Thursday, October 07, 2021


The 2024 presidential election could be bad, but as I keep telling you, the crisis of democracy has already arrived in purple states controlled by Republicans. I'm not sure whether the proposed redistricting maps described by Ari Berman of Mother Jones will survive intact, but it's clear from the recommendations that Republicans want a permanent one-party pseudo-democracy at the legislative level in Texas, and particularly want severe restrictions on the electoral influence of non-white voters.
The Dallas–Fort Worth area has grown faster than any part of Texas, with more Latinos living there than in the entire state of Colorado, notes Michael Li of the Brennan Center for Justice. Yet instead of creating a new majority-Latino congressional district, Republicans chopped up diverse cities like Carrollton, which is 60 percent nonwhite ... into five different congressional districts to undermine minority voting power....

White voters have been a minority in Texas since 2004 and over the past decade 95 percent of the state’s growth came from communities of color, but the GOP’s proposed congressional map increases the number of white Republican districts and decreases the number of majority-Latino and majority-Black districts. It packs minority voters into as few urban areas as possible in cities like Austin, Dallas, and Houston to limit their representation, while spreading out the rest among deeply red exurban and rural areas to nullify their influence. Despite gaining nearly 2 million Hispanic residents and more than 500,000 Black residents since 2010, Republicans didn’t draw a single new majority-Latino or majority-Black congressional district. Instead, the two new House seats the state gained due to population growth were given to majority-white areas in Austin and Houston.

Republican House candidates won 53 percent of the statewide vote in 2020 but would hold a projected 65 percent of seats under the new lines, which were approved by the state Senate redistricting committee on Monday. The number of safe GOP seats would double, from 11 to 22, while the number of competitive districts would fall from 12 to just one....

Under the GOP’s proposed map for the state Senate, 20 of 31 districts would have white majorities, even though white people make up just under 40 percent of the state’s population. The number of pro-Trump districts increases from 16 to 19.

The proposed state House map, like the congressional map, would also create more white districts and fewer districts where Black and Hispanic people make up a majority of eligible voters. The number of majority white districts would rise from 83 to 89 out of 150, while the number of Latino districts shrinks from 33 to 30, and the number of Black districts falls from seven to four.
I don't know how many more ways I can say that democracy is already dead in Texas at the legislative level, and that we're focused on a potential crisis of democracy three years from now while lagely ignoring the one that's already here. I know that most of the elite media doesn't live in Texas (or Georgia or Wisconsin or Florida or Arizona or Michigan, where democracy at the legislative level is similarly rigged). I know that there's a green-eyeshade quality to the map-drawing process that lacks the melodrama of Donald Trump addressing insurrectionists, or even Greg Abbott signing a draconian abortion bill into law. But this needs to be talked about as much as January 6 is talked about. This is happening now, and not enough people care. Where's the Timothy Snyder book or Robert Kagan essay about this? Where are the Morning Joe segments? When will self-proclaimed democracy defenders start noticing the democracy that we've already lost?

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