Without some action at the federal level, Texas Democrats will not win their current fight either. Abbott has threatened to continue calling lawmakers back for special sessions until Democrats return, and in June he vetoed the portion of the state’s omnibus budget bill that funded salaries for lawmakers and their staff, citing Democrats’ first walkout in May. It’s also unclear how Texans would react to continual strikes in the legislature. In Oregon, where Republicans have taken walkouts to the extreme, voters have been receptive to punitive measures. According to a February poll paid for by a coalition of unions, interest groups and other organizations that call themselves No More Costly Walkouts, 84 percent of Oregon voters said they would support a state constitutional amendment disqualifying lawmakers from running in the next election if they had 10 unexcused absences from floor sessions.
The circumstances in Texas are indeed very different. But that doesn’t change the fact that Democrats may be without a long-term solution for the time being since the U.S. Congress and the Biden administration have not figured out the best path forward. Some Texas Democrats are hopeful that their actions will persuade Congress to pass a voting-rights bill that outlaws new Republican voting rules, but that is looking more like a pipe dream. More likely, Texas Democrats will only be able to delay their state’s bill — not stop it from becoming law.