Yesterday I added an introduction, regarding the recent federal rulings on Texas legislative districts, to the weekly Texoblogosphere recap. Today Texas Leftist sent me, in email form, this entry on that very topic.
L. Wayne Ashley's post contains a link to the same Dallas Morning News article that mine did. It also contains helpful screenshots of district maps from District Viewer, illustrating how several Congressional districts were cracked and packed to dilute ethnic minority votes.
When I was looking for a background story to link to yesterday, I clicked into this one from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. It wasn't what I needed, since it doesn't specify which federal court handed down the decision. But I like that it included this quote:
"I disavow that. Did anybody here intend to discriminate against minorities when we voted that?" Republican state Rep. Larry Phillips said on the House floor earlier this month. "That's what we were just told. They were saying we intentionally did that. We had intent to do that. I reject that."
Disingenuous much, Rep. Phillips? Even in Texas, it's possible that none of the Republican legislators involved conspired explicitly to limit the voting power of Texans of color. Their main aim was to thwart Democrats. As in other states, Texas Republicans clearly conspired to create districts that diluted Democratic representation, as the ludicrous shapes of certain districts amply convey. Just as Ronald Reagan didn't have to say "black" when he said "welfare queen," nobody in Austin had to say "black and brown" when they said "Democrats."
In Texas in 2016, 57.1% of all the US House votes went to Republican candidates, 37.1% to Democrats. But Republicans retained 25 out of 36 seats, a 69-31 split. In eight of the 25 Republican districts, the Democratic Party essentially said "Why bother?" (The GOP sat out only two races out of 11 in blue districts.)
If Democrats had run candidates in those eight, their nominees would have added to that 37.1%, thus making the discrepancy between Republican votes and Republican representation even wider. How many of Hal Ridley's 11% in District 36 and Gary Stuard's 10% is District 32 were dyed-in-the-wool Greenies? Between them, Ridley and Stuard received more than 48,000 votes; most of those votes, I'd wager, would have gone to Democrats if the Democrats had nominated a Gary Yarbrough clone, along with a heaping helping of what Republican incumbents received.
Back to #DemEnter and #DemExit
I bring all this up not because I hold any great love for the moribund Democratic Party or its avatars in Congress. However, I do believe that the Democrats deserve a chunk of the blame for letting Republicans run the table election after election, becoming increasingly odious with each electoral cycle.
The Clintonian strategy of triangulation has jumped the track. Since the 1990s, Democrats have moved the political center farther to the right in order to attract major donations, while Republicans have embraced increasingly fascistic rhetoric and policies. Yet the Democratic establishment types wonder why Progressives keep abandoning the party.
Even as a Green, my ex-Democrat mind can entertain fantasies of Progressives #DemEntering, queuing up to run in primary elections, refusing PAC money as Bernie Sanders or Beto O'Rourke have done, defeating middle-of-the-road candidates, and claiming the Democratic Party for the 99%. However, even post–Sanders insurgency, even with groups like Indivisible, Brand New Congress, and Our Revolution working on it, I am by no means optimistic about those fantasies coming true. As we say in Texas, that donkey won't hunt.
I would also love to see true Progressives join the Green Party in a mass migration, their momentum sweeping politicians of conscience into the fold, and the Greens replacing the Democrats as the people's party. If this happens, it will not happen because of anything the Greens do to recruit Progressives, but will happen of its own accord. Post-Bernie, enough Progressives who have clung to their Democratic voting habits are awake enough for that migration to occur, when the Democrats' rightward movement reaches a tipping point.
Even then, elected Greens would have to sharpen their negotiating skills to make certain that Republicans cannot redistrict them back into the cupboard. They will need to get the people on their side, mad as hell, unable and unwilling to indulge political rip-offs like partisan gerrymandering.
Tangentially Related Bonus Video from Jimmy Dore
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
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