The Supreme Court has agreed to hear Texas' appeal
of a judicially imposed apportionment plan and issued a stay against the plan's implementation. The Justice Department claims that Texas's reapportionment discriminates against Hispanic voters by reducing their representation. But what this case really comes down to - and how I think the 5 conservative justices will decide - is the Justice Department attempting to dictate to states the partisan makeup of their delegations, which is clearly a violation of state sovereignty.
Back in the early days of the voting rights act, which imposes onerous restrictions on jurisdictions with a history of discriminatory voting rules, the question was whether you'd have a white Democrat or a black Democrat in the legislature or in Congress. Now that whites in the South have pretty much made a complete party switch, enforcing the Voting Rights act means mandating more Democrats than the legislature would prefer. But it is the right of state legislatures, going back to the early days of the Republic, to maximize their party's representation via apportionment.
States dominated by Democrats, however, have no such concerns - they can apportion their voters as they see fit (granted, California voters decided to implement a non-partisan apportionment scheme, but that's their choice). So how is it a level political playing field if one party is forced by the courts to give up seats while the other can operate without restrictions? It isn't, of course, which is why I think the 5 'good guys' on the court will overturn it. The question is how weasily will they do so?
This imbalanced political landscape is not just restricted to the Voting Rights Act. The Republican Party is basically the party of white America, but of course such an entity as "white America" cannot be acknowledged in mainstream outlets (except of course as a source of some evil). A Republican legislator cannot complain that his constituents are being forced to move because their schools are becoming disabled by excessive numbers of non-English speakers or poorly behaved minorities. So instead he must complain about "illegal" immigration in the vaguest of terms and express displeasure with the failure of schools by blaming teacher-unions (bastions of anti-Republican rhetoric). A Democrat, on the other hand, can freely rile up his constituents by denouncing "discrimination" and favoritism, regardless of the facts.
Similarly, any Democrat politician, black or white, can make unlimited hay over alleged racial profiling among the police or "institutional racism" in the law enforcement. But no Republican politician would dare court white voters by defending the police, pointing out, for example, the disproportionately high levels of criminal behavior in the black community. When it was recently revealed that some NYPD officers had the nerve to complain on a facebook page about having to work during the West-Indian Day parade which annually features gun-fire and police injuries, who came to their defense, pointing out that people who engage in gunfights during a parade deserve to be called 'animals'?
The essence of this asymmetry in political combat is that Democrats are free to rabble-rouse and demagogue their positions without penalty - indeed, often with great showers of media attention for doing so - while Republicans must rouse their constituents only obliquely through proxies - religious faith, gun rights, opposition to gay marriage, and of course "No New Taxes". Even then, we often hear pundits denounce the "Three G's
" - Gays, Guns and Gods - so even their proxies are derided.
But this leads to dumb policies - or at least failure to enact sensible policies. We can't have sensible gun laws, because Republicans have to prove that they sympathize with white-Americans' anxiety over the baneful impacts of minorities on their neighborhoods not by addressing that issue directly but by supporting unrestricted gun rights. Gay marriage is stupid - but the real problem is the insidious "Diversity" mentality that so offends the white middle class, but instead of fighting that, Republicans must single out Gay marriage (and even that fight is being rapidly lost). And Religion leads to unnecessary constitutional battles, while it is just a proxy of course for the desire of white Americans to keep America the way it is - not a banana republic, not a dysfunctional, balkanized economic zone, as it is on its way to becoming.
Labels: Diversity, Law, politics