Republicans Taking Over Black Run Stuff Because GOP Hates Democracy

Last week, state education officials under Republican Gov. Greg Abbott announced a state takeover of public schools in Houston, America’s fourth-largest city and Texas’s largest. The national media mostly ignored it, preoccupied with POTUS 45’s potential arrest. Houston’s events should be more significant for two reasons.

The move is outrageous. Houston schools have been improving under state metrics despite poverty, disinvestment, COVID-19, and Hurricane Harvey, which most large urban school districts face. Even the Texas Education Agency’s “failing high school”—which will allow the GOP administration to replace the elected school board and appoint its superintendent—has raised its grade to a “C.”

Why GOP Hates Democracy?

No wonder most local leaders in the Gulf Coast metropolis think Abbott’s minions’ move has little to do with what’s best for Houston’s 195,000 public schoolkids—62% Latino and 22% Black—and everything to do with the grown-up politics of punishing a city now run by people of color who vote mostly Democratic and giving Team Abbott a new venue to wage the GOP’s war on “woke education.”

“I think the public has not yet understood how massive the design is in the war against minority culture and especially African Americans and Latinos,“ Bishop James Dixon, a Houston pastor who heads the local NAACP chapter, told U.S. News & World Report. “I don’t think we understand how intricate the playbook is that’s being worked on by these operatives.”

Democracy Now tweeted that Texas State Officials Take Over Houston’s Majority Black and Latinx Public School District. You can take a look below:

Dixon addresses the second, perhaps more important, why America should pay more attention to Texas events. Houston’s school takeover wasn’t isolated. Instead, it’s the latest example of the Republican Party’s anti-democracy stance, which is why people call it that.

Republicans are increasingly using their statehouse control in red America to overturn election results in blue-dot localities, especially when Black and brown voters win. The Abbott administration’s attacks on Houston’s school district accelerated after Harris County elected 19 Black, female, and Democratic judges. Seven of Houston’s nine elected school trustees are African American or Latino.

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This isn’t the worst example of white Republicans creating a “cancel culture” against Black and brown democracy nationwide. That would be in Jackson, Miss., where “a Jim Crow bill” would transfer some of the judicial system and police control from elected officials to the heavily GOP statehouse. Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba calls the bill “plantation politics” even though it has been moderated.

Republican power plays are targeting the wave of progressive prosecutors elected in Democratic cities and counties since the mid-2010s. In Florida, GOP governor and possible 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis has removed one elected Democratic prosecutor in Tampa over abortion-law enforcement and is now threatening Orlando’s progressive prosecutor after a high-profile triple murder.

The Republican-led Pennsylvania House impeached Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner over policy a year after city voters reelected him. In Missouri, the state attorney general, Andrew Bailey, a white Republican, is trying to remove St. Louis District Attorney Kim Gardner, a black Democrat who, like Krasner, is a progressive at odds with a powerful police union, claiming that high-profile crimes mean she is “neglecting her duties.”

Republicans Taking Over Black Run Stuff Because GOP Hates Democracy

Some Democrats, led by President Joe Biden, signed onto a D.C. crime bill that overturned a new criminal code that the capital city’s majority-Black city council had approved almost unanimously before a GOP misinformation campaign.

These moves are awful in substance and symbolism. It’s heartbreaking and infuriating to see Mississippi’s majority-white lawmakers deny agency to Jackson’s black citizens in the city where a white supremacist murdered NAACP leader Medgar Evers in 1963 for his courageous fight for African American voting rights.

Leading Republicans like Abbott, DeSantis, and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and their minions who don’t care about how bad this looks a lot about the conservative movement.

Their ultimate goal—white, patriarchal rule at any cost—was maintained through populist mob rule and the disenfranchisement of women until 1920 and Black voters until 1965. Since that year’s Voting Rights Act, Plan B has included less blatant voter suppression, from strict ID laws to felon disenfranchisement. However, it hasn’t stopped the white-dominated GOP from becoming a national minority party, still believing in its entitlement but lacking the numbers.

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In 2023, this effort will be anti-democratic and fascist. Trump’s attempted coup on Jan. 6, 2021, and his supporters’ claims that state lawmakers can overrule the popular vote in awarding presidential electors have garnered the most attention. But Republican legislatures’ power to strip home rule from blue cities is where their authoritarianism takes root.

The Republican Government

Pennsylvania’s mostly Republican government in the early 2000s used a financial crisis to take over Philadelphia’s struggling public schools for 17 years. Today’s maneuvers, especially when “anti-tokenism” in schools is the political right’s hot button, are more about ideology than money and are couched in concern troll rhetoric. They claim Republicans only act forcefully because they care about urban crime or lower student test scores.

Republicans Taking Over Black Run Stuff Because GOP Hates Democracy

This isn’t democracy. Republican school takeovers have been more about patronage—not just jobs but lucrative contracts for their ed-tech grifter friends—than academic improvement. A GOP legislature could show concern for Houston’s brown and Black schoolchildren by increasing funding (currently $3,000 below the national average) and teacher pay.

Helping children isn’t the point; going after DAs like Larry Krasner or Kim Gardner doesn’t reduce crime. Jackson and Houston are about race, power, and the oppressive social control that Medgar Evers fought. Worse, the Republican Party’s anti-democratic agenda has just begun.


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