How the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol influenced Texas politics in 2021
(Nexstar) — Thursday marks one year since the insurrection at our nation’s Capitol. The attack, fueled by claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, set the stage for some major Texas political moves throughout 2021.
“Going back by the places that were scarred and desecrated in the Capitol and hearing the stories of my colleagues who were there who felt their lives were very much at stake was something I hope I never go through again,” U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat representing Texas’ 35th district, said Thursday.
He and other Texas Democrats outlined grim memories from the chaos on Jan. 6, 2021.
Texas Republicans, while condemning the violence that day, said their Democratic colleagues are over-exaggerating the events that day.
“Their hysteria over Jan. 6, and the narrative to overblow it, exaggerate it, over-dramatize it as one of the worst events, and an insurrection is, to me, it’s absurd, and it’s divisive,” U.S. Rep. Jody Arrington said, a Republican representing Texas’ 19th district.
Regardless of party affiliation, the 2020 election and attack that followed had a big impact on Texas politics in 2021.
That included Republican lawmakers passing new voting regulations, which banned 24-hour and drive-thru voting and added more restrictions to vote by mail.
Jessica Huseman with VoteBeat said this isn’t new for Texas Republicans.
“The speaking out of both sides of their mouth in terms of how easy it is to vote in Texas and how there isn’t any fraud, but we still need to shore up the system and make sure that no one can commit fraud,” Huseman explained, pointing to a bigger pattern in Texas in recent years.
“We have been restricting voting for the last decade in every single legislative session,” Huseman said.
“Ken Paxton has, for a long time, insisted that voter fraud was a gigantic problem in the state of Texas, even though it is demonstrably not, and Donald Trump used that exact same rhetoric following him to dispute the results of the 2020 election,” Huseman explained.
Gov. Greg Abbott also ordered the Secretary of State to audit the 2020 general election in four of Texas’ largest counties: Collin, Dallas, Harris and Tarrant.
Huseman said she thinks Texas handled those election audits better than other states.
“We could have done a very political audit, like they did in Arizona, or Wisconsin or Pennsylvania. But instead, the new Secretary of State, John Scott, approached this in a very diplomatic way,” Huseman said.
Those results, which came on the last day of 2021, showed very few irregularities.
“That of course, showed no signs of massive fraud,” she said.
But she said she still expects voting rights to be top-of-mind when Republicans hit the campaign trail this year and when lawmakers convene in 2023 for the 88th Legislative Session.