Washington, D.C. — Today, the Texas legislature convened in a special session intended to push through dangerous legislation based in right-wing extremism and Trumpian propaganda. Among the harmful legislation up for debate are bills that would disenfranchise Black and brown voters, limit educators’ abilities to teach comprehensively about the nation’s history of racism and make it harder to combat online disinformation.
And while Texans are at risk of having their fundamental rights ripped away, corporations that have made bold public statements condemning some of the worst of Governor Abbott’s legislative priorities have remained silent, and even donated to Texas lawmakers pushing the harmful bills.
“The same fringe right-wing propaganda and hateful rhetoric that has long dominated the corners of the blogosphere is now at risk of being legislated by Texas lawmakers — and Texans’ fundamental rights now hang in the balance,” said Kyle Herrig, president of government watchdog Accountable.US. “Even debating these bills sets a dangerous precedent that could have consequences for Black and brown Americans, transgender Americans, and countless others. Corporations that have spoken out in support of democratic values now have absolutely no excuse to sit on their hands and do nothing to fight this legislation. Every second they stay silently allied with these politicians, they are exposing whose side they’re really on — and leaving their workers, shareholders, and consumers vulnerable in the process.”
A new Accountable.US analysis shows that several bills under debate in the Texas special session as parts of Governor Abbott’s agenda are undeniably tied to right-wing conspiracy theories and rhetoric, including:
- Promoting Big Lie & Voter Disenfranchisement: While Abbott prioritizes so-called “election integrity,” in reality, voter fraud is exceedingly rare in Texas. Texas’ proposed election restrictions are instead based in voter fraud conspiracy theories and Trump’s “Big Lie,” and would disproportionately disenfranchise Black and brown voters.
- Pushing Online Conspiracies & Disinformation: While Abbott has claimed there was a “‘dangerous movement’” to silence conservatives on social media, in reality, right-wing accounts have been key forces driving conspiracy theories, and a recent study found that claims of anti-conservative bias are “‘a form of disinformation.’”
- Attacking Public Schools & Equity in Education: While Abbott’s agenda revives attempts to limit public school teachers’ ability to discuss current events or America’s racial history by appealing to anti-“critical race theory” propaganda, in reality, the debate is a strawman fight lawmakers have taken up as a form of backlash to the racial justice movement.
Meanwhile, Abbott’s agenda notably fails to address Texas’ power grid, which drew national criticism after “one of the worst power outages in U.S. history” in February 2021 was tied to potentially hundreds of deaths.
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