Jasmine Crockett, a Black civil rights lawyer and one of the youngest lawmakers in Texas, was just a few months into her first term in the Legislature when Republicans were on the cusp of passing new limits on when and how Texans could vote.
Like other Democrats, she was adamantly opposed to the bill. But when they discussed using extraordinary tactics to try to block it — including a walkout — she sensed hesitancy from older, veteran members who are more accustomed to being the minority party in the state House of Representatives.
“I don’t understand. Why are we sitting here?” Crockett, 40, recalled of the frustration among her younger colleagues. “We’re asking legitimate questions, like, ‘Can’t we leave? What is the problem?’”
When Texas Democrats bolted for Washington in a dramatic gambit to block the bill, it was a significant strategic victory for Crockett and a group of newer Texas lawmakers, including Black and Latino members, whose instincts are more inclined to confrontational politics. If their long-suffering party is to find a way out of the wilderness in Texas, Democrats need to sharpen their message and their elbows, they argue.