Republican gerrymanderers were planning to create a “metric” to manipulate the numbers of Latinos to the advantage of the Republican Party before the redistricting process in Texas even began, according to recent emails released from the redistricting preclearance trial in Washington, DC.
According to the emails of November 17 and 19, 2010, between two of Texas Speaker Joe Straus’ counsel, there’s reference to the construction of a “useful metric” that could be constructed to identify voting precincts that have high percentages of Latinos, citizens, and registered voters and then identifying these precincts by turnout (performance) levels. The idea was to create a “nudge factor” that could help Congressmen Francisco Canseco and Blake Farenthold in future elections. Both of these Republicans won narrowly, and neither had the support of Latino voters in an election with low Latino voter turnout — but a very high turnout for the Anglo population.
The politicians in charge of redistricting decided that one way to “help” Canseco and Farenthold win reelection was to gerrymander these two districts in such a way as to make them perform Republican . Yet, make them appear to be Latino opportunity districts in order to meet the requirements of the Voting Rights Act. However, they appeared so manipulated that they’re one of the reasons the Texas maps are being questioned in DC in the first place, and why the three-judge panel in San Antonio threw out the original Texas redistricting maps.
Some of this manipulation includes splitting Maverick County (Eagle Pass) in two, splitting the southside of Bexar County three ways, and then including counties from north of the Pecos that had never been included in the traditional 23. Congressional District 27 (Franthold’s) was completely turned on its head with counties south of Corpus Christi cut-off and placed in another district, along the Mexican border while Nueces was placed in a district that ran north along the Gulf Coast and then inland all the way to Travis County. Where CD 23 was constructed by “cracking” and “splitting” traditional Latino communities, Latinos of Corpus Christi in CD 23 went from being a majority of the district population to a numerical minority.
These emails reveal the inability of Republican operatives to get beyond the race issue. What they are saying is that all Anglos are Republicans and all Latinos are Democrats. Well, I have Anglo and Latino friends who would strongly disagree with this racist assumption. Secondly, the email uncovers a level of arrogance that is simply disgusting. They are not just talking about manipulating numbers — these operatives are talking about manipulating the lives of citizens without the people being aware of what is occurring. Finally, in light of all the Republican Party says about outreaching to the Latino community, these emails reflect a fundamental hypocrisy.
The Republican Party needs to disavow itself of such behavior and/or attitudes. If not, then the racial divide that they seem to continue perpetrating will just grow more and more. In the end, the Republican Party will become the party of narrow-minded, racist, nay-sayers and be cast into the dustbins of history.
[Photo By dherrera_96]