In a previous Captain’s Comment, I mentioned the turmoil in Texas over redistricting. The law allows for voting districts to be redrawn after each national census, and it has traditionally been the perk of the party in power to draw the new district lines. During the decades of Democrat control of Texas, the Democrats exercised their majority power in configuring the districts as they saw fit. But now that the Republicans are in power, the Democrats are having fits.
After angry words and an attempt to run away, the Democrats in Texas have finally realized that they don’t have the majority power any more, so they can’t ram through the bills that they want. They have already shown themselves to be spoiled children who will take their ball and go home (or to Oklahoma) if things don’t go their way, and this tendency hasn’t changed much in the last little while. Granted, the Democrats are no longer running away to Oklahoma and hiding out there as they did last year; instead, they are going to the courts to stop the Republicans. It just isn’t right that the Republicans get to have the same fun that Democrats had, and the strong arm of the judicial branch is just what the Democrats need to rein in the fun. Only it hasn’t worked.
Many different Democratic groups have filed lawsuits in an attempt to stop the redistricting of Texas, claiming that it harms minority voting rights. A widespread collection of groups has come together to champion the “little guy” in Texas: the Texas Democratic congressional delegation, mental powerhouse Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston, fellow Democratic Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas, the NAACP, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Coalition of Black Democrats, and various other Democratic groups. Actually, they aren’t that widespread after all — they are all liberals. Surprise, surprise!
On January 6, 2004, a three-member judicial panel upheld the redistricting plan put forward by the Republicans. In an amicus brief, the liberals asserted the Republicans were trying to “redraw the state’s congressional districts solely for the purpose of seizing between five and seven seats from Democratic incumbents.” In their finding, the justices responded, “It was clear from the evidence that this assertion is true.” It is true, but that doesn’t invalidate the action. This is the normal “spoils of war” for the winning party. Sour grapes if you ask me, since the Democrats were happy enough to do the very same thing in 1991 when they controlled redistricting.
If things go well in the 2004 Congressional elections for the Republicans, they will pick up a large majority of the Texas seats and strengthen their control of the state. But this is not a foregone conclusion. The Democrats configured their boundaries in 1991 to suit their needs and make control easier, but they lost control all the same. This idea is reflected in the judges’ comment, “In Texas, redistricting advantages can be overcome through the political process. The exchange of political advantage between the Democrats in 1990 and the Republicans in 2000 demonstrates this reality.”
While it is true that the Republicans drew up the new map to benefit themselves, this action was not racially motivated. Contrary to the Democrat claim that redistricting would harm minority voting rights, the court sided with the Republicans and said that the current plan would not harm minority voting rights, nor was the plan crafted with racial bias in mind. In examining the action of placing a large Democratic area of southeast Tarrant County into District 26, the judges said, “The actions were not taken because of race; they were taken in spite of it.” Judges Patrick Higginbotham and Lee Rosenthal said, “We are compelled to conclude that this plan was a political product from start to finish. The myriad decisions made during its creation were made in spite of, and not because of, its effects upon blacks and Latinos.”
I find it very interesting and telling that liberals look at people as groups, not as individuals. To a Democrat, you are Black, Latino, Gay, Female, or some other easily-pigeonholed group. And you had better go along with their idea of how this group should behave and think, or you are an “Uncle Tom” like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, or “not Latino enough” like former judicial nominee Miguel Estrada. If you stray from the Democrats’ idea of how your group should think, act and vote, then you cease to be Black, Latino or any other minority group to which the Democrats pander.
This viewpoint is clear when you hear the comments and arguments put forth by Democrats against this redistricting. Judging by their rhetoric, you’d guess there were churches and crosses burning all across Texas. U.S. Representative Martin Frost, a Democrat from Dallas, said, “By judicial fiat, a three-judge federal panel has effectively repealed the Voting Rights Act and turned back the clock on nearly 40 years of progress for minority voters.” Is a person’s right to vote restricted or repressed if that person is part of a minority group in any given area? While I lived in Washington, I was very much in the minority as a conservative. Did that mean my right to vote was somehow thwarted since none of the senators, representatives, or governors I voted for were ever elected? Who said I had the right to elect a person? I don’t. I have the right to vote for someone, and if that someone gathers sufficient other votes, then that someone is elected.
Let’s imagine a ludicrous example: suppose the boundaries for a district were changed in such a way that each district were filled with Republican voters and one lone Democrat. Has the voting right of the Democrat been violated? No. He is still able to cast his vote for the candidate of his choice, just as everyone else can. But to hear the Democrats go on about the Texas redistricting, they seem to think that a liberal candidate failing to be elected to office is somehow an infringement of their rights. And the Democrats will march out of state and launch lawsuits to make sure none but their favorite minorities get to elect their chosen candidates.
But don’t make the mistake of being a minority who doesn’t kowtow to the liberal notion of how a minority person should behave. Then these champions of race and equality will turn on you faster than you can say “Oreo” to Condoleezza Rice.