It has been a rough week for Republican legislators who seek to perform systemic racism through congressional map redistricting while, at the same time, denying the existence of systemic racism.
On Tuesday, a panel of federal judges rejected a map drawn by Alabama Republicans because it failed to meet the criteria for non-racist congressional maps that don’t intentionally dilute Black voting power. On the same day, hearings began in Georgia, where GOP legislators are also accused of drawing congressional maps that purposefully break up Black voting districts so that the white vote is still the most valuable.
But days before all of that, the Grand Wizard of lynching Black history, Black inclusion and Black voting blocks was told by a federal judge that his state would also be disallowed to draw up a congressional map that very likely violates the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
According to the New York Times, over the weekend, a federal judge in Florida ruled that the Sun Shine state’s congressional map violated Florida’s own Constitution by diminishing the influence of the Black vote, and ordered the State Legislature “to enact a new map which complies with the Florida Constitution.” One could easily speculate that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis didn’t help his state’s case by explicitly describing his effort to break up majority Black districts as creating “race-neutral” districts.
From the Times:
Under state constitutional amendments that Florida voters passed in 2010, lawmakers are forbidden to draw districts “with the intent or result of denying or abridging the equal opportunity of racial or language minorities to participate in the political process or to diminish their ability to elect representatives of their choice.”
In a 55-page ruling, Judge J. Lee Marsh of the Leon County Circuit Court ruled that lawmakers had violated that prohibition with the new maps they drew after the 2020 census.
Judge Marsh rejected the Florida secretary of state’s argument that the prohibition didn’t apply to this case because Black voters had been a plurality, rather than a majority, in a district that the new map dismantled.
The secretary inaccurately conflated two pieces of the law, he ruled. One requires the creation of newmajority-minority districts in certain circumstances. The other limits the “diminishment” of existingdistricts in which voters from a minority group had sufficient numbers and influence to elect their candidate of choice, even if they weren’t an absolute majority — and that was the piece that applied to this case, he said.
Yeah, and besides all that, YOUR GOVERNOR EXPLICITLY STATED THAT HE WANTED TO MAKE BLACK DISTRICTS “RACE-NEUTRAL” without applying the same criteria to majority-white districts. If only there were a specific word for Republican A-hole Caucasians Intentionally Segregating ‘Merica by doing things such as lessening the value of the Black vote.
Speaking of DeSantis, the Florida governor and leading woke-away advocate has been having a bad few weeks all by himself. Besides the fact that his poll numbers for the 2024 presidential race have been consistently in free fall, DeSantis recently got booed at a vigil for victims of the racist mass shooting in Jacksonville, he just got dragged in a major Florida media outlet’s scathing report about how his anti-immigrant policies have devastated his state, and he just can’t seem to stop white supremacists from marching outside of Disney World and staging demonstrations on his behalf. (Do they not understand how hard this demonstrable racist is working to prove racism isn’t a real problem?)
But right now we’re talking about his congressional district racism, and because it’s a thing that has become common in Republican-led states (I’m also looking at you, Texas) let’s get into an example of exactly how racist redistricting works.
More from the Times:
At issue in the ruling was an area previously mapped as House District 5, which stretched from Jacksonville to Tallahassee along Florida’s northern border with Georgia.
The district, whose voting population was about 46 percent Black, had elected Al Lawson, a Black Democrat, in the 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections. Its voting patterns were racially polarized, with Black residents mostly voting for Democrats and white residents mostly voting for Republicans.
In the new map approved by the Florida Legislature and signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis before last year’s midterm elections, that area was divided into four districts whose voting populations ranged from about 13 percent to about 32 percent Black. In 2022, all four districts elected a white Republican, one of whom defeated Mr. Lawson in the process.
“Under the enacted plan in 2022, North Florida did not elect a Black member of Congress for the first time since 1990,” Judge Marsh wrote in his ruling, in a list of facts that weren’t disputed by either side.
And that’s exactly the point. It’s not political strategy, it’s the use of legislative power to perform racism. If only there were some system-based characterization that could describe that kind of racism.
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