Seth Meyers on GOP voting restrictions in Texas: ‘They’re not hiding it or being shy about it’

On Wednesday’s Late Night, Seth Meyers ridiculed Republican efforts in Texas to pass sweeping restrictions on voting, after Trump won in Texas with the smallest margin for a Republican in 24 years, and Biden got the largest percentage of any Democratic candidate since Jimmy Carter won the state in 1976.

“Republicans are terrified of the possibility that Democrats could continue making gains in Texas and potentially win the state’s electoral votes in a future presidential election,” Meyers said. “They’re not hiding it or being shy about it.”

Earlier this month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott called a special legislative session to pass a series of voting restriction laws. State Democrats later fled to Washington in an attempt to thwart measures that would criminalize election officials who proactively send mail-in ballots, ban 24-hour voting, ban drive-thru voting, add new ID requirements for mail-in voting and expand the power of partisan poll watchers.

“It’s one thing to say, ‘We can’t lose Texas, so we need to work on our message and our policies,’” Meyers said. “It’s another to say, ‘We can’t lose Texas, so we’re changing the rules.’ It’s like Subway deciding between actually using tuna or calling it ‘tuna’ and hoping no one notices.”

Texas already has some of the most restrictive voting laws in the US and was among the states with the lowest turnout in 2020. It is one of the few states without online voter registration, and allows only those 65 and older, with a disability or who meet other criteria to vote by mail.

The new measure would suppress voter turnout, particularly among black Texans. An earlier draft of the bill even barred voting before 1pm on Sundays, a clear attempt to thwart long-standing “souls to the polls” initiatives by black churches. Though the provision was eventually removed, “still, it’s been clear from day one what this is all about,” Meyers said. “Republicans admitted it. They want to hold on to power in Texas.”

“The rules in Texas are already clearly skewed to the types of voters Republicans want to show up to the polls,” he added. For example, under the state’s voter ID law, a handgun permit is an acceptable form of ID but a state-issued university ID is not. “That’s really the whole game,” Meyers said. “The only way it could be more obvious is if they said ‘You can’t use a driver’s license but you can use a Maga online store frequent shopper card.’”

Stephen Colbert recapped pop sensation Olivia Rodrigo’s visit to the White House on Wednesday to encourage teens to get the Covid vaccine. “Rodrigo told everyone who’s already been vaxxed, ‘good 4 u, you look happy and healthy,’” Colbert said. “If you didn’t get that reference, I’m guessing you’ve been eligible for a vaccine since December.”

“The White House needs all the help it can get promoting the vaccine because Fox News and the GOP do not, uh, what’s the word … care whether you live or die,” he added. Case in point: GOP-controlled Tennessee, whose department of health will halt all adolescent vaccination outreach for not just coronavirus, but all diseases, after pressure from Republican lawmakers. The state has one of the worst vaccination rates in the country, “and they aim to keep it that way,” said Colbert.

The Late Show host also discussed a rash of books on the final days of the Trump presidency, some whose titles are Trump quotes, such as “I Alone Can Fix It” and “Frankly, We Did Win This Election.”

“Those, of course, join the ranks of other great titles like ‘People Are Flushing Toilets 10 Times, 15 Times,’ ‘The Kidney Has a Very Special Place in the Heart,’ ‘Person, Woman, Man, Camera, TV: The Book,’ and of course, ‘In Europe, They Live — They’re Forest Cities, They’re Called Forest Cities. They Maintain Their Forest. They Manage Their Forest. I Was With the Head of a Major Country — It’s a Forest City,’” Colbert quipped.

The new material includes details on Trump’s fury with Brett Kavanaugh after the Supreme Court Justice sided with the majority in its decision not to hear any of the former president’s election challenges. Trump felt Kavanaugh owed him a favor for sticking by him during his contentious confirmation hearings, when he was accused of sexual assault. “Where would he be without me?” Trump said in an interview for Michael Wolff’s book Landslide. “I saved his life. He wouldn’t even be in a law firm. Who would have had him? Nobody.”

“Well, that’s not true – I’m sure he would’ve been welcome at the law firm of Tobin, PJ & Squee: the boof will set you free!” Colbert joked. “Of course, the former president can’t give a quid without hoping for a little pro quo.”

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