posted on June 24, 2011 10:39
Leaning across the table, Eric, who attended Divinity School in Edinburgh, handed the press release from Redistricting Chairmen David Lewis and Bob Rucho to Richard, the intellectual, and said, This reads like a legal brief written by a Harvard lawyer set on explaining no matter how much sinning his clients are doing it’s perfectly fine because it’s perfectly legal.
Richard read the Lewis-Rucho statement and said, I’d say the point isn’t immorality – it’s irony.
Richard folded his hands behind his head. Forty years ago, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act. It had two consequences: It protected African-Americans right to vote. The other thing it did, which no one mentioned, was help White Progressive Southern Democrats defeat White Conservative Southern Democrats – Jesse Helms railed against it for years. Now the Republicans are using it to elect White Conservative Republicans. I’d say that’s ironic.
The Lewis-Rucho Redistricting Statement is packed from start to finish with homilies to the Voting Rights Act and to their dedication to protecting minority voting rights. They’re doing, they say, the job Democrats failed to do for years. By creating 34 minority districts (where a majority of the voters are African-Americans) while the Democrats only created nine. Here’s how their plan works:
There are 1.2 million African American voters in North Carolina – 20% of the registered voters.
Representative Lewis set out to make 20% of the House Districts minority districts. And he did it. He put half of the African-American voters – roughly 600,000 people – in 24 House Districts. Then he spread the other half across the remaining 96 House Districts.
Senator Rucho follows the same model in his Senate Plan.
The result: As far as the General Assembly goes, in 20% of North Carolina African-Americans are now a majority and in the other 80% they’re 10% of the vote.
As an exercise in pure politics it’s sheer brilliance.
A moralist like Eric might say, It sure is – if you don’t mind drawing House and Senate Districts based on racial quotas. But, of course, Bob Rucho or David Lewis would point out that’s wrong, that they’re dead set against quotas but didn’t have any choice – they were just following the law laid down in the Voting Rights Act.
You have to admit the irony is delicious.
The old Republicans – like Jesse Helms – fought the Voting Rights Act for years. The new Republicans have stood it on its head. And what can Obama and the Democrats say – that they created too many ‘minority’ districts?