Monday, February 06, 2012

Court Gives Half a Loaf: NC Primary Still On

I have no idea what is going to happen in May.

There was supposed to be a set of primaries.

But the Repubs did what good partisan piggies do (and Democ partisan piggies did, and did again this year in Maryland), and redrew the district boundaries.

Here's the hilarious part. The contention of the Democs, and apparently with a straight face, is that the districts are (gasp!) racially gerrymandered! The court decisions let the primaries go forward, but allow the litigation that would invalidate the primaries to go forward, also. Really?

Here is a picture of the NC 12th District. It was explicitly created to draw a fence around all the black people in sight, to ensure a majority minority district. Some places it is no wider than I-85 (hint: no one lives in I-85, so this is just to achieve technical contiguity, without adding any actual people).

That's not a picture of a river, folks. That's a congressional district. Drawn by the Democs in the NCGA, and endorsed by your Dept of Justiciability.

Okay, fair enough: racial gerrymandering is clearly okay. That "map" is drawn to pick up every African-American neighborhood from Durham to Charlotte, a distance of more than 100 miles.

But then why is it okay for the Democs to do egregious racial gerrymandering, and not okay for Repubs to do some political gerrymandering? The reason the Repubs did this is not racial, it's just good ol' partisanship. Blacks tend to vote Democ. If you are going to create Democ districts, it will likely look like racial gerrymandering.

And if you think that racial gerrymandering is bad, you have to start by breaking up the 12th district. If you don't break up the 12th, you are just a partisan demagogue, and you should STFU.


Anonymous said...

Except that "racial gerrymandering," as you call it, is required by the Voting Rights Act. Political gerrymandering is not. Maybe you should acquire some legal knowledge or STFU.

John Thacker said...

Munger, that's wrong, that's not the current 12th District. That's the 12th District that was invalidated in 1993 by Shaw v. Reno. Approved of by the DoJ, but not by the SCOTUS.

The newer 12th District, which was approved of in Hunt v. Cromartie in 1999, doesn't include Durham. (Nor does, I believe the recent one.)

As I recall, from growing up in Durham, the lawsuit against the original 12th was actually brought by White Democrats, upset that the packing so many Dems into the 12th hurt the surrounding (2nd and 4th) districts-- it was indeed probably responsible for the Dems losing two seats in 1994, as the Dems have historically gerrymandered NC better than that. The NC GOP was actually quietly happy for the original 12th to exist. The Justices, OTOH, did not appear to take partisan calculations into account.

Of course, this also means that Anonymous is wrong to say that the Voting Rights Act requires racial gerrymandering to the extent that the version of the 12th presented reflected. At least so says the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court in Hunt v. Cromartie specifically said that political gerrymandering was allowed.

John Thacker said...

The thing is, the GOP could more easily do a partisan gerrymandering by leaving the 12th alone, or even by restoring it to the version in the post.

Breaking it up is actually bad for the GOP, because of packing.

The GOP had a strong case for changing the CDs anyway, since in 2010 the GOP won 56% of the vote in the US House, US Senate, NC House, and NC Senate... but only in the US House did they lack a majority, thanks to the existing gerrymander that strongly packed the Republican voters together.

John Thacker said...

In fact, that original map was responsible, IIRC, for making it possible for Funderburk and Heineman to take the 2nd and 4th for the Republicans in 1994... it was after Shaw v. Reno and the district became less black that made it easy for the Dems to take it back.

In short, if the NC Republicans split up the majority or plurality black districts, then they're actively working against their own partisan interests.

Doc Merlin said...

Its ok, because they control the federal courts.
Nuff said.