If Republicans Expel The Tennessee Three It Will Backfire

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If House Republicans follow through on their threat to expel three Democratic lawmakers, those lawmakers can run in the special elections, and if they win, they can’t be expelled again.

The Tennessean reported:

Tennessee’s Republican supermajority is poised to take the unprecedented move of expelling three Democrats as punishment for violating House decorum rules by using a bullhorn on the House floor to lead a protest calling for gun reform.

House members are expected to vote Thursday to remove Reps. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, Justin Jones, D-Nashville, and Justin Pearson, D-Memphis, from elected office after the trio brought the chamber to a halt for nearly an hour last week by speaking out of order following the deadly shooting at The Covenant School – a move House Speaker Cameron Sexton later likened to “an insurrection.”

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 head of HR and the House ethics lawyer, I appreciate them letting me know that if I am expelled, I will lose my health benefits. I also appreciate the ethics lawyer, letting me know that in one case, a member who was potentially up for expulsion

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

Heavens to Betsy, all this does not mean I am considering resigning-NEVER. I am ready to have my hearing in the public view, #LetsGo

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

The Three have garnered national attention, and Tennessee Democratic Party is already fundraising to support them in the special elections. If the three expelled legislators were to win their special elections, they would return to the state House where the constitution forbids them from being expelled again.

Republicans keep finding new ways to demonstrate their extremism. The way not to respond to a mass school shooting in your state is to ignore action on gun violence, and expel lawmakers who stand with the people in your state who want something done 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 expel The Three.

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