Tennessee vote marks latest GOP move to stifle dissent, experts say

Tennessee vote marks latest GOP move to stifle dissent, experts say

The Washington Post reports:

Tennessee Republicans’ dramatic expulsion of two Democrats who agitated for gun control in the state Capitol after a mass killing is the latest move by Republican state leaders around the country to stifle dissent and expand their power base, free speech experts say.

In Montana, Texas, Florida, Virginia and elsewhere, Republicans have moved in other ways to silence opposition in recent months, actions that might ultimately erode the country’s democratic ideals, they said.

“This Tennessee case is an example of norm-eroding legislative tactics that will further disrupt a healthy political system,” said Jake Grumbach, an associate professor of political science at the University of Washington. The expulsion of the legislators is a “more extreme version” of earlier GOP tactics, such as recent restrictions Republicans placed on incoming Democratic governors in Wisconsin and, to a lesser degree, Michigan, he said. [Continue reading…]

Greg Sargent writes:

The Tennessee state legislature’s expulsion of young Democratic lawmakers as punishment for protesting gun violence is being widely described as an extraordinary outlier. President Biden declared the move “without precedent.” Others see it as a rare throwback to hardball tactics largely not seen since the civil rights era or even the Civil War.

All of that is true enough, but the Tennessee events are also part of a larger story that is unfolding all around the country: GOP state legislatures are resorting to increasingly novel, overbearing and indefensible power plays to hold off the rising tides of backlash unleashed by their descent into reactionary rule. [Continue reading…]

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