The bizarre life of Texas Democrats in self-exile

“One thing I had to do early Monday morning was stock up on insulin,” said state Rep. James Talarico, who has Type 1 diabetes, “because I didn’t know where we were going to be and if I was going to have access to a pharmacy. It’s those little things you don’t think about.”

State Rep. John Bucy piled into a car with his 27-weeks-pregnant wife and their 17-month-old daughter and drove 22 hours to join the rest of the caucus, after deciding not to fly. State Rep. Erin Zwiener brought her young daughter with her to D.C., keeping her entertained during meetings with members of Congress. Tearing up, state Rep. Ina Minjarez described leaving her husband at home as he grieves the recent death of a parent...

And the trip is still happening amid a pandemic. On Saturday, three of the Texas Democrats tested positive for coronavirus, the caucus announced in a statement. One of them was Israel. Caucus leadership, which did not specify the members who tested positive, said all three of them were fully vaccinated.

All of this effort and expense — and personal health — is pouring into a quixotic-at-best quest to kill the GOP bill. It’s the second time Democrats have walked out to deny a quorum in the state legislature, but Republicans can just keep calling special legislative sessions and keep trying to pass the legislation, presuming the Democrats will return to the state eventually.

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