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The Devastating Impacts Of Gerrymandering Texas
The Illusion of democracy in Texas and how Republicans maintain power.
White people are a minority in the State of Texas. They (we) only make up 39% of our population. Yet, our government looks like this:
This picture was from the last legislative session, but little has changed. Almost every single person in this photo returned to the legislature this year.
During the last legislative session, the Democrats broke quorum to try and stop the slew of Jim Crow-type voter suppression bills that made their way through the chambers. Those bills included cutting voting hours, banning drive-through voting, and implementing slave-patrol-like poll watchers to be implemented in minority areas.
Bless them; the Democrats held out as long as they could, 38 days. Finally, however, when it became clear that Governor Greg Abbott planned to call special session after special session until they came home and the money started to dry up, some Democrats caved and returned.
This isn’t about them. Staying on quorum break while Abbott called one session after another would have meant staying in Washington DC until the next election, over a year away. For many, that would have been a year away from home, their jobs, and their families.
Unfortunately, all those bad bills passed, and many of our voting rights were peeled away.
In Texas, voter suppression looks a lot like apathy.
There is a mountain of voter suppression tools in place in Texas that aren’t always immediately apparent. Tools such as voter ID laws or closing polling places in certain areas the barriers to voting that are more subtle and systemic. This is a big reason why voter turnout dropped in 2022.
That’s why people like Brandon Creighton have been elected to the State Senate.
We covered Creighton’s district earlier this week in “Banning Diversity… To Increase Diversity?” But let’s take a closer look at his district.
Creighton’s district covers Montgomery, Chambers, and Jefferson counties.
But when we look at Montgomery County in its entirety, we see this:
The green portion represents Senator Bettencourt’s district, and the pink piece represents Senator Kolkhorst’s district.
Why would they do this?
Look at the racial breakdown of each. Here’s Creighton’s district:
The population of Montgomery County is over 620,000, and 48% non-Anglo. So they had to break the minority population into each one of those districts to carry majority white districts outside of that and prevent a majority POC district.
Even though Creighton lives in Montgomery County, it had to be cracked and packed to stop the voting power in Jefferson County.
It’s a travesty what’s been done to Jefferson County, where non-Anglos make up 64% of the population, and thousands live in and die from cancer clusters each year.
What is the outcome of this?
Brandon Creighton just passed one of the most racist bills which will come out of the legislative session this year. (Again, if you haven’t read it: Banning Diversity… To Increase Diversity?)
During the hearing for the bill bans Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, 168 people testified against it, and four testified in favor.
The people who testified at that hearing didn’t want a ban on DEI, and it’s safe to assume that the 250K people of color in Montgomery County and the 160K people of color in Jefferson County didn’t want that bill either.
But Brandon Creighton isn’t beholden to the residents of Texas who begged him not to ban diversity in colleges. He isn’t beholden to hundreds and thousands of Black and brown people in his district. All he cares about is his donors and Republican primary voters.
This scenario plays out in every Senate District and every House District across America. Texas does not have a representative government.
Representative Yvonne Davis tried to fix some of those wrongs this week, and they (figuratively) spit in her face.
The entire video is 26 minutes, but it’s with the watch if you get the time.
Representative Drew Darby introduced HB 1000, which ratified the racially gerrymandered maps drawn in 2021.
Drew Darby’s own district is gerrymandered to keep white people in power, as it is only 52% white.
In 2021, Drew Darby voted in favor of the voter suppression bills, he voted against reducing the penalties for possession of cannabis, and he voted for banning the teaching of Black history in public schools. Time and time again, Drew Darby voted to harm Black and brown communities, even though 47% of his constituency is non-Anglo.
And we see this happening in every district with every Republican.
The amendments that Representative Davis introduced sought to bring justice to areas of our state that have long been hurting under the thumb of white supremacy. The first amendment Davis introduced would have fixed Districts Five, Six, and Seven.
Here is what they look like now:
This gave each of the white incumbents a majority-white district.
Davis’ amendment would have turned District 7 into a minority district that would have represented the population in Tyle and Longview, which is majority Black.
Here is what Davis proposed:
The amendment failed right along party lines.
Every single Republican voted against giving Black people in East Texas equal representation. Then, when Representative Davis introduced the next amendment, to end racial gerrymandering in Bell County, every single Republican voted against that.
The Republicans that voted against minority communities having equal representation in government are the same ones who vote to pass harmful legislation targeted at margenalized communities.
It’s not a coincidence.
Later, when the issue of transparency came up, Republicans voted against that.
Republicans in the Texas legislature have proven themselves time and time again to be racist, corrupt, and not have Texans’ best interest in mind.
The lack of fair representation in Texas and other states continues to plague marginalized communities, mainly Black and brown people. Gerrymandering, voter suppression, and other tactics disproportionately affect these communities, stripping them of their voting rights and political power. This pattern will likely continue until there is systemic change, and the voices of marginalized communities will continue to be silenced.
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