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:’ Continue reading White Democratic party declares war on Black Democratic party. And, oh, yeah, the GOP.
It’s a Shadow War because neither side wants to admit that one is going on, but one is going on.
The big gap between Democratic success at the presidential level and elsewhere “is a real dilemma, I think, for democracy really, not just the Democratic Party,” said Rep. David Price of North Carolina, a 14-term congressman and former Duke University political scientist. He said Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virginia display the “most egregious” examples of gerrymandered districts for congressional and state legislative races.
This long-practiced brand of partisan map-making, Price said, helps Republicans control the legislatures of states that vote Democratic for president. But in a sign of local Democrats’ struggles to change voters’ minds, Price said the best prospect for reversing the trend – in the South, at least – is in lawsuits that allege racial bias in the way Republicans drew district boundaries.
Basically? Cannibalizing majority-minority districts for their voters. Expect to see more casual attacks on the process like this from Greg Sargent:
Today I chatted with David Wasserman, who closely tracks House districts for the Cook Political Report. Wasserman recently wrote that due to population shifts and redistricting that have resulted in huge concentrations of Democratic votes in Dem districts — wasting a lot of those votes — Democrats can now expect that the percentage of seats they win will consistently trail their victory in the overall popular vote by about four percentage points.
Bolding mine. From the point of view of the Congressmen who hold those seats, those votes aren’t wasted at all – which is why the CBC and the GOP so often find themselves on the same side of redistricting court battles. Basically, those ‘huge concentrations’ are minority voters, which is to say, black ones; and when 90% of a particular racial group consistently vote for one political party in a two-party system you tend to see operatives from both political parties take advantage of that. So we should be seeing an amusing internal struggle going on inside the Democratic party, as white Democrats attempt to bust up existing majority-minority districts and fight to stop new ones from coming into existence…
PS: Oh, one other wrinkle: black Democrats will vote for Democrats. White Democrats tend not to vote for black politicians whose name isn’t Barack Obama. So all those Congressmen in the CBC will promptly lose their jobs if their districts are redesigned, and they all know it.
Oh, God, this is rich:
[Ruy] Teixeira stresses that the main structural obstacles facing the Democrats— the legacy of GOP statehouse gerrymandering and the tendency of Democratic voters to be overrepresented in dense urban districts—mean that it’s all but impossible for the party to gain ground in this year’s midterms.
…as if the two conditions were not two sides of the same coin. That ‘gerrymandering’ exists because of those dense urban districts; those ‘dense urban districts’ are heavily minority, and the legislators that represent them are Democrats who are happy to work with Republican legislators to make sure that, frankly, white Democratic legislators take it on the chin. The problem is, of course, that nobody official can actually come out and say Look, the GOP actually wants as many minority Democratic legislators as possible, given that white Democrats refuse to vote for minority ones and minority Democrats only vote for white ones when they don’t have a choice*. That would imply that there’s been a Devil’s bargain, signed by multiple fiends… and God forbid that any of us should suggest that. Continue reading There’s a reason for gerrymandering (Spoiler: it’s called the Voting Rights Act of 1965).
My major takeaway from this Sean Trende piece [Link fixed] (“Gerrymandering Isn’t to Blame for D.C. Impasse”) is this: the Democrats lost one hell of a chance to fix their party’s own major structural problem in 2008. They had just finished a two-cycle program to seize and keep control of Congress, and they did it by electing a lot of people in swing-district territory. If they had taken those people, integrated them into their leadership properly, and not enacted the core Congressional Democrat holdouts-from-1993 wishlist, they’d probably still control Congress and the GOP would be talking up regionalism like nobody’s business.
Of course, that would have meant no stimulus, no Obamacare, no push for gun control, no Obamacare, no attempt at cap-and-trade, no Obamacare, the Keystone Pipeline, and of course no Obamacare – so there’s no way that was going to happen. Still, that was the way to go.
…And I didn’t address the actual article. Well, it’s good; and the Online Left’s going to hate it, because it doesn’t take their religious beliefs seriously. So it goes.
No, really: 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. Illinois Republicans are currently suing to have the map overturned, largely on the grounds that under the usual interpretation of federal law the new map needs to have more than one majority-Hispanic district. As this Roll Call article notes:
The Hispanic population in Illinois is greater than the black population. But the map drawn by Illinois Democrats creates three districts with a black voting-age population of more than 50 percent and one district with a Hispanic voting-age population of almost 66 percent. The district with the Hispanic super majority was drawn for Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D).
…and that Representatives Danny Davis, Jesse Jackson, Jr., and Bobby Rush all refused to contribute to the Democratic defense fund set up to handle court costs from the lawsuit (Jackson in particular has been pushing Section 2 issues with this administration). To call this open break within the Democratic party ‘awkward’ is an understatement; it is in fact seriously jeopardizing the Left’s attempt to retroactively destroy the GOP’s remarkable gains in Illinois in 2010. Continue reading Democrats condemn racist redistricting map! …for Illinois.
When the first North Carolina redistricting map came out at the beginning of July, Democrats of course bawled like stuck calves. Speaking objectively, this wasn’t a surprise: the way that it was set up, it put four Democratic Congressmen – Larry Kissell, Mike McIntyre, Brad Miller, & Heath Shuler – at a serious disadvantage in the 2012 elections. Put simply, the map threatened to flip NC from 6/7 GOP/DEM to 8/5 GOP/DEM, or even 10/3. If you examine the previous map, you’ll understand why such a dramatic shift; the Democrats went notoriously overboard in gerrymandering in 2000, when they controlled the process. In short, we had a humdinger of a karmic adjustment going on in North Carolina.
But then something interesting happened: Rep. GK Butterfield (D, NC-01) started complaining. 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.
Of course, that meant that they had to… make some unavoidable choices: Continue reading 2nd NC redistricting map more pointed than 1st one.
And it firmly embraces the old folk saying: What goes around, comes around.
To give you an idea of the shift (which is already forecasting DOOM for at least three North Carolina Democrats), here’s the old map:
Note: I wrote ‘cynical,’ not ‘inaccurate.’ It’s cynical because it admits something that most people don’t want to admit in public: if your party controls the redistricting process in your state and your state is due to either lose or gain a seat, you are going to enjoy seeing what happens to the other party’s legislators in 2012. To summarize Cook’s current findings: they forecast a current net loss of one seat for the Democrats from redistricting, mostly because the Democratic-controlled Illinois (-1 seat overall) state legislature has every intention of hosing an estimated four Republican Congressmen; but the Republican-controlled state legislatures of Georgia (+1 seat) and North Carolina (no change) are going to do precisely the same thing to Democratic Congressmen, so it all works out*.
As you might have guessed, the news that Illinois is apparently planning to rewrite the 2010 election results to eliminate all those pesky Republican freshmen is making me less than incensed that Georgia (and probably Utah) seem inclined to reinforce the lesson embodied in said election; personally, I’m just grateful that we took control of enough state legislatures to keep the Democrats from pulling more Illinois/Wisconsin shenanigans…
*To be fair, North Carolina’s existing Democratic-designed gerrymandering is epic, and is the stuff of legends among political mavens.
Karma. It’s what’s for dinner.
It’s going to hurt the Democrats quite a bit this election cycle:
The one exception to this bad Democratic news is blacks. They continue to approve of the president at near-unanimous levels. But blacks midterm turnout is also traditionally low compared to white and older voters.
Blacks were 13 percent of the vote in 2008. But blacks were only about 10 percent of the vote in recent midterm election years — like 1994, 1998 and 2006. And if the races since 2008 are any indication, the black vote is unlikely to break historic-midterm trends. This is where Obama’s absence from the ballot matters most.
But what if Obama is actually able to increase black turnout this year? The Democratic majority is most-vulnerable in the House. But Obama’s base, particularly with blacks, is concentrated in secure Democratic districts. In other words, blacks are not sizable factors in the districts in which Democrats need them most.