This is an unintentionally entertaining piece: “Top Democratic attorneys are arguing before state and federal courts that district maps drawn in a handful of states violate the Voting Rights Act by improperly packing African American voters into a small number of districts, limiting their influence.” Mostly because that was one of two times where the phrase ‘African American’ was used (the other was “The U.S. Supreme Court in March ordered a lower court to consider whether Alabama’s legislature similarly packed African American voters into state legislative districts to minimize their influence[*]”). This is an issue because there were so many other opportunities for Reid Wilson to use the term ‘African American:’
- Missouri, May 2011: “Missouri GOP, African-Americans kill Russ Carnahan’s seat.” Title says it all, really.
- North Carolina, July 2011: “Rep. Butterfield is a beneficiary (along with Rep. Mel Watts of NC-12) of the racial gerrymandering system set up in response to the Voting Rights Act; and he made some rather pointed objections to the first map, arguing that it ‘disenfranchised’ some of his former constituents by moving them into majority-white districts. North Carolinan Republicans thought about it – and must have decided that they agreed, because they went into the maps again and redrew both Butterfield’s and Watt’s districts to make them more in line with the VRA’s perceived guidelines.” Admittedly, I didn’t use the phrase ‘African American’ here, either – but the point is that the GOP-controlled legislature worked with African-American legislators to redistrict North Carolina.
- Illinois, September 2011: “…all three African-American Congressmen from Illinois are loudly complaining that the current redistricting map as drawn may be in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.” That map was drawn by Democrats, note.
- Maryland, October 2011: “The central issue for redistricting politics in Maryland is that the last ten years have seen a net growth in the minority population, to the point where African-American and Hispanic activists have been arguing that Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties need to be stopped being used as an anchor point for bizarre, convoluted Democratic-controlled gerrymandering schemes. ” Also a Democrat-drawn map.
Those are just the four that I personally remembered writing up, but there are others (for example, Rep. Corrine Brown’s objections to having her Florida district altered springs to mind). I have been saying this literally for years: the GOP has a tacit agreement with many minority Democratic politicians. The GOP creates safe majority-minority districts, and the minority politicians who benefit from those seats shut up and accept the incumbent insurance.
Now, you may think of this as a bit of a devil’s bargain (on everybody’s behalf). Fine. So do I. But let’s not pretend – as the Washington Post apparently wishes us to – that this is a simplistic, black-and-white (ahem) problem. The brutal truth of the matter is that the white portion of the Democratic party has two, mutually exclusive survival options. One, it can abandon the progressive positions that are hurting it among white voters. Or two, it can smash existing majority-minority districts like so many walnuts and use those districts’ reliably Democratic voters to go elect more white people.
It looks like white Democrats are going to go with Option Two. Should be interesting to see how that plays out. …And no: there’s no Option Three. White Democrats seem to default to having a real problem with electing minority Democrats to statewide or federal offices.
(Via Hot Air Headlines)
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*it should be noted here that the Alabama decision involves a somewhat specialized question as to whether the state legislature needed to draw a map that so rigorously followed the percentage of African-American voters in Alabama (25%, in both population and members of the legislature).