GOP gerrymandering strategically chips away at Black Democrats' power: report
Republicans are seeking to expand their advantage in multiple key states including North Carolina, Ohio, Georgia, and Texas by way of partisan gerrymandering and aggressive Congressional redistricting, according to The New York Times. As a result of their actions, there is one common impact: "less political power for communities of color."
In states like Alabama and South Carolina, Republicans have adamantly worked to continue "a decades-long tradition of packing nearly all of the Black voting-age population into a single congressional district, despite arguments from voters to create two separate districts."
Now, Black leaders are speaking out to raise awareness about the looming problem as it becomes more widespread. In Ohio, multiple Black legislative members had their districts altered or were shifted to other districts. During a recent interview, Ohio State Representative Juanita Brent (D), vice president of the state legislative Black caucus, weighed in on the impact that has come with those changes.
“Putting Black Democrats against each other, or downsizing the amount of districts that people could run in, or moving people into a totally different district is trying to actually dilute the amount of representation that we have,” Brent said.
Leah Aden, a deputy director of litigation for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., also expressed concern about the problem and how fast it's happening. “Without a doubt, it’s worse than it was in any recent decade,” said Aden. “We have so much to contend with and it’s all happening very quickly.”
The New York Times has reached out to Republican lawmakers who have sponsored bills in support of strategic gerrymandering and redistricting. In a recent statement, North Carolina State Sen. Ralph Hise (R) applauded the newly incorporated maps as they keep the state’s large metropolitan cities within a single Senate district.
“During the 2011 redistricting process, legislators considered race when drawing districts,” Hise said. “We were then sued for considering race and ordered to draw new districts. So during this process, legislators did not use any racial data when drawing districts, and we’re now being sued for not considering race.”
In other states, map creators have opted not to add new districts where people of color are now considered the population majority. This is especially evident in Texas. Per The New York Times, The Lone Star state's "population has increased by four million since the 2010 redistricting cycle, people of color account for more than 95 percent of the growth, but the State Legislature drew two new congressional seats with majority-white populations."
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