January 5th, 2012
Texas Redistricting: The Telenovela

A lot of people have commented lately that all of this redistricting business, especially in Texas, is terribly confusing and consequently, no one cares. For political nerds like me, that’s a straight up tragedy, considering that what is at stake is the future in which I will bring children into the world, in which some of us will enter the workforce, in which some of us will retire, a future that will affect us all in important, yet distinct ways.

But I get it. We don’t all have time to be nerds and care about redistricting. Yet, I maintain that there is a very strong correlation between redistricting and something more of us are familiar with, the telenovela.

Just think, what if Fernando Colunga were to play Rick Perry in a movie?!  What if the Supreme Court were stocked with hunks like Eduardo Yáñez?! I’m going do my best at breaking down Texas’ redistricting drama à la telenovela. So let’s break down the characters.

Los Enamorados.

Okay, so technically there is no one “in love” in our little drama here (albeit here are people who are in love with themselves). Nonetheless, in the place of feelings, there are certain “inalienable rights” that are being threatened. The lovers in our scenario, who stand to lose everything here, are: politicians who actually care about their constituents and voters whose ability to vote and be represented is at stake.

Los Malvados.

Unlike in actual telenovelas, some of the good guys in our scenario have mustaches, too. So, the bad guys here are legislators who knowingly disenfranchised voters, while drawing maps that practically begged to be fought over in court. You see, this is almost like when the villain purposefully sabotages the family business and then the chain reaction of disasters start to befall the benevolent family at the center of the telenovela. The bad guys messing up the redistricting process is the first domino to fall and begins our drama.

Los Desastres.

Some people might not find lawsuits as exciting as: people going blind and needing an operation, car crashes, rare diseases, death, kidnapping, swapped pregnancies, unexplained disappearances, amnesia, secret marriages, rape, or any of the other random plot twists that one would find in your average telenovela.

However, I would remind us all that these lawsuits basically determine the future world we will live in. While this particular plot twist cannot be resolved by Friday night, it does carry a little bit more weight. So, the  disastrous plot twists were talking about here are: the disenfranchisement of voters in the first place, the lawsuits that resulted, the Supreme Court stepping in, and the resulting court case from that — all of which has thrown off politicians trying to run for office, which ultimately means that voters get less time and less information about the people who they want to represent them.

Las Víctimas.

Unlike your average telenovela, there is no small town filled with Mexican peasants that the benevolent —  and inevitably light-skinned — rich family will have to save in our drama. Rather, there is an entire state filled with people like you and me going about our daily lives, trying to make it in this economy, who are now waiting for the courts to do the job elected officials were supposed to do. We are the victims, every person in Texas who believes in a representative democracy could play the role of the Mexican peasant if this were a telenovela. The sad part is, not only would we not look good in those clothes, but this is the real world, and instead of just biting our nails, will be paying the consequences of this for the next 10 years in our daily lives.

Las Consecuencias.

So what are the long-term consequences here? If this were a telenovela, we would be talking: financial ruin, everlasting unhappiness, lost love, not knowing who your real father or mother or brother or sister or child is, being a social outcast, blindness, amnesia, and never being happy again. But since were talking about the real world, the consequences might sound a little bit less spicy, but are actually kind of more hard core. There was talk of having two primaries, which would have meant less people would’ve voted, which would have meant less people would’ve had a say in their elected officials. Then, there’s the original matter of districts that chop people up into constituencies that aren’t really related, and can’t really elect the people they want.

In a sense, some of the consequences are similar — everlasting unhappiness, lost love (if you happen to have a crush on your representative), you could equate physical maladies with political disenfranchisement —  but again, this isn’t going to be resolved in a 2–hour finale. It’s going to go down in a courtroom far, far away, and it’ll be much more boring than Lucero’s angry exaltations.

¿Felices Para Siempre?

This part has yet to be resolved, but it goes down something like this: the final maps take the legislature into account, and franchise all Texas voters, the primaries are not set back too far, candidates have ample time to register and campaign in their districts, and the political process that makes America great is not disturbed.

So what do you think? Are you getting go home tonight and  gossip with your mom about how Texas’ redistricting process is on a cliffhanger because the Supreme Court case doesn’t pick up until Monday, and if it doesn’t go smoothly, Los Enamorados may not triumph over Los Malvados and Las Víctimas could have to deal with Las Consecuencias from Los Desastres for the next 10 years — possibly longer? Ah, well, I tried!

[Screenshot By Televisa]

2 thoughts on “Texas Redistricting: The Telenovela

  1. Pingback: NewsTaco Weekly Roundup: Jan. 1-8, 2012 | NewsTaco

  2. Never thought of this as a telenovela but it makes perfect sense. The only difference is that every decade all the parties know that the state will redistrict, Latinos will sue, and the courts will intervene.  Every redistricting has an interloper, last time it was Tom DeLay, this time Greg Abbot.  Where would the interlopers fit into a telenovela?  Would they be extramalvados?

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