For proponents of democracy, recent developments in Texas have been heartbreaking. Republican policymakers not only approved sweeping voting restrictions, they soon after drew a heavily gerrymandered district map and launched a wildly unnecessary "audit" of 2020 election results. The steps represented a state that appeared to be moving backwards.
Yesterday, as this NBC News report made clear, the problems in the Lone Star State got a little worse.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott appointed a lawyer who briefly represented former President Donald Trump in challenging the 2020 election results to be Texas' next secretary of state. The lawyer, John Scott, will oversee next year's contests, including Abbott's own re-election battle, as well as a recently announced review of 2020 election results in four counties.
As a Texas Tribune report added, it was just days after Joe Biden was declared the president-elect when Scott "signed on as counsel to a lawsuit filed by Trump attempting to block the certification of Pennsylvania's election."
As Rachel explained on last night's show, the lawyer later dropped out of the case, but that doesn't change the fact that Scott literally helped take the lead in Trump's absurd gambit to have the results of an election thrown out. Less than a year later, Abbott decided to put him in charge of administering all elections in the nation's second largest state — including the re-election bid of the Republican governor who chose him for the job.
As my MSNBC colleague Ja'han Jones put it, "Abbott's appointment of Scott as secretary of state places unmatched authority over Texas' elections in the hands of a Trump loyalist who has endorsed the former president's baseless lies about election fraud."
What could possibly go wrong?
This comes on the heels of related news that the sham "audit" launched by Wisconsin Republicans will be led in part by a different Republican lawyer from the Trump administration who's touted the Big Lie.
In both cases, Republican officials didn't defend the moves by encouraging the public to overlook the lawyers' anti-election efforts in the recent past — raising concerns that the lawyers may have been hired in part because of their anti-election efforts in the recent past.
Indeed, Texas' GOP governor said in a written statement yesterday, "John understands the importance of protecting the integrity of our elections" — an ironic compliment given the events of November 2020.