The Widdershins

Archive for August 15th, 2013

Good Thursday, Widdershins.

My mother’s relatives are  widely afflicted with a condition known en famille as “suicidal candor”.  They are never, ever rude, as that would be a mortal sin.  Instead, they tell you that your new dress is just lovely, the color is rather flattering all things considered, and by and large it does not over-accent those anatomical areas that you are striving to cover.  Such family “compliments” tended to make me go sneaking out in my new dress well-covered by a nontransparent raincoat despite drought conditions.  I mention all this because of late, the Republican party has in general suffered from an outbreak  this affliction, and Texas appears to be the epicenter.

Back in June, there was a town hall meeting held in Dallas.  Here’s what happened:

At a Dallas County GOP event last month, Bishop John Lawson asked Ken Emanuelson, a Tea Party activist, what the Republican Party was doing for African-American voters. The progressive group Battleground Texas posted audio from the event.

“I’m going to be real honest with you,” Emanuelson said. “The Republican Party doesn’t want black people to vote if they are going to vote 9-to-1 for Democrats.”

Of course, he said this is a most genial manner, and was somewhat surprised at the attention that he had garnered.  Eventually he confessed that he had “misspoke”.  Nevertheless, bells began to ring, and AG Eric Holder (finally!) began to notice that all is not well in  the Lone Star State,  The federal courts have had previous involvement with the Texas redistricting, however, ruling unfavorably on the new districts in August of 2012.  Seems as though Texas, which was awarded four additional seats in the House because of population growth, clean forgot that more than  3/4ths of said growth was due to increases in the Hispanic population and redrew districts accordingly to their shared Republican vision.   Democratic legislators discovered that stadiums, hospitals, and good schools were flying out of their districts with the speed  of light.  One district was redrawn completely to include a school attended by the incumbent’s grandchildren, as well as a country club or two.  Here’s what HuffPoshas to say:

Last August, for example, a federal court concluded that a congressional redistricting map was “enacted with discriminatory intent.” In redrawing district maps, Texas politicians had excluded Latino and African-American lawmakers from the process and drew maps that diminished minority votes. For example, they split the minority community in Dallas-Fort Worth into four separate Anglo-controlled districts (including one “lightning-bolt” shaped district), and also packed minority voters into a handful of minority districts (one district was increased to 86 percent minority) to maximize the number of Anglo-controlled districts. Every predominately African-American district lost its congressional district office location and economic engines (e.g., sports arenas, hospitals, universities) — but none of the predominately Anglo districts suffered such losses. The federal court concluded that “[t]he parties provided more evidence of discriminatory intent than we have space or need to address here.”

Many more contemporary examples exist, especially at the local level. In Nueces County, Texas, for example, county officials responded to the rapidly growing Latino community, which has surpassed 56 percent of the county’s population, by gerrymandering local election districts in 2011 to diminish Latino voting strength. And in Runnels County, Texas, a court ordered that every polling place have at least one bilingual poll e had a bilingual poll worker.worker (90 percent of Latino residents speak Spanish at home), but the county defied the court — in November 2009, not one county polling place.

Yep.  There’s more than one way to skin a Longhorn.

Anyhow, AG Eric Holder finally decided to file a Section II complaint againts Texas, and here is the salient portion of the reply that DOJ received:

DOJ’s accusations of racial discrimination are baseless. In 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party’s electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats….The redistricting decisions of which DOJ complains were motivated by partisan rather than racial considerations, and the plaintiffs and DOJ have zero evidence to prove the contrary. It is perfectly constitutional for a Republican-controlled legislature to make partisan districting decisions, even if there are incidental effects on minority voters who support Democratic candidates.

In other words, if you can’t persuade a number of people to vote for you, just don’t let them vote at all, or minimize the votes that they do manage to cast as much as possible.  Elections go ever so much more smoothly of you only permit selected voters to participate.  Also, can anyone cite the article/amendment of the Constitution that shines on partisan redistricting with the stated purpose of excluding voters who do not agree with them?  I’ll be right here waiting for the response.

This is an open thread,

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