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Gerrymandering, Texas Style

By October 20, 2004

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Funny, but when I was in school, gerrymandering was a bad thing. Given the latest US Supreme Court decision on the Texas redistricting process -- pushed through in part by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay last year -- I decided that a picture might be worth a thousand words. It's actually worth more.

A candidate for the 28th Congressional District has the new map of Texas districts on his web site. Take a look at Districts 15 - 25 - 28 (southern tip, stretching north). Then there's 13 - 19 - 11 (northern tip, stretching south and east). Bloody amazing - or frightening, depending on your point of view.

What's missing in this map is a sense of scale: El Paso to Galveston is about 800 miles -- that's District 16 (far west point) to the northern part of District 14 -- which is that blue blob to the east AND south of District 22! Looks like two districts, doesn't it? That's because District 22 almost cuts it in two.

This map is great for showing the overall horror that this Legislature calls redistricting, but lacks detail. A more comprehensive view is available from the state. There's an "interactive" map if you are using MSIE 5.0 (or spoofing it).

This is among the most appalling things political that I've witnessed in my lifetime. Where is the outrage in Texas among citizens? Where is the outrage, period? And how can the courts find this process fair, equitable and legal?


October 18, 2005 at 10:48 am
(1) Douglas says:

What you see is a horror pushed upon us by DeLay. Austin is a progressive city and so the only way the Republicans could wipe out our vote was to slice us up into hundred mile long pizza slices that extend out into the hinterlands in an attempt to get rural radical right wing votes to wipe out our vote.

The good news is that the hatred that DeLay inspired for this blatant attempt at vote rigging has come home to roost. He and many of his beneficiaries, one of whom I believe is Todd Baxter (who is likely to lose in an upcoming race against a progressive Andy Brown), are going to get to quaff a bitter vintage of Austin’s grapes of wrath.

October 18, 2005 at 2:29 pm
(2) uspolitics says:

Hi, Douglas:

Do you have some links or maps that show how Austin was carved up? It’s difficult for someone unfamiliar with Texas to know what is where.

October 21, 2005 at 3:22 pm
(3) Matt says:
June 28, 2006 at 2:35 pm
(4) uspolitics says:

And now we have the word … all is well in Texas, except for one district. Bah.

July 10, 2006 at 10:31 am
(5) wordkyle says:

Unfortunate for the Democrats that they could not keep their Democrat-heavy gerrymandering for 20 years. Despite a population that was 60% Republican, they still controlled the Legislature.

Gerrymandering is stupid and ugly, but it’s how the political game is played. At least the Republican version reflects the people of Texas, unlike the Democrat version.

February 18, 2007 at 3:56 pm
(6) Mike says:

I wonder… were you comaplining after Hunt v. Cromartie? My guess is “no”.

February 18, 2007 at 4:13 pm
(7) uspolitics says:

For those not familiar, Hunt v. Cromartie and Hunt v Shaw both relate to the 12th district of NC — and both cases went to the Supreme Court.

FWIW, I oppose gerrymandering as epitomizd by the “salamander shaped” district drawn in MA in 1812.

However, as long as we have winner-take-all races, I do not automatically oppose drawing a district so that it empowers a minority to elect a representative, assuming that there is a geographic concentration of the minority population.

Generally speaking, gerrymandered districts seek to break up minority voice, not enable that minority to elect a representative. I believe that was the case in Texas.

Also, Texas was a unique case in that the redistricting occurred after the traditional reshaping that results from the once-per-decade census.

October 4, 2008 at 8:53 am
(8) Mark says:

Texas is a suck hole. We should give it back to Mexico. Look at the idiots it hs brought us….

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