If the Republicans drive out the Tennessee Three, it’s going to backfire

If House Republicans follow their threat to expel three Democratic lawmakers, those lawmakers can run in the special election, and if they win, they cannot be expelled again.

The Tennessean reported:

Tennessee’s Republican supermajority is poised to take the unprecedented step of expelling three Democrats as punishment for violating House etiquette by using a megaphone on the House floor to lead a protest demanding gun reform.

Members of the House of Representatives are expected to vote Thursday to remove Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, Justin Jones, D-Nashville, and Justin Pearson, D-Memphis, from elected office after the trio left the chamber last week by speaking out of turn after the fatal Covenant School shooting – a move House Speaker Cameron Sexton later likened to “a riot”.

If the Democrats are expelled, they will lose their health insurance.

One of the Tennessee Three, Rep. Gloria Johnson, tweeted:

I just had a visit from the Chief Human Resources Officer and the House Ethics Attorney. I appreciate that they let me know that if I am deported I will lose my health benefits. I also appreciate the ethics attorney for letting me know that there was a case where a member might have been expelled

— Rep. Gloria Johnson (@VoteGloriaJ) April 5, 2023

Heavens to Betsy, none of this means I’m considering quitting – EVER. I’m ready to have my hearing in public #LetsGo

— Rep. Gloria Johnson (@VoteGloriaJ) April 5, 2023

The three have garnered national attention, and the Tennessee Democratic Party is already raising funds to support them in the special election. If the three expelled representatives won their special election, they would return to the House of Representatives, where the constitution bars them from being expelled again.

Republicans are always finding new ways to demonstrate their extremism. The way not to respond to a school mass shooting in your state is to ignore gun violence policies and rule out lawmakers who stand with the people of your state who want to do something about mass shootings.

If Republicans insist on abusing their power in Tennessee, they should be prepared for the backlash and consequences of their behavior. Even in a red state like Tennessee, voters have a breaking point, and Republicans are about to find out if voters will punish them if they drive out the three.

Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House press pool and congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a bachelor’s degree in political science. His thesis focused on public policy with a specialization in social reform movements.

Awards and professional memberships

Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Political Science Association

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