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I won't bury the lede: The Republicans in charge of redistricting in Texas finally put out a new map on Tuesday:

Texas GOP redistricting map
(click for version with urban insets)

It's a devilish gerrymander that makes the Illinois map look like a goo-goo wet dream — and very likely runs afoul of the VRA. I suspect the GOP knows this, but wanted to start with as extreme a "negotiating" position as possible when this heads to court. There's already an extensive discussion of the new map in wwmiv's diary, and I'll also refer you to Greg Wythe's trio of posts (here, here, and here) dissecting the plan. If you want to take a deep dive into the map, click here and go to "Select Plans" in the menu bar on the top left, then "Base Plan," then pick PLANC125, the Solomons-Seliger proposal.

But I also can't let go of the backstory here. Just a few days ago, lawmakers said they had no map prepared — none whatsoever. They appeared to beg Gov. Rick Perry to give them time to undertake redistricting in a special session, a session which Perry was bizarrely reluctant to call. He later entertained the idea, but only if the lege could promise him a map in two or three days, something which seemed remote given that legislators had kept saying they had nothing in the office. Still, it looked possible that such mapmaking could get tacked on to a session that was expected be called to reform the state's windstorm insurance program — but even this windstorm idea was potentially just pretextual. (Why would you need a pretext to call a session on redistricting? Like this whole saga, it's a mystery.)

Then Perry's hand got forced, via a Democratic filibuster on a must-pass budget bill that ran the clock out on the regular session over the weekend. So Perry had to order a special session immediately after the normal one concluded. In convening this session, Perry initially did not include redistricting on the agenda (something by law the governor must do if the legislature is to undertake work on a particular topic). But yesterday, as if by magic, Republicans produced a fully-formed map — clearly the work of many days or weeks, not something cobbled together in an afternoon on Memorial Day. Then, tada! Perry added redistricting to the calendar, which, if I had to guess, means he expects a quick vote on the new plan. But after all this insanity, I'm out of the guessing game.

The fact is that none of this makes any sense. If the GOP had a federal map ready to go during the regular session (and clearly they did), why didn't they push it through then? Why force a special session — and why go through all this additional kabuki about when and why to schedule it? Nothing at all is going to end up differently than it otherwise would. In a season full of unexpected redistricting stories, this one takes the cake as the strangest by far — and we still have some 35 states left to go!



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Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The map is pretty ugly in the DFW area (6+ / 0-)

    ...and not just because I'm being shifted from Eddie Bernice Johnson's District 30 to Pete Session's District 32.

    I do not see how this could pass VRA muster unless it is referred to a very GOP-friendly court. There is still no Hispanic seat for DFW nor a minority seat in Ft. Worth. The one upside I can see is that Smokey Joe Barton's district would contain some heavily Hispanic areas and he could prove to be vulnerable in the future.

    Cause we find ourselves in the same old mess singin' drunken lullabies--Flogging Molly

    by dalfireplug on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:07:55 AM PDT

    •  ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Xenocrypt, MichaelNY

      Joe Barton's 6th is Hispanic Majority, but he could still win easily as turnout is poor among Hispanics.

      21, Nice Calm Burkean Post-Modern Gay Democrat, NM-2 (Childhood), TX-23 (School), TX-10 (Home); SSP: wmayes

      by wwmiv on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:26:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Is it really? (0+ / 0-)

        I read that it's only plurality...

        NY-14, DC-AL (College), Former SSPer and incredibly distraught Mets fan.

        by nycyoungin on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:01:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Turnout, turnout, turnout (10+ / 0-)

        So important.  I was poking around about the San Diego board of supervisors (yes, I'm insane) and I foundthis blog post accurately predicting that a Republican incumbent, Ron Roberts, would be re-elected in a district (which includes area around UCSD as well as San Diego's gayborhood and some probably minority-heavy areas) that gave Barack Obama almost 68% of the vote:

        Though the 4th District voted 67.7 percent in favor of Barack Obama in 2008, and Republican voters only comprise 24.6 percent of the district electorate, my voter data analysis shows that Roberts is still heavily favored to win outright this Election Day.

        Now, why was this guy so confident?  

        An analysis of these maps shows a clear dynamic that may be lost on some political pundits -– that the election results will not be determined by the blue stronghold on University Avenue, but by the silent majority on Genesee Avenue.

        Ok, how did he figure out that there's a "silent majority"?

        Roberts’s voter base is high-propensity. The incumbent has strong support among precincts that consistently vote in numbers that are higher than the district average. His support is concentrated in the large residential suburban neighborhoods that are populated by mostly Caucasian, senior, long-standing home-owning residents – South University City, Clairemont, and Mission Hills. The majority of these precincts are bisected or within a short drive of Genesee Avenue.
        Democratic registration dominance doesn’t measure up. Heavily Democratic precincts are split between the mostly younger, dynamic urbanized areas bisected by University Avenue and/or surrounding Balboa Park (Hillcrest, North Park and South Park), college-centric communities (UCSD and SDSU) and the ethnically diverse communities in southeastern San Diego (Paradise Hills). Compared to Roberts’ base, voters in these neighborhoods tend to be renters, younger and more transient – characteristics of low-propensity voters that only cast ballots in large numbers for presidential elections or general gubernatorial elections.

        So, the incumbent didn't win so much with a "silent majority" as with a..."loud minority".  A minority, but they fucking show up.  This is one reason why it's frustrating to belong to a political party that basically cobbles together various groups that tend to be poorer/less-educated/less stable.  If only you could securely vote on Facebook...

        25, Dem, Dude seeing a dude, CT-04(originally), PA-02/NY-12(now)

        by Xenocrypt on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:11:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  A Slight Correction (4+ / 0-)

        TX-6 is not quite Hispanic Majority.  It's Black+Hispanic majority, and consequently majority minority.  Specifically, the numbers are:

        Anglo/Black/Hispanic/Black+Hispanic/Other
        Total 41.1/12.0/43.4/54.9/4.0
        VAP 45.8/11.4/39.0/50.1/4.1

        Unfortunately, the SSVR is only around 20%, and the Anglo population in this district are deep deep red.  It will take some cycles for this one to flip.

  •  I did up the map in DRA as best I could (13+ / 0-)

    given that so many precincts are split, the numbers may be off a little, but I think my margin of error is +/- 1%.

    Here's the breakdown:

    TX-01 - 69% McCain
    TX-02 - 64-65% McCain
    TX-03 - 62% McCain
    TX-04 - 70-71% McCain
    TX-05 - 62-63% McCain
    TX-06 - 58% McCain
    TX-07 - 60% McCain
    TX-08 - 74% McCain
    TX-09 - 74-75% Obama
    TX-10 - 56% McCain
    TX-11 - 76% McCain
    TX-12 - 57% McCain
    TX-13 - 78% McCain
    TX-14 - 65% McCain
    TX-15 - 60% Obama
    TX-16 - 67% Obama
    TX-17 - 59% McCain
    TX-18 - 79-80% Obama
    TX-19 - 72% McCain
    TX-20 - 59% Obama
    TX-21 - 56-57% McCain
    TX-22 - 64% McCain
    TX-23 - 52% McCain
    TX-24 - 59% McCain
    TX-25 - 56% McCain
    TX-26 - 60% McCain
    TX-27 - 59% McCain
    TX-28 - 60-61% Obama
    TX-29 - 66-67% Obama
    TX-30 - 82% Obama
    TX-31 - 57% McCain
    TX-32 - 55-56% McCain
    TX-33 - 57% McCain
    TX-34 - 60% Obama
    TX-35 - 59-60% Obama
    TX-36 - 59-60% McCain

    I think that not drawing a new Hispanic district in DFW is going to give the Republicans problems in the courts. TX-23 might be a problem as well.

  •  Harris (6+ / 0-)

    It's also possible to draw a second Hispanic-majority VAP seat that's about 56% Obama and pretty compact, so I'm not sure how they think they're going to get away with not doing it...

  •  . (6+ / 0-)

    Wow. Thank you for the shout out.

    21, Nice Calm Burkean Post-Modern Gay Democrat, NM-2 (Childhood), TX-23 (School), TX-10 (Home); SSP: wmayes

    by wwmiv on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:25:35 AM PDT

  •  Somewhere, probably in an attorney's office, (6+ / 0-)

    money launderer Tom Delay is smiling, as this continues the job he started a decade ago.

    As I've said in other diaries, I think the most disturbing aspect of this is the racial element.  Delay's stated purpose was to get rid of as many white Democrats as he could, and this continues the narrative they're pushing that white means Republican and black/brown means Democrat.

    I wouldn't be suprised for them to continue that when this all goes to court -- that Blacks and Hispanics and Washington Liberals are messing with Texas's right to self-determination.  Of course, no one like the governor would go that far, as it sounds like secession.  Oh, wait ....

    •  Non-Hispanic whites are now a minority in Texas (7+ / 0-)

      The Delay/Republican strategy will eventually backfire.

      In the 2010 census, non-Hispanic whites were only 45% of the Texas population.  

      While the voting population hasn't yet caught up with those numbers (because of the younger age of the Latino community, citizenship issues, and differential turnout), in the end a strategy built on pitting Texas whites vs. a brown/black coalition is a losing strategy for the Republicans.  

      Will be interesting to see what happens if the Obama campaign decides to play in Texas in 2012 - even if it doesn't win, a huge effort to increase Latino registration and turnout could lay the groundwork for more competitive statewide races and gaining legislative/Congressional seats in 2014 and beyond.

      Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

      by terjeanderson on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:35:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree it's a long-term losing strategy (10+ / 0-)

        ... but it's going to buy them another decade or so in Texas.  And I agree it would be really interesting to see if Obama makes a play in Texas.  I think we eventually have to really make a big push to win a major statewide office there -- it is hard to believe that Ann Richards in 1990 was the last Democrat to win a major statewide election.  But it's so incredibly expensive ...

      •  The GOP's last line of defense in TX are the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY

        exurbs and suburbs of Dallas and Houston. Right now, much like exurban/suburban Atlanta, those area vote 3-1 and 4-1 Republican. If the Democrats could ever get up to 40-45% of the in exurban/suburban Dallas and Houston they would be more competitive in statewide races.

        Also more Latinos voting isn't necessarily a positive for the Democrats. There are some Hispanics who are very conservative on social issues; and, as many in TX have been living there for generations, the issue of "immigration reform" may not be that important to them.

        •  Latinos vote heavily Democratic (6+ / 0-)

          Even with an element of social conservatism, almost without exception the Latino community in Texas votes 60%+ Democratic, usually higher. Only in rare cases is a Republican able to break 40%. With that kind of ratio, increasing Latino turnout in Texas is always a positive thing for Democrats.

          Just like other ethnic groups, younger Latinos are more progressive than older generations on social issues - as they age into the electorate, they will cancel out the votes of the older more socially conservative generation.

          While immigration is a key issue in the Latino community, the Republicans are screwing themselves in many other ways with both symbol and substance that go far beyond immigration. As a whole, Latinos (other than a generation of Cuban-Americans) have a much more positive view of the role of government than the current Republican party, believe in civil rights enforcement, public education, fair taxation, access to health care and other essential human services, protection for workers, and countless other issues where the right wing slash and burn approach is permanently alienating us from Republicans. Add in the immigrant bashing that Republican politicians routinely engage in, and the Republicans are creating the circumstances for Democratic dominance among Latino voters for the next two generations.

          Democrats have to work hard to take advantage of the huge Republican missteps vis a vis Latino voters -- but under no circumstances should anyone believe that increasing Latino turnout could somehow be bad for Democrats.

          Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

          by terjeanderson on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:32:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We are not helped by the Catholic church (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MichaelNY

            For it seems that our local parishes are driven by abortion/gays and not by social justice. I can lay the defeat of Solomon Ortiz in TX-27 at the feet of a few priests who openly told their congregations that it was sinful to vote for a Democrat.

            Teh stoopidTM, it hurts. Buy smart, union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: DemSign.com. NN Booth 712

            by DemSign on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 09:24:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Farenthold still won largely because of Anglos (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              KingofSpades, MichaelNY

              I have no doubt that the phenomenon that you describe had a impact on the election, by reducing margin that Ortiz won among Latinos enough to cost him the election.

              But please don't forget the reality that would not have been enough for Farenthold to win unless he was also winning among Anglo voters by a 2-1 margin. Had the electorate been entirely Latino, Ortiz would have still been handily re-elected.

              Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

              by terjeanderson on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 11:01:34 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  All VRA issues aside (there are a number of them) (4+ / 0-)

    a few districts could be winnable by 2020, especially TX-10 and TX-31. I just don't understand why they didn't make those any stronger. TX-08 is so over packed with Republicans, why couldn't McCaul go into Montgomery? Why didn't they take Killeen out of Carter's district. Sure, it's not a great map for Team Blue, but we could have done worse.

    NY-14, DC-AL (College), Former SSPer and incredibly distraught Mets fan.

    by nycyoungin on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:08:47 AM PDT

  •  23-9 to 26-10? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jj32, hilltopper, supercereal, MichaelNY

    Is that what it looks like it would be?  Which would be a net two seat Republican gain.

  •  Why No Congressional Map During Regular Session (11+ / 0-)

    Because during a Special Session, the 2/3rds rule in the State Senate no longer applies. Republicans now only need a simply majority in both chambers.

    It probably would have slowed down the session to a crawl fighting over this map. Why pass it during the regular and compromise when you can pass it during a special and not care?

  •  Given court VRA history (8+ / 0-)

    I'm surprised they were this blatant about it.

    The last court case overturning part of the Delay gerrymander set a pretty clear baseline for how the courts would judge the VRA relative to the creation of Latino districts. This map would never past muster under the standards used in that case.

    So the question becomes, what is the Republican game here? Are they going to pass this and risk a court imposed, much less Republican friendly map? Are they assuming that any court imposed map will be use the legislative-passed map as the starting point (sort of like pre-67 lines, with mutually agreed territory swaps)? Don't they run the risk of the courts simply wiping the whole map out and starting from scratch?

    Or is this a negotiating gambit? If so, who are they negotiating with?  They don't need Democratic or Latino legislators on board to pass any map they want.  Are there going to be internal Republican party divisions in passing the map in Austin?

    It is a nasty gerrymander. If they were determined to draw a map that stands any chance of actually being used in 2012,  they could have done a hell of a lot better.

    Here's hoping it blows back in their faces.

    Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

    by terjeanderson on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 11:12:20 AM PDT

    •  it won't be a 'court drawn' map (0+ / 0-)

      Just like in 2003-2006 when the map went to court, the courts most likely won't strike down the entire map, but they may rule that specific districts need to be redrawn.  

      I think they are trying for the most extreme map they can draw, while having plenty of fall-back positions to still make safe maps.

      The new TX-23 won't be struck down.  It was 61% Hispanic when it was approved in 2006 and it's 61% Hispanic in the new district.  

      The 3 Hispanic-majority south Texas districts won't be struck down.

      In Houston, it really won't be a problem to draw a Hispanic-majority district without affecting Republicans too much.

      That just leaves Dallas.  If they have to redraw Dallas with a Hispanic majority district, first step will be to slice up EBJ's district to be Hispanic majority and not even have to touch Tarrant County.  This won't hurt Republicans too much, as the district will go from 82% D to 78% D.

      •  Your confidence about the new 23 is misplaced (4+ / 0-)

        for reasons I explained yesterday.

        Ok, so I read the polls.

        by andgarden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:13:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think they're risking a "court drawn" map (3+ / 0-)

        The 2006 case ended up focusing on a fairly narrow set of questions around the LULAC challenge of the 23rd district only -- as a result, when the Supreme Court sent the case back to the District Court, the District Court only ordered the two sides to submit maps strengthening Latino voting power in the 23rd -- as a result, the changes only touched a small number of districts in south Texas.

        On the other hand, if a challenge succeeds based on the argument that the entire statewide map diluted Latino voters by failing to create enough new Latino districts (as warranted by the new census and the VRA) in various parts of the state, it opens the entire state map up, and the Court could decide to undertake any kind of statewide redrawing they saw necessary to accomplish that goal.

        Sure, the courts could decide to respect as many legislatively drawn lines as possible, but they would actually be under no legal obligation to do so. Seems to me the Republicans are risking quite a bit if they enact a map that is clearly out of compliance in more than one area of the state. Maybe it will pay off for them, but it could completely backfire.

        Once social change begins,it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read...You cannot oppress people who are not afraid anymore.

        by terjeanderson on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:51:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Two VRA districts in DFW... easy peasy (4+ / 0-)

    I present to you two VRA districts that only took me an hour to draw (and only because untangling some of the Black and Hispanic neighborhoods in both Fort Worth and Dallas can be a pain).

    Photobucket

    District 30 (mauve red): Johnson-D This district now becomes majority African-American, which can be done, by going over into parts of Fort Worth.  It would seem to me that the VRA would require this district to be drawn, given that there are enough African-Americans in the DFW area that can be drawn in a contiguous and reasonably compact district (albeit stringy), to elect a candidate of their choice.

    15.1% W, 51.7% B, 29.8% H, 1.8% A, 0.2% O
    18.5% W, 52.6% B, 25.7% H, 2.0% A, 0.3% O if going by VAP

    District 33 (light blue): new Hispanic VRA district.  It is even easier to draw a Hispanic VRA district; its somewhat ungainly shape is simply to accommodate the 30th, which I believe will have to be made majority African-American now.

    19.4% W, 9.7% B, 67.2% H, 2.4% A, 0.3% NA, 0.9% O
    24.5% W, 10.3% B, 61.4% H, 2.7% A, 0.3% NA, 0.8% O

    Along with the wonderful map presented earlier of the Houston area, showing the ease in which a second Hispanic VRA district could be drawn there, it would seem that this Texas GOP gerrymander violates the VRA and ought to be denied preclearance, even by the DC Circuit.

    •  Those both look like racial gerrymanders to me (4+ / 0-)

      Ok, so I read the polls.

      by andgarden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:14:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  . (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        terjeanderson, ChadmanFL

        They aren't that bad. They aren't any worse than other districts (example: Earmuffs) that courts have imposed.

        21, Nice Calm Burkean Post-Modern Gay Democrat, NM-2 (Childhood), TX-23 (School), TX-10 (Home); SSP: wmayes

        by wwmiv on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:19:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The earmuffs are a special case (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Inoljt, MichaelNY

          that frankly might not stand up to suit.

          These are new districts that are not compact.

          Ok, so I read the polls.

          by andgarden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:24:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So, are you saying then (0+ / 0-)

            that EBJ's seat is the only VRA required seat in the DFW area?  If one created a Hispanic-majority VRA seat in the Dallas area, would it have to come solely out of Dallas County?

            •  The standard is reasonable compactness (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Inoljt, MichaelNY

              based on CVAP. Neither of those qualify.

              Ok, so I read the polls.

              by andgarden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:30:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ok fair enough... (0+ / 0-)

                I was thinking like a Republican when I drew those two districts (I shudder at the thought).  In a case where the courts struck down part of the map, would they send it back to the legislature to make the corrections?  Or would they draw the districts in question themselves?

                If the latter, I guess I am going to try next whether it is possible to draw both districts within Dallas County, politicians be damned.

            •  . (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MichaelNY

              EBJ's seat is not required by the VRA. It isn't AA majority. They can draw it - and do as a vote sink out of self-interest - but are not required to.

              21, Nice Calm Burkean Post-Modern Gay Democrat, NM-2 (Childhood), TX-23 (School), TX-10 (Home); SSP: wmayes

              by wwmiv on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 12:39:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I just love re-districting shorthand terms: (0+ / 0-)

                "gerrymander" and "earmuffs".  Can you put earmuffs on a gerrymander?

                I kinda thought Harris County looked like a satellite map of a hurricane - - but I have some imagination.  It's sort of spiral-ly.

                DFW is sucky - - and I would STILL be in the execrable Pete "Taliban" Sessions' 32nd district, still un-represented by that POS.  Grrr...

                Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

                by tom 47 on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 10:57:12 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  How about these? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        andgarden, KingofSpades

        Photobucket
        They seem pretty compact to me.

        •  Looks substantially better (0+ / 0-)

          The question is what CVAP numbers look like. And I don't think we have them.

          Ok, so I read the polls.

          by andgarden on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 03:43:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  CVAP (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            andgarden, MichaelNY

            I don't have CVAP exactly, but here's are real back of the envelop estimate.  

            According to my notes on the district,  whichI drew using Dave's App,

            CD 34: (Green) [71% Obama – 29% McCain, Wh 15%, Bl 18%, Hisp 64%] .

            Assuming the district is 700K, that would give us:
            448K (0.64*700K) Hispanics and 252K (=0.36*700K)  Non-Hispanics.

            According to Greg's CVAP conversion numbers, Dallas has roughly 538K Hispanics of which 143K are CVAP.  Using this interpolation, this CD would then have 119K Hispanic CVAP (=143K*448K/538K).  

            For the non-Hispanic VAP, I'll use the new 30's non-Hispanic VAP conversion as proxy.  I get 190K.

            Hispanic CVAP = 119K/(119K+190K) 39%.

            •  Yeah, that isn't going to cut it (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MichaelNY

              The standard is >50% hispanic VAP in a reasonably compact district that would give minority voters a reasonable opportunity to elect the candidate of their choice.

              Ok, so I read the polls.

              by andgarden on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 12:50:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Lowerbound... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MichaelNY

                That's the claim anyway.  However, that being said, my 39% is almost certainly a lower bound.  The assumption I made was that 100% of the non-Hispanic VAP are citizens.  That's a pretty large assumption.  For instance, the district includes roughly 20K Asians, whose citizen rates are going to be low as well.  My guess is that the real CVAP is in the low-mid 40s.  

                Let me suggest three other somewhat interesting points though.  

                1) Texas uses 40% for African American districts, so one could argue that they should use a similar CVAP value for Hispanics.  

                2) This district would elect Hispanic State Rep. Rafael Anchia to Congress.  In Lulac v. Perry, SCOTUS used the justification that Martin Frost, a White Democrat, would continue to win the TX-24 so the Republicans were not wrong to crack his majority minority seat.  Consequently, there is a precendent for considering the race and ethnicity of likely candidates when drawing districts.

                3) If CVAP is what matters, then one could draw two African American districts with 40% CVAP in DFW.  Inotherwords, they could use the low Hispanic CVAP rate to increase the CVAP of Anglos and African Americans, getting the African American one in particular over 40%.  If fact, Marc Veasey did just that in District 35 of his map.

                Yes, I know SCOTUS kind of established the 50% CVAP rule in Lulac v. Perry, so (1) probably won't fly.  Since the district is new, (2) probably won't fly either.  Finally, (3) is a very interesting point, but it would adjust the African American standard from VAP to CVAP, which might not fly either. Nonetheless, these points are worth the debate.  

                Actually, what is really worth debating is whether the VRA covers minority coalition districts.  That debate really needs to take place.  Otherwise, the redistricting laws  will discourage racial integration and diffusion, and that's just unconscionable.

  •  Wow. (3+ / 0-)

    A whole bunch of these districts would immediately rank among the top ugliest gerrimanders in the country.

  •  Austin (3+ / 0-)

    I would love to see two of those districts in Austin go Democratic instead of the one that is fairly obvious.  Just to show the Republicans how stupid it is to continue to crack one of the most Democratic areas of the state.

    •  ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Geenius at Wrok, MichaelNY

      Not very likely. As I've demonstrated before:

      1 District:  Dem vote sink.
      2:  Two Likely Dem.
      3:  Three swing.
      4:  4 Likely Republican.
      5 or more:  All safe Republican.

      This will change depending on the areas the districts are connected to and the VRA status of each, but as a general rule it will pan out.

      21, Nice Calm Burkean Post-Modern Gay Democrat, NM-2 (Childhood), TX-23 (School), TX-10 (Home); SSP: wmayes

      by wwmiv on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 04:01:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY

        It is something I would like to see due to the Republicans inability to make a single Democratic district in Travis County.  I know it isn't likely and only 35 will have a Democratic Representative, but it is something that would be awesome.

        •  I say Doggett goes to District 35 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MichaelNY

          It's more Austin-centric than Bexar-centric and Doggett is very tenacious and a survivor (he didn't go down in the primary like the TX GOP hoped when they gave him the fajita strip district).  Some people on RRH hope that this is the end of Doggett, but I doubt it.  He'll just go from 25 to 35 and be fine.

          Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo! So little time, so much to know!

          by KingofSpades on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 07:49:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  . (0+ / 0-)

            Well... It is more Bexar Centric in terms of pure voter numbers. Bexar County residents outnumber Travis County 3:2. However, Bexar County's done turn out. Add to that the fact that the Metrocom areas that the 35th takes in are Republican, not Democratic, I'd say that in the Democratic primary (where the action will be in this district anyway) that Travis Co. outnumbers Bexar County by roughly 5:4.

            21, Nice Calm Burkean Post-Modern Gay Democrat, NM-2 (Childhood), TX-23 (School), TX-10 (Home); SSP: wmayes

            by wwmiv on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:45:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  nothing to get excited about, (0+ / 0-)

    Unless you've lived in a cave for the last 100 years.   Redistriciting (gerrymandering) is standard practice... democrats have done it... republicans do it.    Whats new?    I would like to see the Libertarian party given the chance at it, just once, lol.

    "To you I'm an atheist; to God, I'm the Loyal Opposition." - Woody Allen

    by soros on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:18:54 PM PDT

  •  One possible rationale to wait for special session (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY
    Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, a Republican, has said the Senate likely won't adopt the 21-vote rule in the special session, leaving a simple 16-vote majority to pass bills.

    Read more: http://www.chron.com/...

    In regular session, it takes 21 senators to call a bill for a vote. The Senate is split 19 Rs, 12 Ds, so Rs need 2 Ds to move bills in regular session, but potentially zero Ds to move bills in special session.

  •  Did you catch Thom Hartmann's Show (2+ / 0-)

    This AM? He had an interesting proposal. Large populous states like TX, NY, and CA should be divided. CA would get 6 senators, TX would have 6 also, NY would have 4, I think. More reflective of  population trends in the 21 st century.
    Less power to states w/ total populations of under 1million like WY.

    What do we want? Universal health care! When do we want it? Now!

    by cagernant on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 08:41:16 PM PDT

  •  justice dept and fed courts will draw tx dists (4+ / 0-)

    although consultant matt angle's anglo-centric strategy in 2010 may have helped defeat bill white for governor, he is making the right noises in this email i got. (as it was not commercially published i hope i am not breaking any rules by quoting it in full here. if so i apologize in advance, but his analysis that the rethugs have jumped into a whole buncha trouble seems correct, and supports the point of the diary to which i have appended it...)

    GOP Congressional Plan Attacks Minority Voters
    by Matt Angle
    The Lone Star Project,  June 1, 2011

    Republican Power Grab Comes at Expense of Hispanics and African Americans

    Any view that Texas Republicans see a future in winning the support of minority voters can be put to rest. The Republican congressional redistricting plan rolled out yesterday is a dramatic example of systematically undermining the voting strength of minority Texans. It shows that Republicans would much rather destroy minority voting influence than go to the trouble of winning minority voter support.

    Even though all four of the new districts Texas received as a result of the 2010 census were due to the increase in Texas’ Hispanic and African American populations, the Republican plan reduces the number of districts where minority voters have the opportunity to elect their candidate of choice from 11 out of 32 districts (34%) to only 10 out of 36 districts (28%).

    Minority Opportunity Districts
    Current Plan        34%
    GOP Proposed Plan    28%

    The Republicans went to great lengths to exclude any meaningful participation by minority legislators. Why? Because the plan dramatically retrogress minority voting strength at the statewide, regional and district levels. The GOP plan is such an aggressive attack on minority voters that it almost certainly violates both Section 2 and Section 5 of the US Voting Rights Act.

    Minority Officeholders Shut Out of Process

    The GOP congressional plan was developed without any input from legislators who were elected as the choice of Latino or African American voters.

    During the legislative session, there was one hearing on congressional redistricting in the Texas House committee and one in the Texas Senate committee. No plan was presented at either hearing. The map presented now ignores the testimony of Latino and African American witnesses who did attend the hearings. The GOP plan was hidden from minority Members of the House and Senate - even minority Members of the House or Senate redistricting committees - until it was made public on Tuesday.

    Governor Rick Perry acknowledged that the plan would be developed and passed without public input, when he told reporters that he would only call legislators back to Austin on redistricting if lawmakers agree on a map in advance. Perry said, "When they get to an agreed bill, then I would be willing to talk about having them back in there for a very quick two- or three-day session to get redistricting done." (The Texas Tribune May 28, 2011).

    Statewide Retrogression

    The GOP plan increases the number of districts controlled by Republicans by reducing the influence of minority voters statewide. Even though Anglos make up only 45 percent of the Texas population, the GOP map gives Anglo Republicans control of more than 70 percent of the State’s congressional districts. This shift of additional political clout to Anglos at the expense of minority voters likely constitutes illegal statewide retrogression of minority voting strength.

    Texas received four additional congressional districts for one reason only: the explosive growth of the state's Latino and African American population. Over the last decade the Hispanic population in Texas grew at 10 times the rate of Anglos. The African American population grew at 5 times the rate of Anglos.

    If the entire state of Texas had grown at only the rate of its Anglo population, Texas would not have gained any new districts and may well have lost a district.

    In the current congressional map there are 11 of 32 districts where minority voters have been able to elect their candidate of choice – seven are effective Latino opportunity districts, three are effective African American opportunity districts and one is an effective coalition district where minority citizens unite with like-minded Anglo voters to elect their candidate of choice.

    Under the proposed GOP plan, only 10 of 32 Districts provide minority citizens the opportunity to elect their candidate of choice.

    Failure to Create New Minority Districts Violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act

    Perhaps the most cynical and egregious flaw in the GOP plan is its failure to create a new Hispanic or African American opportunity district in the giant DFW Metroplex.

    The Dallas/Fort Worth area is one of the largest and fastest growing areas of Hispanic and African Americans residents in the country.

    Over 2.1 million African American and Hispanic residents live in Dallas County and Tarrant County (Fort Worth) combined  – easily enough to support three minority opportunity districts. Tarrant County has the largest African American population in the country not currently represented by a Democrat in Congress. The DFW area has the largest number of Hispanic residents stranded in Republican districts in the country.

    Currently, the area includes only one minority district. The GOP plan fails to draw any new minority opportunity districts leaving well over a million minorities disenfranchised and stranded in Republican districts represented by Members of Congress they do not support at the polls.

    District Level Retrogression and How Republicans Lie with Numbers

    The Republican sponsors of this plan will attempt to mask their illegal statewide retrogression by saying two of the new districts, 34 and 35, are new Latino opportunity districts. They are lying.

    The District 27-District 34 switch

    The "new" Latino District 34 is simply a replacement for the existing effective District 27, which would be easily controlled by Anglo voters under the proposed plan.

    The dilution of District 23

    Even more egregious is the change made to District 23, which would also be controlled by high turnout Anglo precincts and counties in this plan. Although the plan maintains the Latino population based on census data alone, it would no longer be an effective Latino Opportunity District. Specifically, President Obama carried the current district with 50.9% of the vote. Under the GOP, McCain carried the district with 51.9%. This outcome was achieved by including very high turnout Anglo Republican precincts to overwhelm lower turnout Hispanic precincts.

    District 25 eliminated as an effective coalition district

    Even though the GOP plan maintains Congressman Lloyd Doggett’s home in CD25, they destroy it as an effective Travis County based voting coalition by breaking the current district into five parts. This would leave Travis County - the state's fifth largest county and the Capitol of Texas – without a majority of the population in any one of these five congressional districts.

    "May the lights in the Land of Plenty shine on the truth someday." -- Leonard Cohen

    by slangist on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 09:42:11 PM PDT

  •  New rule: Convex only! (0+ / 0-)

    I've heard the pro side of the argument, but it's weak.

    I don't know why we haven't passed a law to require districts be as convex as possible. No more squiggles and curls and skinny tethers. Start at population centers, place the first districts centered on those locations, and then work your way around and outward. Split the rest down the middle. Done. No cherry picking, no horse trading, no gaming.

    Terrorists can attack freedom, but only Congress can destroy it.

    by romulusnr on Wed Jun 01, 2011 at 10:41:54 PM PDT

  •  gaaah (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yoduuuh do or do not, MichaelNY

    So we can't afford any of our education (or apparently wildfirefighting) programs, but we can afford a special session (and Perry's rental mansion)?
    The Texas Lege is insane.

    Added bonus: I heard on my local NPR yesterday that this map would make reelecting Lloyd Doggett nearly impossible, which is a damn shame. He's great.

    Thank goodness they kept the sharia law from coming here, though. I was a little worried that religion might dominate law in Texas.

    If Obama cured cancer, the GOP would push for cellular-personhood and prosecute him.

    by papa monzano on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 07:19:08 AM PDT

    •  Improbable if and only if he stays in 25 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      However, I'd say it's very likely he moves to the 35th while the map is litigated in court.

      Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo! So little time, so much to know!

      by KingofSpades on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 07:23:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MichaelNY

        thanks for the greater detail. i need to do some reading on the court prospects for this. all that comes to mind is "the hammer" in 93. As a friend put it, "austin was the safehaven, and they're trying to break it".

        If Obama cured cancer, the GOP would push for cellular-personhood and prosecute him.

        by papa monzano on Fri Jun 03, 2011 at 07:14:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  That is one fucked up map n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 09:47:23 AM PDT

  •  . (0+ / 0-)

    21, Nice Calm Burkean Post-Modern Gay Democrat, NM-2 (Childhood), TX-23 (School), TX-10 (Home); SSP: wmayes

    by wwmiv on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:53:39 PM PDT

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