Shop Talk

Good news for Republicans:

A three-judge federal panel Tuesday upheld a new congressional map for Texas that the Republicans pushed through the Legislature after months of turmoil and two walkouts by the Democrats.

The decision followed a December trial on the heated redistricting issue.

Democrats and minority groups claim that the new map is unfair to Hispanic and black voters in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and in South Texas.

But the judges said Democrats failed to prove the plan violates the Constitution or the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voters. The opinion also noted that the judges ruled simply on the legality of the Republican plan, not its “wisdom.”

The reason the court didn’t rule on the wisdom of the Republican plan, is because the plan didn’t have any.

Texas Republicans are governing as though they think they’re the permanent majority party. The Democrats there used to think so, too. Well.

What the Republicans have done is throw away 200-plus years of national precedent: we only redistrict after a census. Should the Democrats take charge, even for a single session, you can bet they’ll go for some sweet, sweet payback.

Short term gain: Republicans will get 5-7 new safe seats in Texas.

Long-term loss: This will come back to bite them on the ass.

Damage done: Now every state will be going through nasty redistricting fights, every time the majority changes. Currently, we only have to go through these fights every ten years, and usually only in states which gain or lose seat in Congress. “Now,” said the sage, “things will be worse.”

Silver lining: A similar scheme was undone here in Colorado late last year.