Texas plan cuts black and Latino districts despite increasing touchpoint population


Democrats have been wringing their hands for months as they wait for the near certain partisan Gerrymander in Texas after the 2020 census, which added two House districts to the traditionally Republican voting state. Many have wondered how bad the national map would be after Texas, which is fully controlled by the GOP, went full blast with more of their twisty and twisty congressional district maps. With the release of the GOP’s first Texas District Map yesterday, there is both good news and bad news.

The good news

Republicans were apparently so frightened by the prospect of a surge of Democrats in the state that they spent all of their energy drawing districts in a way that even more strongly protected their Congressional delegation holders. But to create secure seats for GOP representatives, they also had to create more secure seats for Democrats.

The report The result is that the much-feared additional advantage in Congress that Republicans could have enjoyed in Texas did not materialize, at least not under that first proposed card. The old card had given the GOP a 23-13 advantage in the 36-seat Texas House of Representatives delegation. Twelve of these seats have in fact become quite competitive over the past decade due to demographic changes such as in 2020 many of those 23 GOP seats were no longer considered ‘safe’.

In the proposed new map, however, the number of secure GOP seats would drop from 11 to 22, with a compromise in the number of Democratic secure seats. too going from 8 to 12. This leaves one remaining leaning Dem seat and two more Republican leaning, and a single throwing seat.

If all went according to plan for the GOP, the final House delegation split in 2022 would be 24-13 with a draw. Accordingly, at more the GOP could win 2 seats in the Texas Congress. But if the draw went in the direction of the Democrats, the current 10-seat gap would remain the same at 24-14, with each side winning one seat.

The GOP failed to reap more of a net gain because it had already gerrymandered the state as far as it apparently could go. And even if he wins two seats in 2022, those seats could be offset by a gain of +2 in Democratic seats in the blue states of Oregon and Colorado, which have each won a new seat in Congress. (Efforts to gerrymander Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina may be countered by a Gerrymander supporter of New York which could create 3-5 new Democratic Districts, depending on the aggressiveness of that state’s Democratic legislative majority.) could means that the medium-term chances for Democrats to keep the House in 2022 will start more or less where they are today, that is, without the additional 6-13 seat tilt to the GOP expected from gerrymandering.

Bad news

Almost all population growth in Texas has come from communities of color. More specifically, the census figures indicate that the growth of the minority population accounted for 95 percent of the state’s growth. But you wouldn’t know from the proposed map. The state added 11 new Latino residents for every new white resident, but the proposed card does not create all new majority-minority Hispanic districts – something the voting rights law (or what’s left of it) still requires. The new card also decreases the voting power of blacks, despite the number of new black residents outnumbering new white residents by a factor of three.

The GOP map achieves this by consolidating Democratic voters more strongly in large urban areas while carefully avoiding the inclusion of suburban voters with rural GOP voters reliably. As an analyst Noted, the tortured pattern of these new districts means that “the new 37th congressional district of Texas is 55% Anglo, with only a quarter Hispanic” while “the 38th district of Texas is 50% Anglo, also with only a quarter. of the Hispanic District. ”

The proposed card also throws out two longtime black members of Congress – Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green — in the same Houston neighborhood. Here’s a close-up of how the proposed map looks around Houston, with districts like 7 and 17 reaching or curving in order to preserve the outcome the GOP wants, leaving the new District 38 looking like an hourglass:

The card packs and shatters minority votes so brazenly, however, that it is vulnerable to a lawsuit based on illegal racial gerrymandering. Indeed, the voting rights lawyer Marc Elias has threatened to sue texas immediately in Federal Court if this proposed card is adopted. And while the Supreme Court raised its hands on the issue of partisan gerrymandering, the law and the constitution still prohibit the unequal treatment of voters on the basis race.

Matt Angle, a Democratic redistribution consultant, cited Tarrant County, home to Fort Worth, as an example where otherwise robust black and Hispanic populations were divided, diluting their vote by drawing them into safe Republican districts. “I didn’t expect Republicans to endanger any of their own members, but the method they are using is to weaken the voting power of minorities,” Angle said. noted. If it goes so far as to include a racial gerrymander, the map could be thrown away and the courts could step in to draw the map, which could be disastrous for the GOP.

The proposed map might not survive in this form, either because of GOP adjustments to avoid legal challenges, or because of changes made by the courts themselves. But it does provide important insight into the Texas GOP mindset. They know they are losing the demographic battle and they fear the rapid and relentless bluing of the suburbs around major cities. Their response is not to tailor their message to try to win over more of these new voters, but rather to openly rig the system against them through voter suppression laws and extreme gerrymandering.

There is so much more weight that the GOP can preload on its side of the scale. Over the next decade, changes in the composition of the voters could and probably will bring statewide racing back to the Democrats, as we have started to see in Georgia and Arizona. The GOP in Texas is cunningly fighting to consolidate its political base, but it is built on a base that is rapidly eroding.


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