This Week in Redistricting – Gerrymandered Texas Congressional Map on the Cover of the NYT

October 6, 2021

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Fabiola Rodriguez rodriguez@democraticredistricting.com

Hi All —

In case you missed the cover of the New York Times today, they published side-by-side maps of Texas’ current congressional districts and the state’s proposed districts for this decade. The take away from this new map may sound familiar to what you’ve been hearing from us for weeks — Republican legislators are doubling down on their gerrymanders from ten years ago by shoring up their incumbents and eliminating competitive seats. 

For example, of the districts that voted for Donald Trump or Joe Biden by less than 5% in 2020, 90% of them have been eliminated in the new Republican map. 

The Times spotlights four ways Texas legislators gerrymandered the congressional map, including: 

  • Adding a Republican district in Harris County,
  • Splitting Dallas into larger and more rural areas,
  • Consolidating Democratic growth in Austin, and 
  • Spreading out the Latino vote.  

And despite the fact that 95% of the growth in Texas came almost entirely from people of color, the map actually increases the number of majority-white districts. This is unacceptable and a clear power grab. 

It’s worth noting that this same dynamic is playing out with the Texas state legislative maps, where the Texas Senate and House have presented maps that aggressively gerrymander each chamber.  On Monday, Texas Senators had the opportunity to denounce the gerrymandered Senate map, but instead turned their back on Texans by endorsing the anti-democratic map.  Unfortunately these are the same actions that we expect to see this Friday as Texas Senators move forward on voting for the congressional map. 

Let’s be clear: predetermining election outcomes for the next decade is directly at odds with the central tenet of American democracy – election results that reflect the will of the voters. We are up against a party that believes politicians should decide who wins elections, while we believe the people should have the freedom to choose who represents them. This fight is playing out right now in Texas, and it’s up to all of us to fight back. 

Please see below for key points from the New York Times story. We’ll keep you updated as the redistricting process continues and maps move forward across the country. 

Thanks!

Kelly 

The New York Times: How Texas Plans to Make Its House Districts Even Redder

KEY TAKEAWAYS: 

  • The new congressional map released by Texas Republicans aims to lock in an artificial advantage for Republicans over the next decade by building on the map previously gerrymandered in 2011.
  • The proposed district lines offset recent population growth spurred by communities of color, diminishing their voting power.
  • The map shores up Republican incumbents with durable safe districts and removes all competitive districts from the battlefield, dealing a blow to any Democratic hopes of flipping seats in Texas during the 2022 midterm elections and risking deeper polarization in Congress. 
  • The only district where the 2020 presidential margin of victory would have fallen within 5 percentage points is now TX-15, which was a safe Democratic seat last decade.
  • Here are four ways the Republicans further gerrymandered the map:
    • Adding a Republican district in Harris County
    • Splitting Dallas into more large and rural areas
    • Consolidating Democratic growth in Austin
    • Spreading out the Latino vote
  • The explosive growth in Texas was, in large part, the result of a booming Latino population. But despite that growth, Republican legislators avoided drawing a new Latino-majority district. This attracted immediate attention, especially in the Rio Grande Valley and in the Dallas area, as a potential violation of the Voting Rights Act.

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