White Democratic party declares war on Black Democratic party. And, oh, yeah, the GOP.

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.

Michigan redistricting makes John Conyers cry.

Elections have consequences.

Or at least scream: it turns out that the redistricting map for Michigan signed off on by Republican governor Rick Snyder last week seriously discombobulates long-time Democrat and House Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers. The new map (which, incidentally, handles Michigan’s loss of a Congressional seat by effectively eliminating Democrat Gary Peters’ seat and making the rest more party-friendly) pretty much took Conyer’s MI-14 seat and redrew it until he had roughly 20% of the same constituents that he started off with.

If you’re wondering why the Republicans think that they can get away with that – particularly since Conyers is an African-American with a majority-minority district – it’s because the Michigan GOP was very careful in drawing this district (and, apparently, MI-13). As I understand it, the new district is in point of fact drawn to reflect the racial gerrymandering requirements of the Voting Rights Act: which is to say, it’s still majority-minority. It’s just no longer friendly to Conyers specifically… which is not the Republican party’s problem. Or the courts’. Or Michigan’s, really. Or possibly even the Democratic party’s: Conyers may have run unopposed in the 2010 primary, but that’s apparently not going to happen nowContinue reading Michigan redistricting makes John Conyers cry.

2nd NC redistricting map more pointed than 1st one.

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.

#rsrh Lefty Cynthia Tucker grumbles about racial gerrymandering.

If you can get past the reflexive Republican- and conservative-hating (which unfortunately colors the rest of the article, so maybe you can’t, or at least shouldn’t), this article by Cynthia Tucker on racial gerrymandering (via comments here) hits the major problems with such a scheme.  Which are: it creates hyper-partisan districts that typically produce absolute clowns for legislators; it allows the Republican party to easily create merely partisan districts for its side; and racial gerrymandering essentially eliminates any need for the Democratic party to take seriously the desires and concerns of African-American voters (the Democrats like having clown legislators, as they’re easier to control).

Mind you, Cynthia Tucker doesn’t take it far enough – but that’s mostly because Cynthia Tucker apparently isn’t fond of white people, or at least white, conservative people.  The problem with majority-minority districts is not that that they’re majority-minority districts; it’s that they’re usually hyper-partisan Democratic districts.  If voters in them wised up and voted for Republican candidates more often Cynthia Tucker would be amazed at how quickly the Democrats would abandon defending the principle of racial gerrymandering.  And – this article aside – she’d probably be a little nauseated, too…