Democracy is “literally dying in the dark,” one commentator warned.
Wednesday morning, with much of the country asleep, the Republican-dominated Texas House approved a heavily gerrymandered district map that critics denounced as part of an undemocratic and racist GOP takeover. – one that right-wing lawmakers might try to replicate across the United States.
“Democrats… may soon be powerless to prevent the GOP from gaining control of the US House and state capitals over the next decade. “
At around 3:30 a.m. local time, Texas lawmakers passed the GOP State House redistribution proposal in a largely partisan vote after about 14 hours of debate. The bill, drafted by State Representative Todd Hunter (R-32) and designed to set the boundaries of Texas House’s 150 districts, now heads to the Republican-controlled State Senate.
In addition to a host of other right-wing priorities, the Texas legislature is rushing to approve maps of the State House, State Senate, and Congressional Districts before its third session expires. extraordinary of the year on October 19.
Democracy is “literally dying in the dark”, Mother Jones journalist Ari Berman tweeted in response to the passage of his card by the Texas House. Earlier this month, Berman argued that, if fully approved, the Republicans-drawn district maps would make “Texas political representation much whiter and more Republican, thus ending competition at the same time. where the ascendant Democrats finally make the state competitive. “
Texas Democrats echoed this criticism after Wednesday’s vote. Representative Chris Turner (D-101) said in a statement that “the redistribution should be about drawing fair maps that accurately represent the population of our state, whose tremendous growth has been fueled almost entirely by minority communities.”
“Instead, we witnessed 4 pm of Texas Republicans denying the importance of protecting neighborhoods of opportunity for minorities and carving out communities of interest,” Turner said. “In their rush to adopt their discriminatory card, the Texas Republicans abused the legislative process every step of the way, from the drafting of the bill through the committee hearing to tonight’s final debate.
“Now more than ever, we need the United States Senate to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to restore freedom to vote and ensure that all Texans and voters across the country receive the fair representation they deserve,” added Turner.
As the Texas Tribune reported Wednesday: “For the first time in decades, Texas lawmakers are allowed to draw and pass political maps without first obtaining federal approval. “
“This preclearance requirement, for states like Texas with a history of discriminating against voters of color in the redistribution, was removed in 2013 by the United States Supreme Court,” the United States Supreme Court said. Tribune noted, referring to the Shelby decision. “In an attempt to remedy the absence of this requirement, State Representative Toni Rose, a Democrat from Dallas who serves as vice chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, proposed an amendment that would have required a federal court district to sign the card before this could take effect. The change, Rose said, would have ensured “that Texas follows the rules.” It failed. “
“These cards only preserve the status quo at the expense of black and brown Texans.”
After Texas Republicans unveiled their redistribution proposals earlier this month, Common Cause Texas executive director Anthony Gutierrez said in a statement that “these cards only preserve the status quo at the expense of Texans. black and brown “.
Texas’ gerrymandering effort comes as state legislatures across the country – many of which are totally dominated by Republicans – scramble to redraw congressional district boundaries for the next 10 years, a dark but profound process. consequent which could have an impact on the whole country. InterceptionRyan Grim warned in April that “Republicans are on the verge of returning to a majority” in the US Congress “if Democrats stand aside and let them go.”
In March, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed the For the People Act, a sweeping voting rights bill that would ban the type of gerrymandering Republicans are attempting to conduct in states across the country. But the Republican minority has blocked the bill in the Senate, and Democrats have so far refused to change or remove the 60-vote obstruction rule in order to pass the legislation.
A compromise version of the For the People Act – the recently introduced Freedom to Vote Act – would also ban extreme partisan gerrymandering, but the bill has yet to receive a vote in the House or Senate.
Berman noted earlier this month that the “same strategy” the Texas Republicans are deploying to secure their grip on power may soon be used as a model by other key GOP-led states, unless the Democrats do not act immediately.
“Republicans only need five seats to retake the House and could get there through gerrymandering in Texas, Georgia, Florida and North Carolina,” Berman wrote. “Democrats are running out of time to spend [the Freedom to Vote Act] or devise a strategy to overcome a GOP obstruction – and may soon be powerless to stop the GOP’s takeover of the US House and state capitals for the next decade.
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