You know one of the reasons the GOP has such a grip on the House of Representatives? It’s the Voting Rights Act.
See, the Voting Rights Act was how Democrats, back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s ensured districts were created that were “majority-minority.” That guaranteed states would have at least one and frequently more black representatives. Democrats then expanded that to include hispanic voters.
But then the Democrats ran into problems. As Southern whites began shifting to the Republican Party, that meant that frequently the only elected congressional Democrats would be black. Democrats had so wrapped themselves around the idea of the Voting Rights Act requiring majority-minority districts that they could not walk away from it. That then began having an effect at state levels too.
In Georgia, for example, the only Democrats elected to federal office are the black congressmen in the majority minority districts. When Democrats last controlled redistricting in Georgia, they sought to dilute those districts to boost their competitiveness in surrounding Republican districts. But the black community became enraged at the idea. The result was a series of bizarre districts that federal courts threw out because they were so irrationally drawn.
Through a series of court precedents and the requirements of the Voting Rights Act, states were having to create more bizarrely gerrymandered districts to continue ensuring there’d be majority-minority districts proportional to the number of minorities in a state. The result is a greater Republican grip on Congress as Democrats are all lumped into a few districts to ensure the Congressional Black Caucus keeps its numbers up.
Democrats have finally seen the light and they know they’re going to have to gut the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus if they want to increase their numbers. Their Judas goat to get the NAACP, CBC, etc. to go along with it is none other than Eric Holder.
Democrats ruefully acknowledge now that before the 2010 census, riding high after Mr. Obama’s 2008 victory and seemingly secure in their hold on Congress, they were far less prepared than Republicans in gearing up for legislative reapportionment. The Republican Party mounted a ferocious state-by-state campaign that gave it overwhelming control of redistricting, allowing it to lock in many victories in the 2010 midterm elections.
In the run-up to 2020, Democrats say, their goal in many places will be not to seize control of redistricting, but merely to capture one or two key offices to keep Republicans from locking them out of the process. Right now, there are 25 states in which Republicans control the whole government — the governorship and the legislature — versus just six wholly controlled by Democrats.
Mr. Holder said his initiative would unfold on three fronts: In court, where Democrats will challenge Republican-drawn maps they see as violating the law; on the campaign trail, where they will seek to win offices that influence redistricting; and through ballot referendums in states that allow voters to give direct approval to laws mandating new procedures for legislative apportionment.
This all makes it sound like the Democrats are just going to try to grab key seats that will participate in map drawing. But that is not really what must take place. Democrats, particularly in the South, will have to dilute majority minority districts causing Democrat numbers to go up in Republican controlled districts. That means Republican numbers will go up in Democrat districts.
Democrats remain so convinced Republicans are racist, they are going to have to convince themselves Republicans might vote for a black candidate. And, by the way, Republicans will vote for a black candidate if that black candidate has an “R” next to his name.
This is going to set off a civil war among the party that plays in identity politics and it is going to be fantastic to watch.