A very cranky Sen. Ted Cruz found himself on the wrong end of a debate over the racist intent of voter ID laws this morning during a Senate hearing on the subject. Professor Franita Tolson of the FSU College of Law testified that some voter ID laws were racist in intent — like the very same one passed by Ted Cruz’s state of Texas — and Cruz grew visibly grumpy when his childish questioning failed to produce any exonerating answers.
Sen. Ted Cruz: "What voter I.D. laws are racist?"
Professor Franita Tolson: "Apologies Mr. Cruz, your state of Texas, perhaps." pic.twitter.com/men5LnJgrg
— The Hill (@thehill) September 22, 2021
TED CRUZ: In your judgement, are voter I.D. laws racist?
PROFESSOR TOLSON: Thank you for that question. So it depends. One thing we have to stop doing is treating all voter ID laws as the same.
CRUZ: I wanna move through this quickly, so depends is your answer?
TOLSON: Yes it is, that’s my answer.
CRUZ: So what voter ID laws are racist?
TOLSON: Apologies, Mr. Cruz, your state of Texas, perhaps?
CRUZ: So you think all of Texas is racist, what about requiring an ID to vote?
TOLSON: That’s very reductive, I’m not saying that the entire state of Texas is racist, but —
CRUZ: You just said my state of Texas is racist, so you tell me, what about the Texas voter ID laws is racist?
TOLSON: The fact that the voter law was put in place to diminish the political power of Latinos with racist intent
CRUZ: You’re asserting that, what’s your evidence for that?
TOLSON: The Federal District Court, that first resolved the constitutionality of the
Ok, so your view is that voter ID laws are racist. Mr. Yang, how about you?
MR. YANG: I agree with Professor Tolson, some voter ID laws can be racist.
CRUZ: That’s two. Mr. Saenz?
SAENZ: There are some voter ID laws that are racially discriminatory in intent.
The state of Texas spent nearly seven years and $6.8 million dollars in a protracted legal battle to pass Senate Bill 14, a draconian voter ID law that five different courts struck down for intentionally discriminating against Black and Latino voters. But the state of Texas eventually prevailed in passing the bill on their sixth attempt, buoyed by a right-wing Supreme Court ruling that Texas did not racially discriminate in drawing the Congressional maps in 2013.
Texas quickly followed up with a new slew of racially discriminatory voter restriction laws just this year that would make it “harder to cast ballots by mail, given new access to partisan poll watchers and imposed stiff new civil and criminal penalties on election administrators, voters and those who seek to assist them.”
Cruz knows that the bills are racist by design, which is why he responds with such condescending and unproductive whining (“so ALL of Texas is racist?”). The last thing that these Republicans want is for their efforts to systematically dismantle our democracy to be put on blast for the whole nation to see — which is why it’s important that every American watches this clip, keeps an eye on the news, and works as hard as they can to get voters to the polls come 2022.