Just over a year ago, Candace Valenzuela narrowly failed to win a seat in Texas’ 24th District. Beaten by the Republican candidate, this Democrat of Latin American and African American origins was not discouraged at first, but when she learned that she could not stand for re-election in 2024 in her riding, she s is felt targeted by Republicans.
I asked one of the Republicans if they had moved my residence to another county on purpose and she said yes, it was almost ridiculous that I was asking the question.
Cynicism in politics is pervasive in Texas, a state where Republicans reign supreme at almost every level of power. “In this district,” explains Candace Valenzuela, “they target people of color and put them in counties that are already democratic or in counties that are more rural, and therefore more conservative, to dilute their vote. “
selection of legal voters
Every ten years, after each enumeration, the party in power in the state of Texas, therefore generally the Republican Party, can redraw the electoral maps so that each district has roughly the same number of residents. But to ensure that they have a super majority in the next election, they are practically tracing the boundaries of these districts with a political scalpel in order to distribute the votes they need according to their needs.
This is called “gerrymandering”. This
gerrymandering it’s nothing new. It can be traced back to 1811, when Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Garry was accused at the time of redesigning his constituency in order to ensure his party’s success in the election. And this electoral division had the shape of a salamander. It was enough to create a portmanteau with Garry, who became Gerry, and add a piece of the word salamander in English (salamander). We then get the
It’s a very popular way of doing things in Texas, but also in Ohio, Florida and Georgia, which are territories administered by Republicans. The Democrats are not, however, outdone in the State of New York, but also in Illinois, where they reign supreme.
In Candace Valenzuela’s case, her district has grown from a population of 42% to 62% white. While Biden was ahead by 5 points there, the Republicans are expected to win by 12 points, according to estimates. All because of the
A national sport
In 2021, around twenty states, especially Republicans, have redistributed electoral maps. And it is the Republicans who, at the end of the day, should come out stronger in the next election.
The redistribution of the electoral map is a big industry, much more in the United States than in Canada, explains Antoine Yoshinaka, associate professor of political science at the State University of New York.30 or 40recent years that it’s been the Republicans, because of their coalition which is much more predominantly white and which uses this process of gerrymandering in an attempt to minimize the impact that racial minorities can have. “,” text “:” Historically, this was the Democratic Party that was much more conservative on racial issues. The southern United States, for nearly a century, was dominated by the Democratic Party. It has only been the Republicans for the last 30 or 40 years, I would say, because of their coalition which is much more predominantly white and uses this process of gerrymandering to try to minimize the impact that racial minorities can have. “}} ‘>Historically, it was the Democratic Party that was much more conservative on racial issues. The southern United States, for nearly a century, was dominated by the Democratic Party. I would say that for the last 30 or 40 years that it has been the Republicans, because of their coalition which is much more predominantly white and which uses this process of gerrymandering to try to minimize the impact that minorities can have. racial.
Recourse before the courts
In Texas, since the 1970s, court challenges have increased. Domingo Garcia, lawyer and president of LULAC, the largest non-governmental organization defending the civil rights of Hispanics in the United States, knows a lot about this.
In Texas, Republicans control all levels of power, they rig the whole system, he said.
So with each redistribution imposed by the Republicans, his organization counter-attacks in front of the courts.years. “,” text “:” In our opinion, this is unconstitutional and we have challenged each time in court for about 50 years. “}} ‘>In our view, this is unconstitutional and we have challenged each time in court for about 50 years. And each time, LULAC won, forcing the cancellation of the redistribution.
Except that between appeals and Supreme Court decisions, it takes three to five years before the electoral cards are overturned.
States do not have carte blanche to redraw the electoral map, believes Antoine Yoshinaka. But that being said, who says American constitution and who says federal laws, says interpretation of said law and said constitution by the courts. It remains an obviously very partisan process. Just think of the current composition of the Supreme Court of the United States which leans in favor of the conservatives.
A Texas that will never be blue?
The population of Texas may have a growing Latin American presence, it is probably not tomorrow the day before that this community, which is in general more Democratic than Republican, will succeed in being truly represented at the state level, estimates Domingo Garcia.
I feel that a lot of people in the community feel disenfranchised and wonder what the point of voting is. And we are entitled to wonder if all this is not part of the plan.
Discouragement among voters
Today, Candace Valenzuela has resigned herself personally, but not for the minorities who are still under-represented. “I am working hard to get these communities elected to municipal councils, school boards so that they have at least representation at certain levels in redistributed territories. “A sort of consolation prize for a part of this population which feels its rights violated by” gerrymandering “.