Williams Worries ‘The Texas Brand’ Will Spread Like Jim Crow

News & Politics

Republicans in Texas are doing what might be expected of red state Republicans and that has The 11th Hour‘s Brian Williams very concerned. On his Friday show on MSNBC, Williams worried that “the Texas brand” will spread to other states, just like Jim Crow did.

To make his point, Williams began by reading from a Charles Blow article in the New York Times“‘when Jim Crow was originally established, it spread from state to state like a contagion. Each subsequent state taking lessons from the ones before it. Mississippi was one of the states at the vanguard of the first Jim Crow. Texas may well be at the vanguard of the next.'” 

Addressing University of Texas Prof. Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Williams described this new and alleged Jim Crow as “the Texas brand” where the state is “Making it tougher to vote, making it tougher to get an abortion, no mask, no problem, no vaccine, no problem. If you want to carry a gun, that’s perfectly okay with us.”

In the NYT article Williams read from, Blow also condemns Texas for considering a bill that would require athletes to compete against athletes of their own sex. With all that as context, Williams asked DeFrancesco Soto, ”Is there any indication this is going to be Texas’ leading export to other red states?”

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DeFrancesco Soto agreed other states may look to Texas for inspiration, because that is how federalism works, “But in this case, to your point, Brian, we’re seeing states being laboratories of curtailing democratic rights, small-D democratic rights, which is so troubling.”

She then added another thing to Williams’ list of grievances against Texas:

…throughout the whole plight of voter integrity bills or voter restriction, I was never losing sight of redistricting because this really truly scared me, because even in an ideal world where we didn’t have voter restrictions, where we were able to knock them down, I always knew that once we came into session and to draw the maps that Latinos, African-Americans, communities of color were going to be drawn out. One quick example of this. In Texas the growth that we saw Texas, 95% of that growth was fueled by communities of color. The latest maps that have approved by the Texas State Senate did not add one district of a majority-minority. Instead of that what we’ve seen is the practice of cracking.

Cracking is a form of gerrymandering, which the media only treats as a threat to democracy when Republicans do it.

This segment was sponsored by Volvo.

Here is a transcript for the October 15 show:

MSNBC

The 11th Hour with Brian Williams

11:32 PM ET

BRIAN WILLIAMS: To that end, Charles Blow had this to say about Texas in his latest piece in the New York Times and we quote, “when Jim Crow was originally established, it spread from state to state like a contagion. Each subsequent state taking lessons from the ones before it. Mississippi was one of the states at the vanguard of the first Jim Crow. Texas may well be at the vanguard of the next.” 

Indeed still with us are Professor Victoria DeFrancesco Soto and Bill Kristol. Professor, sadly in all the right ways because you’re joining us from Texas and educating young minds there. We get to start this segment with you. So, we’ve all become familiar with the Texas brand these days. Making it tougher to vote, making it tougher to get an abortion, no mask, no problem, no vaccine, no problem. If you want to carry a gun, that’s perfectly okay with us. Is there any indication this is going to be Texas’ leading export to other red states? 

VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO: Absolutely. And we have seen it for hundreds of years, that state contagion that Charles Blow talked about. For better or for worse, states are laboratories of democracy, right? So, this is where you can fiddle with new policy, try it out and other states are going to pick it up. But in this case, to your point, Brian, we’re seeing states being laboratories of curtailing democratic rights, small-D democratic rights, which is so troubling. And one of the things that Representative Sheila Jackson Lee mentioned in her clip was the issue of redistricting. And throughout the whole plight of voter integrity bills or voter restriction, I was never losing sight of redistricting because this really truly scared me, because even in an ideal world where we didn’t have voter restrictions, where we were able to knock them down, I always knew that once we came into session and to draw the maps that Latinos, African-Americans, communities of color were going to be drawn out. One quick example of this. In Texas the growth that we saw Texas, 95% of that growth was fueled by communities of color. The latest maps that have approved by the Texas State Senate did not add one district of a majority-minority. Instead of that what we’ve seen is the practice of cracking. Where we’ve seen, in the suburbs of Dallas a Latino entity and an Asian entity being cracked. So, this is what truly worries me, that even if you have the right to vote, and we know that’s being curtailed, that you aren’t going to have a community of interest to really have that translated and to me, this is what’s so worrisome because it sticks at least for the next ten years. 

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