November 28, 2022

SAN ANTONIO — Another election has come and gone, but many of those races were over before they began.

The culprit was gerrymandering, the insidious practice of redrawing county lines to favor one party over another.

Mendacity and opportunism do not play favourites. In Texas, Republicans benefit from gerrymandering. In New York, the Democrats benefit. It depends on which party is in power.

In this bitterly divided era, politicians prefer rhetoric to politics and clothe their machinations in the guise of lofty ideals. don’t buy it When it comes to gerrymandering, they have only one goal — to water down your vote, the greatest hallmark of a democracy. By watering down your votes, you amplify the voices of extremists because the primaries decide these races.

The practice is particularly egregious in Texas. Recall that Texas gained 4 million residents during the last census cycle. Most of these residents are minorities, but the latest maps based on these census numbers failed to account for the surge in black and Hispanic voters. In fact, their representation has been reduced.

In the latest map, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, county lines moved Black and Hispanic populations into predominantly white areas, reducing the impact of their voting.

Republicans in local or regional races, including seats in the US Congress, compete for seats in the general election with virtually no competition. Potential Democratic challengers, despite excellent qualifications, in many cases refuse to run because they know the odds are against them.

Regarding San Antonio, the districts represented by US Representatives Tony Gonzales and Chip Roy turned redder. Former State Senator Pete Flores ran in a district that was probably drawn for him. It was nearly impossible for a Democrat to credibly challenge Republican Senator Donna Campbell.

State Senator Joan Huffman, R-Houston, said, “We drew these maps race-blind.”

We find it difficult to believe this. Republicans were clear-eyed, and the focus was on race. Sixty percent of the state’s new Senate districts were majority white, although white residents make up less than 40 percent of the population.

“They (Republicans) know that they are out of touch with the majority in the Lone Star State, and instead of adapting their policies and policies to their constituents, they are trying to manipulate the structures of our democracy in order to stay in power artificially,” said Eric Holder, the former attorney general and current chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.

Texas is not alone. In state after state — Illinois, Arkansas, North Carolina — politicians have redrawn county lines to favor their party. It’s not always Republicans, but since they control nearly 55 percent of state legislatures, they exploit their numbers whenever the 10-year census shows a population change that requires new maps.

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The US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit last year to challenge legislative maps passed by Texas Republicans, claiming it violated the Voting Rights Act.

“The complaint we have filed … alleges that Texas violated Section Two by creating redistribution plans that deny or bypass the right to vote of Latino and Black voters based on race, color or affiliation with a minority language group,” Attorney General Merrick told Garland at a news conference on the day of the filing of the lawsuit.

The DOJ attempted to address the issue, but a federal panel has agreed to delay the trial over the new political maps until next year.

It may be up to state legislatures to solve the problem they create; The best plan, proposed by officials in states across the country, is to create an independent bipartisan body tasked with redrawing the maps without being swayed by political considerations. However, it may be unrealistic as the proposal depends on the support of the very parties that hold power.

Until this injustice is remedied, voters will continue to have poor choices—or in some cases none—at elections. Gerrymandering is a polite term for disenfranchisement.

President Joe Biden recently said that democracy is under threat and one of the reasons is gerrymandering.

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