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September 05, 2003

Redistricting Nationalized

By Byron LaMasters

Democrats are nationalizing the Redistricting battle in Texas with a tour by state senators across the country. The message is that Bush / Republicans are trying to dilute the voice of 1.4 Million minority voters in Texas.

Three of the 10 holdout Democratic senators left their New Mexico refuge for the nation's capital to launch a $1 million national tour to attract attention to their standoff with the GOP over congressional redistricting.

State Sens. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio, Rodney Ellis of Houston and Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso announced at the National Press Club on Thursday that they would be part of a concentrated media campaign funded by MoveOn.org. The political action committee, formed in the late 1990s to challenge the impeachment of President Clinton, has taken up the cause of the Texas Democrats and is placing print and television ads accusing President Bush and the GOP of disenfranchising minority voters.

"The Republican redistricting plan would silence the voices of 1.4 million Hispanic and African-American Texans," said Van de Putte, who chairs the Senate Democratic Caucus. "They would either be moved into districts so heavily Republican that their votes won't matter, or would be packed into districts that guarantees them permanent political minority status."

The article also mentions the Move On ad and the plans for the tour:

The ads paid for by MoveOn.org, which debuted in The New York Times, feature a picture of Bush with the warning, "Don't Mess with Texas." It describes the move to realign congressional districts to ensure the election of five or more Republicans as "the worst setback for minority voting rights in four decades."

The ads will run in a number of states, including Texas. The Texas senators plan to travel to Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Philadelphia on Sept. 8. The senators said they will visit and other cities, including Chicago, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco and Los Angeles in coming weeks.

Maybe they can campaign against the recall when they're in California. I like the idea. Redistricting is a complicated issue that most people don't really understand. I think that it's critical that Democrats explain to people what's really going on in the context of other Republican power grab attempts (CA recall, trying to end senate filibusters, etc.)

Posted by Byron LaMasters at September 5, 2003 12:39 PM | TrackBack


The one thing that absolutely everyone on both sides of the aisle can be 100 percent certain of is that when and if a redistricting map passes the Texas Legislature, it WILL undergo close scrutiny before the DOJ on section 5 preclearance under the Voting Rights Act of 1965; from private litigants like LULAC and the NAACP; from a special panel of three judges (selected by Fifth Circuit Chief Judge Carolyn Dineen King, whose integrity and nonpartisanship I'll personally vouch for but who was a Carter appointee if you think things like that count); and then an immediate direct appeal to the US Supreme Court.

In other words, the one thing anyone who knows anything about politics knows for sure is, this attempt to stir up racial fear on the part of the Texas public is completely cynical and bogus.

If you doubt me -- and why wouldn't you, I'm obviously partisan about all this -- then read the written transcript from last week's federal court hearing before Southern District of Texas Chief Judge George P. Kazen (another Carter appointee if you think that matters), who went out of his way no fewer than FIVE TIMES to reassure everyone present of those facts, and who made a special point to ask the press to report that to the public. (They didn't, of course.) You can get the transcript via PACER if you have an account there, or I've also posted direct quotes on my blog:


This is not a fight about diluting the voting rights of racial minorities. It's about whether the Dems can continue to protect white male incumbent Democratic Congressmen whose districts were gerrymandered for their benefit in 1991. Anyone who's knowledgeable and honest on either side of the aisle will acknowledge that.

Posted by: Beldar at September 6, 2003 01:08 AM

Ack. Sorry, wrong link. Shoulda been:


Hook 'em!

Posted by: Beldar at September 6, 2003 01:10 AM
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