ANALYSIS: Media Hyped Up Texas Dems Who Fled The State, But Vilified Republicans Who Did The Same Thing

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Font Size:

Establishment media changed their tune about state lawmakers fleeing the state to avoid voting on bills they disagree with when Democrats left Texas to prevent Republicans from passing election reform.

The move from Texas Democrats wasn’t new – Oregon Republicans did the same thing in 2019 and again in February 2020 when Democrats tried to pass a climate change proposal to cap the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. But the way the media portrayed the Republicans’ move compared to how they portrayed the Democrats fleeing the state was much different.

The left-leaning outlet Vox wrote that the Oregon Republicans were “subverting democracy” and referred to the lawmakers as “a handful of white people from the far-right” who “are holding the state government hostage.” (RELATED: Governor Vetoes Funding For Texas Legislature After Showdown Over Voting Reform)

“It is an extraordinary escalation of anti-democratic behavior from the right, gone almost completely unnoticed by the national political media,” Vox wrote.

When Democrats fled Texas, Vox changed its tune. The outlet referred to the election integrity legislation as a “bill that led Democrats to literally flee their homes,” and wrote that “Republican lawmakers have the luxury of going about their normal lives in Texas.” It portrayed the Democrats as heroes for fleeing the state “in a last-ditch effort to block legislation making it harder to vote.”

The Washington Post said that Republicans were not following the “Oregon Way” – meaning, political collaboration – when they walked out in 2019 and 2020. At the time, The Post defended the Oregon Democrats, and said they already made compromises on the bill. But the outlet published opinion articles praising Texas Democrats for doing the same thing. 

One Washington Post opinion article said Wednesday that “Texas Republicans are trying to force Democrats to participate in a democratic process intended to undermine that very democratic process.” University of Texas law school professor Steve Vladeck argued that the alleged threat to the democratic process is what makes the Texas walkout different from the Oregon one, and claimed that people who were critical of Republicans in Oregon but not critical of Democrats in Texas are not hypocrites.

The New York Times article about the Republicans in Oregon said that the lawmakers had “disappeared” on the vote as Democrats were “struggling to figure out a path forward amid the threats of a changing climate.” The outlet’s coverage of the Texas Democrats was more favorable.

“Texas Democrats fled the state on Monday in a last-ditch effort to prevent the passage of a restrictive new voting law by the Republican-controlled Legislature, heading to Washington to draw national attention to their cause,” the Times wrote.

The outlet added that “the hastily arranged departure added a cinematic element to the partisan wrangling in a state with a colorful political history.”

The Daily Caller reached out to The New York Times, The Washington Post and Vox for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.