it was forced to an end.

To call what I saw from Republicans in the Texas legislature corrupt and unethical would be an understatement.  Not just in the move to end Senator Wendy Davis’ filibuster to block an extremely invasive attack on women’s rights, but the entire circus that followed.

See, during these filibusters Senator Davis wasn’t allowed to sit, lean on anything, take any breaks, eat or get off topic.  While some actions can instantly end a filibuster, often “challenges” are presented which a politician in the midst of a filibuster is then given “3 strikes” before their filibuster is halted.

Well, “shocking” — Republicans trying to put an end to this filibuster found three ways to challenge her procedurally.

The first of which was a challenge saying she went off topic—when she brought up Roe v. Wade while filibustering a bill aimed at restricting a woman’s right to have an abortion.

How the heck is that “off topic?”  You mean to tell me our country’s landmark case which gave women the right to have control over their own bodies has nothing to do with a bill which aims to restrict those rights?

Then, a second “strike” was levied against her when a colleague helped adjust a back brace she was wearing.  To call this “helping” is at best a reach, but to avoid ridiculous arguments on the merits of adjusting a back brace, let’s just say this one was legit.

And finally, her third “strike.”  When she compared procedures Texas has already put in place that restrict a woman’s right to have an abortion, making the link that this new bill would add further burden in a state which has already made getting an abortion extremely difficult, she was challenged as going “off topic” once again.

So, twice she was found to have veered from her topic—by talking about abortion rights while filibustering a bill which seeks to restrict abortion rights.

And of course the determination for this is completely subjective and determined by Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, a man who didn’t support her filibuster.  Nothing quite like someone who opposes your actions being the sole judge who determines the merits of your topics.  A determination that nearly derailed her courageous efforts.

But the best part?  Dewhurst never had to explain how she was off topic—he just had to agree with whatever Texas Senator challenged her.

Think of it like that person you’ve probably met before who makes a bet, then right before they’re about to lose that bet, backs out and says, “Oh, sorry, that’s not what I meant.”

That’s exactly what happened.

However, anyone watching the night’s events knew one thing—leading up to, and at the stroke of midnight, it was pure chaos in Texas.  How Republicans even thought they might be able to claim they conducted an accurate and valid vote with a near riot on their hands in the upper gallery is laughable.

There were even reports that some Republicans were trying to alter the voting record to falsely reflect that the vote had taken place on time.

But there’s even more good news that came from all of this.

Democrats are still really ticked off.  Tuesday night put on full display how unethical and corrupt many Republicans will behave just in an attempt to get their way.  Because honestly, citing 2 abortion related topics as “off topic” during a filibuster about abortion is ridiculous.

And it’s not just Texas Democrats that are energized—Democrats from all over the country felt the anger over these proceedings and the Republican attempts to deny women their rights.  Twitter and Facebook were the “Texas Senator Wendy Davis Filibuster Show” for hours during these proceedings.

It’s made her into a star.  If I’m remembering accurately she had just a few thousand Twitter followers before her SB5 filibuster, currently at the time of my writing this she has nearly 60,000.

Democrats in Texas now have someone to lead the charge against these corrupt Republicans so that we can achieve our ultimate goal of turning Texas “blue.”

Before this, you would have been hard pressed to find anyone in Texas that could even name a Democrat in state politics (let alone anywhere else in the country).  Now you have a woman that people from coast to coast have rallied behind and won’t forget.

Wendy Davis, the little known Texas Senator from Fort Worth who decided she’d stand relentlessly for 13 hours in her pink shoes fighting for women’s rights—that emerged from this battle as possibly the strongest Democrat in Texas politics since former Governor Ann Richards.

And even though this battle is over, and we were victorious—there are already talks that Governor Rick Perry and Texas Republicans are not letting this legislation die, and possibly may try to pass it in another special session.

No matter what happens, I know one thing for sure…

I will continue to #StandWithWendy, and anybody else across the country who is willing to take a stand like she did.

And she has a very bright future.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • sandra1947

    This was an amazing night in Texas politics. These Democrats stood up to the corrupt politics of the Texas State House. It was amazing to watch live on Texas Tribune YouTube Feed into the early hours of the morning. I have to salute these Democrat legislators. Texas does not like women plain and simple.

  • K. Brown

    As a woman who has grown up in the Dallas/Fort Worth area I feel like this event has just changed the game politically. And to watch the Republicans “slit their own throats” was beautiful. And Rick Perry can try again but the women of Texas will NOT go down without a fight.

  • OohRahMama

    As a Progressive from Oklahoma, I applaud Senator Wendy Davis for her warrior stance. Both Oklahoma & Texas suffer from an overdose of regressive political poison that is slowly killing the citizens of our states. Brave, intelligent public servants like Senator Davis prove that hope is not lost for draining the cesspools of Tea Party offal that pollutes our process. Thank you, Senator Wendy!

  • Jim Tarvin

    awesome!~

  • ForeverBuddha

    Let’s all give a big shout out to Wendy Davis.

    • bigremo

      She is awesome and I heard plenty of shouting for her last night! Let’s give a shout-out to the public for shouting down republican scumbaggery!

  • John

    This is the start of a movement to STOP all Republicans from their insistence to restrict many rights of the people (women and men alike). We should stand up to them at every cost and vote these idiots out of office.

  • Guy Gabois

    Was glued to my monitor for the last few hours of this and it was EPIC, but we have to give credit to Democratic Senator Leticia Van de Putte for being the catalyst that helped secure the victory against SB5. It was her comment that set off the riot in the rotunda which successfully disrupted the proceedings and effectively caused the final vote to miss it’s midnight deadline. Wendy Davis was the figurehead, but we also must thank Senators Watson, West and Zaffirini for their dogged determination to not let the Republicans in the Senate bend (and break) the rules to their own advantage. A victory well fought and well won.

  • Pat

    Right on Wendy and the democrats of Texas! So proud to be a woman always and she just made me even more proud!

  • bigremo

    The republicans openly and obviously tampered with their session voting records in an attempt to make it appear as if the vote took place before midnight. 175,000 people saw Texas blow the deadline, but the republicans brazenly tampered with the evidence anyway. As this vote would effect legislation and the public, are there no laws to prevent or punish this type of fraud and deception?

  • Sandi

    Outstanding and courageous woman who refuses to be bullied! Wendy will have my vote for what ever office she chooses to run–and I hope it is for Governor of Texas!

  • A Olson

    If only Republican women would make decisions with their hearts and their MINDS, then we would never be in the position of defending a woman’s right to choose–we would have had that right years ago when we got the right to vote!