As Richard Harpootlian (cq), chairman of the South Carolina Democratic party, told me: “When the only issue is race, idiots win, black and white.”
An attorney, Harpootlian has noticed the skillful, if cynical, way that Southern Republicans have turned black-packed districts to their advantage. Since the 1990s, GOP strategists have encouraged the creation of districts with huge black majorities — even though they can be counted on to elect a Democrat (usually a black one).
What do Republicans get out of the deal? With most black voters pushed into one or two districts, they have rid surrounding districts of voters who might shun a politician who claims allegiance to the Rebel flag or who insists that President Barack Obama is a foreigner. In other words, they make neighboring districts safe for ultra-conservative Republicans.
With huge gains in last fall’s elections, Republicans now control most state legislatures, providing them a distinct advantage in the re-districting battles that have followed last year’s census. And they’re using that advantage to continue packing black voters into a handful of districts.
I don’t know if race alone is the reason, but the Texas legislature has produced a redistricting plan that looks like bird droppings or a bad Jackson Pollock imitation. (via)
As far as I know, there have even been alliances between the republicans and black democrats to produce heavily black districts. It also increases the chances of black democrats to beat white democrats, especially in urban areas.
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D) is the reason. The GOP has never even come close to unseating him in Travis County (Austin) and never will, and they know it. Travis County is an oasis of rational secularism in the middle of a theocratic state.
The Texas plan is all about getting Doggett. It’s actually quite comic when you take a step back and realize how much time and energy the Goopers are putting into trying to unseat one Dem and at the cost of making a group of Gooper seats far more vulnerable. What they are hoping to do, of course, is turn the Dems into the party of minority voters, but even that will come to bite them fairly soon with the demographic shifts in the state. And Doggett has already shown once that he can win a minority-majority district so this strategy might not even manage to accomplish what the Goopers hope it will.
So we’re back to the old Gangs Of New York standard, then. All politics by tribe, all the time.
Sounds like ghetto-ization to me. If you can’t physically force them into one area, you can force their votes into one area.
Another advantage for the Republicans of majority-minority districts is that is pushes black elected politicians to the left. Anyone who is liberal enough to win in a majority black district has zero chance of winning at the state level. Thus, majority black or Hispanic districts help Republicans by limiting the chances of moderate Democrats to have a political career.
Yup, these gilded cages work out great for a select few, and if the minority politicians who represent these districts don’t start out corrupt, they often seem to end up that way. Take my (thankfully) former Congressman Albert Wynn (MD-4), who wound up his multi-term tenure being best buds with the likes of Smoky Joe Barton and Billy Tauzin, while voting for the Iraq War, the 2005 Bankruptcy Act, and for that atrocious Christianist-led Terry Schiavo government intervention initiative. None of these votes helped his constituents, and voting in the opposite direction would not have caused him one iota of trouble in the district.
Thank goodness for current MD-4 rep Donna Edwards, who (so far at least) is showing no signs of the same moral/ethical degradation.
@Chris: *Taps knife tip against glass eye* “Clink, clink.”
What’s putting the shitstains on their Underoos is that Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio all went blue last election.
The trend is against the GOP and they know it. The last two cycles our urban areas shifted to more purple and blue.
The racial profiling by politicians of Latinos hasn’t helped them, and it is a self-destructive tactic since otherwise this is a demographic that is economically and in some areas socially conservative.
We’re also a younger state than much of the South and our cities have a large number of universities.
But yes, the famous redistricting after our Dems ran off to Oklahoma will take awhile to unwind. If in fact it ever does.
We’re sending you another Governor turned President. No, no thanks are necessary… ;-)
Every racial and ethnic group can play this game. Here in OC, our Congressional map resembles a jelly donut: five safe Republican districts surrounding a central pocket that is overwhelmingly Hispanic and reliably Democratic.
redistricting in Ohio is probably going to cost Kucinich his seat. I imagine his latest histrionics about Libya and NATO are an attempt to fluff his NWest Coast fan base so he can move out there. Not sure why he wants to even keep running frankly. He would probably be more affective as a lobbyist for some ultra left organization. I would love to see him do something about organizing the Greens regionally so that they aren’t running some weird Preznit candidate every four years. Or are paying more attention to developing candidates at the local level or putting some grass roots efforts into green issues. Seems there would be lots of opportunities for someone who actually has DC inside experience to help marginalized interest groups get some attention.
I’ve never had much good to say about Congressman Mike McCaul (R – Clear Channel Communications) but even he has stated publicly that the decision to slice Austin’s Travis County into 5 different districts in order to target Doggett isn’t reasonable.
Doesn’t matter. They cannot stop the inevitable unstoppable force of demographic changes. Last election was only a blip in time. The majority of Americans will be non-caucasian in a few more election cycles and no amount of re-districting can stop it.
Say what, now? How is it that you do not understand that the lunatic right can do irreversible damage to this country before demographic change catches up with them?
Reveling in your own stupidity is no way to go through life, son.
It’s called Gerrymandering. You use redistricting to either concentrate the minority votes into single districts or dilute them in majority districts.
Used to be that redistricting was a slow painful process since moving one block of a particular ethnic mix added that mix to one district but at the expense of another. Unfortunately software makes it way to easy to “move” blocks around.
“With huge gains in last fall’s elections, Republicans now control most state legislatures, providing them a distinct advantage in the re-districting battles that have followed last year’s census. And they’re using that advantage to continue packing black voters into a handful of districts.”
Yep. And it’s been done before whenever these….people get into power.
But last year, when the warnings went out, what did we do? We sat it out to send the President a message. Why are we so shocked by the way the Republicans are acting so punch-f**king drunk? They were going to do this, they pretty much said it, and we…ignored it and instead grabbed our bat and ball and stayed home.
It’s been tough enough cleaning up Bush’s mess. It’s going to get even harder, thanks to these insensitive jerks.