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Lone Star Project Report

Texas Republicans to Launch Partisan Redistricting Effort

GOP plan will continue DeLay legacy of advancing Republican control by undermining minority voting rights

Don’t be fooled by false Republican rhetoric

Expect Republicans in the Legislature and in Washington to cloak their attack on minority voting strength in a combination of misleading rhetoric, distorted data and outright lies.

GOP Rhetoric: We are going to create “new” districts to benefit minority voters 
Truth: Expect any district drawn by Republicans that actually provides minority citizens the opportunity to elect their candidate of choice to be offset by either eliminating a minority opportunity seat in another part of the state or cancelling it out by creating a new Republican seat. 

GOP Rhetoric: We are going to create Hispanic seats that Republicans can win 
Truth: There is no such thing as a Hispanic Republican seat. No current Member of the Texas Congressional Delegation or in the Legislature has won a majority of the Hispanic vote when seeking office as a Republican. Republicans like Francisco Canseco in the Congress lost the Hispanic vote and were elected due to disproportionate support from White voters. 

GOP Rhetoric: Texas received four new seats, so two for Republicans and two for Democrats is fair.
Truth: All four of the new seats in Texas are the result of Hispanic and African American population growth in Texas. Hispanics grew at ten times the rate of Anglos and African Americans grew at five times the rate of Anglos. The Anglo growth rate alone was not enough to warrant even one new seat. Arguably, all four seats should be drawn to allow minority voters to elect their candidate of choice. 

GOP Rhetoric: The GOP holds the all the statewide offices in Texas and the majority in the State House and Senate, so more seats for Republicans is consistent with public sentiment. 
Truth: Currently, Democrats hold only 9 of the 32 Texas Congressional seats and have an opportunity to win in only 11 of the 32. All 11 of these are seats that minority voters control outright or elect their candidate of choice by building a coalition with like-minded Anglos. 

Over the last decade, Democrats running for statewide office have received between 39 and 44 percent of the popular vote in Texas. A mid-range of Democratic performance of 41 percent means that Democrats should have a chance to win election in at least 13 of the current seats. In the new 36 seat delegation, a fair map would provide minority voters, and ultimately Democrats, a fair chance to win 14 or 15 seats.

The Texas Senate Redistricting Committee announced today that it will hold a hearing to consider congressional redistricting this Thursday, May 19, 2011. The Committee signaled both the tone and intent of Texas Republicans by providing the public just 48 hours notice of the hearing and not releasing a proposed map. It will be an exercise in partisan greed. They will attempt to steamroll all opposition and deliberately sabotage minority concerns to continue holding a disproportionate number of Texas congressional seats.

Few issues have been more misunderstood and misreported than Texas congressional redistricting. It is typically characterized as a partisan brawl of Democrats versus Republicans with Republicans holding the upper hand and winning. In truth, the battle is Republicans versus Hispanics and African Americans.

Republicans hold every district in Texas controlled by Anglo voters. Democrats in the Texas delegation win by gaining overwhelming support from African American and Hispanic voters. Not one of the current Republicans in the Texas congressional delegation has ever won a majority of the Hispanic or African American vote.

In short, Republicans in Texas get elected by Anglos. As a result, when drawing districts they must run the high risk of violating the US Voting Rights Act by alternately packing and cracking minority neighborhoods to create as many Anglo controlled districts as possible.

New census justifies new minority NOT Republican seats

The growth over the last decade reported in the new census brought four new congressional seats to Texas. As the Lone Star Project reported several weeks ago, all of these seats are the result of minority and not Anglo population growth.

Given the rapidly growing population and political influence of minorities in Texas, the Republican plan to retain and expand their control will be based on the DeLay method of undermining the voting strength of Hispanics and African Americans. Texas Republicans will take the risk of violating the Voting Rights Act knowing that they have the benefit of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to cover legal costs and to counter the minority advocacy organizations and other fair-minded groups who will inevitably challenge them in State and Federal Court.