Surprise! As if we didn’t already know what Texas Republicans are trying to accomplish by enacting extreme redistricting maps, the state’s GOP Attorney General admitted in a brief filed in federal court that Texas’ gerrymandering efforts were specifically designed to hurt Democrats by suppressing Democratic constituencies.
ThinkProgress reports that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who infamously declared his state’s intention to enact voter suppression laws mere hours after the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act, bragged in a legal brief that “[i]n 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party’s electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats.”
In other words, Texas Republicans purposefully redrew district lines to strengthen their iron grip of power over the state and are trying to argue that their strategy is only designed to rig elections in an effort to make Democrats extinct rather than suppress minority voters. It’s part of the Texas GOP’s plan to defeat a new attempt by US Attorney General Eric Holder to bring Texas back under the jurisdiction of the Justice Department via the remaining sections of the Voting Rights Act. So the GOP is claiming that they are simply engaging in partisan gerrymandering, which ThinkProgress notes violates the First Amendment.
“When Texas draws lines to maximize Republican influence and minimize that of Democrats, it is essentially saying that people who hold one viewpoint should have their votes count more than people who espouse a different viewpoint. That is not allowed.”
But any judge worth their salt should be able to see that Texas is engaged in racial gerrymandering just based on what Texas is bragging it is doing. By attacking Democrats, Republicans are attacking minority voting blocks that overwhelmingly vote Democratic.
Nearly 100% of African-Americans and 71% of Latinos voted for Democrats in 2012. It is clear that minorities represent major constituencies within the Democratic Party. So in order to suppress Democrats, Republicans absolutely have to suppress minority voters. The Texas GOP is terrified of minority voters one day outnumbering their declining white base. The minority population has already overtaken the population of whites in the state. Texas is already being projected to turn blue by 2025 and Republicans want to prevent that any way they can. And the only way they can do that is to suppress the minority vote with unfair redistricting and voter ID laws.
Need more proof that minority voters will one day turn Texas into a Democratic state? Just read what Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz had to say in 2012 via the New Yorker.
“In not too many years, Texas could switch from being all Republican to all Democrat. If that happens, no Republican will ever again win the White House. New York and California are for the foreseeable future unalterably Democrat. If Texas turns bright blue, the Electoral College math is simple … The Republican Party would cease to exist. We would become like the Whig Party. Our kids and grand-kids would study how this used to be a national political party. “They had Conventions, they nominated Presidential candidates. They don’t exist anymore.”
Clearly, Texas Republicans are enacting extreme voter suppression laws designed to hurt Democrats. They’ve admitted as much in the legal brief. But that means they’ve also admitted to knowingly and purposefully suppressing the votes of the minority voters who represent the base of the Democratic Party. Any court should be able to see right through what Texas is trying to do. If not, Republicans will be allowed to kill democracy state by state, setting back voting rights in this country for years.