My lodeplus.com Elections blog titled “Redistricting, voter ID: the 2012 “elections” déjà vu all over again”is the crux of this blog on public policy. As I have often and vociferously asserted in the past the two are inextricable.
It is the machinations of politics passing for public policy in Texas Red that creates an environment inimical to the very essence of our republic and there is an enormous difference between republic and democracy.
Texas Red uses the “winner-take-all” method for its elections. What that means is that for national and statewide races who wins the majority vote (just over 50%) wins it all to the chagrin of the not quite 50%. Winner-take-all elections systems disenfranchise voters no less than Jim Crow laws.
Then again, democracy does that as well. Democracy is majority rule. Majority rule provides little solace, consolation and even less protection for minorities of all stripes. Moreover, the majority then creates and employs new and improved means for keeping its majority and power going out of its way to dis empower and disenfranchise the minority beit person or party.
That should be important to you. That is what is happening in Texas Red and across the nation in advance of next year’s elections.
What with what many consider the “all important” general election coming up in 2012 it’s probably important to review the efforts at redistricting in Texas Red resulting from the 2010 U.S. Census. Then again, maybe not. It really is “déjà vu all over again.”
Once again the proposed Texas Red congressional map is headed for review by the Supremes (for the second time in five years) as if the state’s slave state legacy isn’t scary enough.
Whatever the outcome, the results will be significant for both the Texas Red 2012 election in particular and congressional redistricting in general.
The 2010 U.S. Census reflects that Texas Red’s Hispanic population grew by 33% and the African-American population by 16.2% while the Anglo-Saxon population lagged at 7.5%. In representative terms this means four new districts. Given the ethnicity and racial make-up of the growth at least two of the seats should provide opportunity for Hispanics to gain representation. All four should recover voting strength for Hispanics and African-Americans where they were denied or diminished by the plan in place.
That, however, would be the case in a perfect or at least not racist world. Such is not the case in Texas Red. The state does have a slave state legacy to uphold after all.
“1) This is what happened, in a nutshell:Texas is gaining four congressional seats thanks to population growth, and the Republican Party, which controls the state legislature and governor’s mansion in Texas, drew an aggressive new congressional map that would allow the GOP to gain three of those four seats. (despite the fact that the population growth was minority-driven)
The problem for Texas Republicans is that, and for the lawmakers in other Southern states, their maps have to gain what is called “pre-clearance” from either the Justice Department or a Washington, D.C., district court, which verifies that their maps comply with the minority-protection standards in the Voting Rights Act.”
Greg Abbott, Texas Attorney General (R) moved to gain pre-clearance for the Texas 2012 map by way of the D.C. court. But not so fast, the Justice Department opted to challenge the map arguing that the map as drawn by the majority GOPer legislature “didn’t create enough majority-minority districts.” Almost all of the population growth was minority population yet the GOPer legislature created only one majority-minority district leaving the other three to the majority Anglo GOPers.
Consequently, the D.C. district court “ordered a three-judge panel in San Antonio to draw an interim map to be used for at least the 2012 primaries” due to the lack of time in advance of the primaries.
“The three-judge panel drew a new map that, instead of giving Republicans three new seats, would likely give Democrats an equal number. So Texas Red’s Attorney General Abbott filed with the U.S. Supreme Court to block that map, which the Supreme Court has done, pending a January hearing.” (and we’re back to the scary part)
The process is being further complicated by the fact that state legislative and congressional elections filings period is now closed. With no legal map would be candidates can’t file for districts that haven’t been created.
The Supremes hearing for the redistricting case is scheduled for 9 January 2012. The D.C. district court trial is set for 17 to 26 January.
Complicating all this even further are challenges to the GOPer driven, minority voter suppressing Voter ID law. Guesses on the outcome of these hearings? We’ll take that up over the weekend.
Come on, I mean it—“democracy” ain’t it grand!! Democracy??? It’s more like mob-ocracy or “tyranny by majority” you know like the fouders said. Suffice to say, in the case of Texas Red politics in the guise of public policy has ensconsed an egregious system of dominance not too far removed from the old slave state South, Jim Crow and the KKK.
From Texas Red: a cratered landscape of prisons, deplorable apartheid public education, lack of healthcare and politicians and majority population intent on keeping it that way…