Thursday, September 7, 2017

One Note on Gerrymandering

I'm against gerrymandering, though I haven't mentioned it a lot in the past. It's become a science in recent decades, and computers help its practitioners get even more exact. I am against it no matter who has the majority in a given state. Electoral districts should be drawn impartially rather than for partisan advantage.

The latest issue of Mother Jones has a story about the future of voting in Texas, including gerrymandering. (It's not online yet, but this is where it will be once they post it.) Recent court cases have thrown out Texas's redistricting, and it's no surprise. Here are some details from an MJ sidebar that may not be included once they post the story:

  • Austin, a deep-blue city, has been gerrymandered into six congressional districts. Five are [represented by] Republican[s].
  • Texas picked up four seats in Congress in 2012 after its population grew by 4.3 million over the previous decade.
  • Hispanics accounted for 65% of the growth; African Americans accounted for 13%. But Texas's new congressional maps created 0 new districts controlled by black or Hispanic voters.
Texas has not been majority-white since 2005, yet its 36 members of the House of Representatives break down this way:
  • 23 Republicans, 11 Democrats
  • Republicans: 20 (or more likely 21) white men, one black man, one white woman. (Bill Flores, the 21st white man, considers himself to be an "American first." His mother is of Irish descent and his father's family traces its roots back to Spanish settlers from 1725. He does not campaign as Hispanic, Chicano, or Latino.)
  • Democrats: Three white men, six black or Latino men, two black women
Does that sound as though Texans are represented in a meaningful way? Especially Texan women, in that case even among the Democrats?

Gerrymandering has to go.

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