"It's a matter of life and dying": The collapse of the Texas energy grid opens up a gap for the Democrats
But the Texas Democrats have something other than scapegoat in mind, especially those who run larger cities that GOP lawmakers and state officials have consistently used as punching bags to score political points. They see an opportunity to shift the balance of power at the state level, which has eluded the Democrats for years.
"Those in the legislature and executive branch of government have spent too much time running cities and counties and not caring enough about state issues," said Sylvester Turner, Democratic mayor of Houston, the state's largest city Times. "And now it's coming back to bite her. Before you can try running my house, you need to make sure you run your own."
Turner is among those who have been warning of a potential power grid disaster for years. The state had a test run in 2011 after a winter storm that also caused nationwide outages, and Turner, then a state representative, spent the next year ringing alarm bells about the lack of control by GOP-appointed state regulators.
Commenting on the sudden focus on ERCOT, Democratic MP Chris Turner commented, “Nobody should pretend that the cause of this disaster is a mysterious entity that is somehow disconnected from state government. … This whole episode is a catastrophic failure of leadership. "
Ana Sandoval, a Democratic member of the San Antonio City Council, notes that it's not as if the blackout and subsequent water shortage exist in isolation.
"Many areas of Texas likely felt like they were in an emergency before the power outage – Covid case numbers, hospital spikes and the jumble of vaccines," Sandoval told the Times It's not just about economics. It's about life and death. "
The fact that governance is truly a matter of life and death is something that circumstances like the pandemic and widespread power outages are currently bringing home for voters in Texas. Democrats in major cities had already fought with Abbott last year to implement stricter COVID-19 mitigation measures.
And now state GOP leaders like Abbott are looking for scapegoats on the horizon while ignorant Yahoo like former Governor Rick Perry declare that Texans will happily suffer the pain of power outages to keep federal regulators out of the state's business.
"Texans would be without power for more than three days to keep the federal government out of their business," Perry said.
Republicans apparently think such statements are good politics – they come straight from the website of GOP minority leader Kevin McCarthy.
With this kind of response after decades of Republican deregulation that resulted in disaster, it's fair to believe that Democrats may have some political opening in the state.