Unbelievable: Texas Admits to Partisan Gerrymandering and Racism–Claims It Isn’t as Bad as the 60’s

rick_perry_1It’s amazing the kind of honesty that will come out when someone, or something, is forced to defend themselves in court against harsh accusations.  And that’s exactly what we’re seeing with the State of Texas defending its new strict voting laws against the Department of Justice’s accusations that they’re targeting minorities.

You see, Republicans in the state of Texas are trying to keep the Department of Justice from overseeing their new voting laws by claiming that yes, the GOP gerrymandering within the state in 2011 did seek to disenfranchise Democrats.  However, they’re claiming it did so only along partisan party lines—not racial.  They freely admit their redistricting plans were meant to weaken the voting power of a political party, they just insist those redistricting maps had nothing to do with race.  So that’s evidence that their strict new voting laws can’t possibly be about keeping minorities from voting—just Democrats.

Yes, believe it or not, that argument is actually a large part of their defense.  They admit that they blatantly redrew districts to weaken the Democratic vote in Texas, but it was done so along partisan lines—not racial.

Oh, but it gets even more ridiculous.

Another part of Texas’ argument seems to be that even if their new voting laws do happen to disenfranchise minorities—it’s really not that big of a deal.  Because the events of the 1960’s were much worse.

Let that sink in for a moment.

A state openly admitting that they redrew district maps to purposely split up and weaken the Democratic vote (something we all knew Republicans were doing but had yet to hear admitted publicly), claiming that even if their new voting laws did happen to disenfranchise minorities from voting that it isn’t that big of a big deal because “the 60’s were much worse.”

Basically, “Yes, we’ve been trying to rig elections along partisan lines and even if our new laws might target minorities in a way—at least we’re not doing what they did in the 1960’s.”

Well, at least not yet.  But you can clearly see this is the path Republicans across the country are taking.

This is by far one of the most asinine arguments I’ve ever seen. A state taking an example where they blatantly tried to disenfranchise an entire political party in the voting process — using that as evidence that they’re not targeting race?

Then saying that even if their new laws do (by “sheer coincidence”) happen to target minorities, it’s no big deal because in the 60’s the laws some states were trying to pass to keep minorities from voting were much worse.

Their entire argument pretty much hinges on the fact that things were so bad in the 1960’s (as it relates to voting rights) it forced the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but their new laws are nothing compared to those of the “‘pervasive,’ ‘flagrant,’ ‘widespread,’ and ‘rampant’ discrimination that originally justified preclearance in 1965.”

So their argument isn’t that they’re not possibly discriminating based on race, but that if these laws do happen to discriminate—they only discriminate “a little.”  Oh, and their evidence that they would never blatantly racially discriminate is admitting that Texas sought to weaken the Democratic party in the state by redrawing districts that favored Democrats.  But remember the State of Texas only redrew the districts based on partisan voting patterns, race had nothing to do with it.

This defense the State of Texas is trying to use is almost reminiscent of something you’d find on The Onion.  A state admitting to partisan redistricting, partially admitting to racial discrimination in their new voting laws but saying “it could always be worse.”

Which I guess is true.  We could have members of the Ku Klux Klan guarding voting sites and burning crosses lighting our night skies.

Luckily, most experts seem to be saying that this defense stands almost no chance at being successful.  Simply arguing that current laws “aren’t as bad” as horrific laws from decades ago isn’t much of a defense for their legality, and Texans (like myself) should be mortally ashamed that this is what our state has come to.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Larry Dillon

    Well teanuts are obvious. Blatantly deluded cheating nut jobs but obvious about it. Red is dead. Their autopsy reveals their dementia and when you look at the numbers and demographics you see they just keep pissing on their funeral pyre with gasoline every time a teanut politician or pundit speaks…Priceless

    • mlk12

      Never ceases to amaze me just how childish the progressives are.

      • disqus_6AeSbMRBY2

        Never ceases to amaze me just how oblivious the teabaggers are.

  • Bendwat

    House district gerrymandering, on both sides, has left our country with only a handful of contested seats each election. How we get out of this mess, and by extension the House controlled gridlock is beyond me.

    • LL11

      Totally agree; and why I get frustrated with comments like “well we (you) voted for these people in Congress”. Wrong, my district’s house seat is so safe they seldom even get a challenger. They “win” by default.

    • Yombute

      The answer is actually quite simple. Take the money out of politics – all candidates have the same budget – and move to truly independent commissions. The PROBLEM will come when trying to implement the changes and fighting the very well entrenched (and very wealthy) folks who run things now.

    • Origami_Isopod

      BOTH SIDES DO IT!!! lolz

  • raxmom

    I think I am going to be sick.

  • DrDon

    The Republicans have been doing the same thing in NC. We have yet to see their defense but no doubt since so many of our new voting restrictions are like Texas’s or even harsher, they will have to make the same case. This idea that both sides do it is just wrong. While it is true there are “safe” districts for Dems too, blue states like CA are moving toward fairer electoral patterns that will minimize partisan advantage. More states need to go to independent nonpartisan commissions to do the redistricting maps.

    • mlk12

      Finally a comment worthy of being here. You at least understand this is how both parties have done their deeds each and every time one or the other obtains the right to redraw districts for whatever reason may compel that action.

  • DCM

    I’M SHOCKED !………….not.

  • wendelynboo

    Well, yes, I bashed that person’s face in with a rock, but I didn’t actually kill them.

    • korhal

      “It’s not like I used a sledgehammer or anything. I could have, but I didn’t.”

  • Marvin P James

    used to be , the nuts rolled to Calif. now Texass is as far as they make it.

  • KatieDancer

    Major lawsuit

  • WitchHazyl

    I think that Texas should not only be allowed to leave the Union, but we should encourage them to do so. Pack that state with as many republicans as we can fit, build a huge frikkin wall around the borders, forget they exist, and move on with taking care of the needs of our Nation. They have been talking about secession since Obama was elected, now is their chance. They can be their own Christian nation, hate women and minorities all they want, and never have to pay a dime in taxes. They don’t get aid from the rest of us, they don’t get to cross the border of their nation into ours without passports, they don’t get to use our money, our postal service, or benefits, or our military. The military bases get closed down and moved out, and any business there will either have to relocate to the United States (the remaining 49) or they will have to pay tariff taxes and wheel and deal to get their products shipped and sold here, as well as having to pay international fees for the purchase of raw materials from the United States at the same rate other independent nations are charged.

    • Brad Perry

      That would leave a vast wasteland we now call Texas. They couldn’t stand to be miserable alone, they would just spread to the other states.

    • mojones1

      Lets just give Texas back to Mexico. The level of political corruption would be a good match.

      • Zach Smickle

        The sad thing is it is probably worse in Texas. While it is true Mexico is still very corrupt, Mexico has been getting better.

      • mlk12

        You people are idiots without a doubt. You compare Texas to Mexico politics or corruptions? Mexico is where they regularly have kidnappings, pay for elected offices, bribery is mandatory, and oh did you forget the justice dept’s gun running fiasco? On top of that they have been on this side of the globe with the US for all time and yet they still can not figure out how to get potable water from the tap. Mexico is a third world country. And if you try to give Texas back to Mexico that would be fine with most of us in Texas. That way we wouldn’t have to deal with secession, we could then close our southern border since the US federal gov’t can’t seem to get the job done. By the way, we’ll be annexing New Mexico, Arizona, So. California and possibly Utah and Nevada and even Wyoming. Or you know what? Why not the entire center of the country come with us and the coastal states can work for Obama and his buddies. The Confederacy will be reborn with all races welcome. except muslims. you can keep them and dearborn MI

      • imapayne

        So I guess Colorado will be dragged along too huh?? Well I live in the middle and no thanks

      • IamCURRENT

        Only IF you want it to happen

      • Screaming Mandrake

        They will only go along with you if they want to. But you can definitely have Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Utah and Oklahoma. We’re keeping California, New Mexico and Arizona otherwise. BTW, can you leave tonight?

      • Michael Sewell

        Don’t let the door hit you in the vagina on the way out.

      • Origami_Isopod

        Downrated for misogyny. Not necessary.

      • ironman2819

        You say you’re fine with succession…. yeah… right up until we take away the military personnel, the currency and oh yeah… no more NFL, NBA or MLB professional teams… and no more golf events either….

        Without all that fanfare you can kiss goodbye the love you get from corporations having their HQ’s located in TX

        So with billions and billions of dollars being sucked out of your economy Texas will soon have the financial power of Cuba…

        …and the whole place would soon after smell like New Orleans!

      • Origami_Isopod

        …and the whole place would soon after smell like New Orleans!

        Awww, who’s a cute widdle racist? You are!

      • ironman2819

        …to say something would smell like a location below sea level surrounded by swamps and bayous is not racist…. its geo specific….

        …but hey, way to go revealing your true race and race baiting mindset…

        Sean Hannity would be proud of you… but awe… turns out no one wants to hear his crap either…

      • Major Migraine

        You can have them. Texas is a net loss when it comes to revenue, and soldiers from TX, well they could be given the option NOT to go and simply relocate. And Texas is not that big a financial power that it once was… Let them go. They are taking more than they contribute already, and there’s plenty of evidence to back that up.

      • milk- texas and all those other states you mention are welfare states, you get more from the Federal government than you contribute, so good luck with that secession thing, don’t expect us to defend you. You will just be another third world country.

      • Origami_Isopod

        Thanks for demonstrating why so many people from civilized parts of the U.S. wouldn’t be sad to see Tex-ASS leave the union.

      • mojones1

        You miss the point. You assume you would be in charge if the US gave Texas back to Mexico. Your backward dream of a re-born Confederacy is a slap in the face to every American who is descended from slaves.

      • Brad Fulton

        Jack- You ARE a jerkoff. An IGNORANT, DOGMATIZED, MORONIC jerkoff. You will fit well in a land of hateful, bigoted “morans”. Don’t forget to write (if you can find paper and a post office to deliver your mail)….

      • Defiant


      • Lori Fleener-Powers

        I don’t think Mexico would take them.

    • mlk12

      That would be no problem really. Seeing as how half the nation has moved here for work and the other half moved to the Dakotas for work there. Post offices would continue the same, military’s would act like NATO and just be allies, ya’ll can keep the UN, women here are more beautiful than any other place on earth although CA runs a close second, we don’t want any stinking benefits we earn our keep, your money is not yours anyway, it is owned by the federal reserve, they loan it to you and you can keep it too, it is garbage. Go ahead and try charging big tarriffs, ever hear of the rest of the planet? You wouldn’t be able to build a friggin wall much less a speed bump after you realize Obama spent you into the depths of credit hell so far gone you’ll be looking at the Chinese butts when you look up. Of course your idea of raising the costs to have the pleasure of doing business with your wonderful idea of a nation falls right in line with raising taxes to pay for what the government has screwed up financially. You can have all the banks too and the EPA, DEA, FDA, FBI,CIA, NSA, and all the other corrupt alphabet soup of worthless agencies top to bottom. If Texas could, we would. And you would be begging for us to come back and show you how it’s done. But we’ll just have to decline on that one.

      • Lori Fleener-Powers

        I am all for it. Texas leaves the union with the provision that no assistance will be given ever and that means during a disaster natural or otherwise. And if you are a Texan and want to move back to the union better do it legally.

      • Origami_Isopod

        women here are more beautiful than any other place on earth

        But you still don’t trust them with the rights to their own bodies.

      • Tradewinds

        most of the women would leave also, you can use the rainbow colors as your new flag..

    • frumpus

      Forget that, we should just send the military to execute all of the texas republicans. problem solved.

      • Mister Guy

        Downvote from a liberal. Compassion and anti-violence is what sets us apart.

    • Skyhollower

      I live in Texas and can’t stand Rick Perry and his minions. I still watch the abortion debates and the idiot that presented the bill. She literally said that rape victims didn’t need to have abortion as an option available to them as there was a thing called a “rape kit” that took care of that. Sorry I digress, you are right Texas, if they want, should secede from the union. I have had this argument with supporters of this movement as to why this wouldn’t be feasible but to no avail. During these discussions I have discovered that most, firmly believe that Texas can support and defend itself. As you stated above there would be no services that we currently enjoy from the Federal Government. I also like to inform them that it would no longer be called Texas, but something closer to Northern Mexico. A lot of these supporters don’t remember or never knew that there are a lot of Mexicans that believe that the land that forms Texas was stolen from them and they would be very happy to get it back. These supporters also believe that Texas as it’s own nation would be able to defend itself from their southern neighbors. I of course will be moving if this ever happens. My Spanish sucks!

      • Major Migraine

        Let the door hit ’em, where the good Lord split ’em, I say. One less vampire state sucking the rest of the nation dry.

    • BobMarleysFoot

      I live in Texas. Please don’t lump all of us together. This sort of thing from our politicians and their ilk is not representative of everyone. It is despicable and shameful, and should be a rallying cry for anyone with an ounce of humanity; it is not an exemplar of all Texans.

      • ironman2819

        Then help the rest of us vote these idiots out of office!

      • Mister Guy

        We’re trying, and growing in number, but gerrymandering is hampering our efforts. Redistricting reform needs to happen at the national level.

    • Defiant

      Actually, I’d like to see that happen too! Once all the Republicans are in Texas, you “Progressives” will watch your Welfare system crumble to the ground…there will be nobody left working in the US, to collect taxes from!

      • Brian

        Since the 2012 election had democrats winning 50.6% of the popular vote, and the current unemployment rate is 7.4%, that leaves at least 43.2% of democrats WHO ARE EMPLOYED, and that’s assuming that all those who are unemployed are democrats (which is a wildly inaccurate assumption). So…. there’s that.

        Basically, I’m saying your entire premise is invalid.

      • Mister Guy

        Funny you should say that, especially since the richest areas in Texas are blue, especially with the huge tech boom happening in Austin.

        Also, Austin has a 4.8% Unemployment rate, as opposed to Texas’s 6.4% rate.

        BTW, Austin already signed a petition to secede from Texas and re-join the union if Texas seceded.

  • Betty Johnson

    Rick Perry has lost his damn mind! He has been an embarrassment to the great state of Texas far too long. But he keeps buying the governorship. Getting this moron out of office is easier said than done.

    • Jazzman 420

      He has already declared he is not running again so what does he have to lose.

  • Da_Kid

    Clearly, you have no idea what gerrymandering is. I can tell that you didn’t pay much attention in high school. Gerrymandering is done in Republican states, and it’s done in Democrat-controlled states. And the goal is the same – to stay in power. The fact that this shocks you helps me to understand why we are where we are.

    • Corey

      No, the fact that YOU understand gerrymandering and appear to think it’s no big deal is why we are where we are!

      • Da_Kid

        Who said it wasn’t a big deal? The faux outrage is what I find laughable.

      • Screaming Mandrake

        You misunderstand where the outrage is and thus label it as “faux outrage”. The outrage is not that gerrymandering is taking place, but rather that these guys are like George W. Bush, Part II. They are so secure in their position that they can actually admit to this without blinking an eye, a big “F*** You!!!” to their opposition, the rest of the country and the very notion of democracy. I, on the other hand, actually applaud the honesty and say, “It’s about time!”

      • Da_Kid

        Oh, I see….it’s not so much the gerrymandering, it’s the PEOPLE that are doing the gerrymandering. Gosh, you’re right…that’s not hypocritical at all. 😉

        BTW, the explanation you just gave describes the process of passing Obamacare perfectly.

      • disqusraton

        Politics as usual, unfortunately. It’s OK when “we” do it, but not when others do it (without “our” permission).

      • Da_Kid

        THANK YOU!! Finally, a voice of reason in the wilderness….

  • openlyblack

    Stab me in the back with a 9 inch knife … pull it out 6 inches and expect me to thank you?! ? Really!?!?!

  • Wayne Slaven

    Is it truly less of a sin if Rev. Gov. Good Hair is discriminating against Democrats (which includes, and keep with me on this one) which are the party of choice for a majority of … wait for it … African Americans and Hispanics.

  • mlk12

    What makes this such an obvious manipulation of drawing district lines to help the political party doing the drawing, one needs only to look at how districts have been drawn. I don’t know how they get drawn in other states but here they look like a toddler was given a blank piece of paper and told to take his crayon and just draw a bunch of closed areas that are all different shapes and sizes. Another thing about this redistricting stuff is that Texas up until George Bush Jr. became governor, Texas was exclusively a blue state, running all the way back to its beginning. Texas has only recently become enlightened to progressive lunacy and has denied the gov’s seat to any Democrat since then. I don’t even know why redistricting was ordered by the courts but it was and as any sane and competent person understands, the group charged with or being given the task of drawing new districts will naturally draw them to their parties advantage. To think otherwise would just be foolish. Hence the court having oversight of the whole affair.

  • labman57

    Because of their exclusionary, self-serving, compassionless policies and proclamations, Republicans have not been able to garner significant percentages of the votes from key demographic sectors of the electorate. Therefore, they have opted for a different approach — reduce the number of these citizens who are able to vote and/or minimize the impact of their vote.

    To that end, we have already seen — and expect to continue to see — Republican-controlled state legislatures renew their efforts to create voter eligibility roadblocks and engage in the deliberate manipulation of election districts so that white conservative, sparsely populated rural regions have a disproportionately larger impact on elections than do multi-ethnic, heavily populated urban centers.

    Bottom line: The two most powerful players in the GOP’s strategic planning for state and national elections continue to be … Gerry Mander and Jim Crow II.

  • lhke2012

    Um…, would love to see a direct quote.

  • John D. Reynolds III

    On the positive side… at least they admitted it.

  • John Cresswell-Plant

    Thank goodness someone has finally admitted that they’re Gerrymandering!

  • Tillmann Puschka

    lol what else can they do but admit it when it becomes so obvious? sadly, this will be an issue in Texas and many other states for decades, maybe even centuries, to come.

  • Jason

    The solution is easy: Start shooting the lawmakers who are acting in direct contradiction to the US Constitution.

    Then claim stand your ground because you believed your life and liberty were in jeopardy.

  • josef d. pinter

    The US Constitution say that redistricting is about Population.
    Party is not mentioned.

  • Texas_Independent_Texas_Proud

    Politics in Texas are at best pretty weird. It’s funny to think that less than 30 years ago you couldn’t get elected dog catcher unless you were a Democrat..

    Now, the religious wacko jobs, and the Screw You I’ve Got Mine bunch (Republicans) have a death grip on the state top to bottom. While the wackos and carpet baggers with KOCH money make the news, don’t forget there are many areas of the state with a thinking population who are working to right the wrongs vested on us ALL by the Republican party.

    OH, and thanks for the “support” from all those who post the asinine “let them leave the union” comments. There are a LARGE number of us who are MAKING POSITIVE CHANGES to the political landscape here in Texas. Glad to see you have our backs..NOT

    • hope within

      Hey, I’m with you. Texas has a lot of really good people. it is the Koch money that tries to paint a Texas picture to the rest of the country. Good luck getting your fine state back.

  • disqusraton

    If one is going to complain about one side’s doing something it is only fair to be transparent and honest and disclose that ALL sides do this.

    Gerrymandering based on party lines is a long-standing and favourite tactical and strategic tradition of Democrat politicians as well. Democrats have done (and keep doing) this in multiple states and in even the latest re-districting opportunities in order to favour Democrat candidates in elections.

    For one insight into the thought process, and the level of detail (including race) at which people in both parties look at these things to influence elections (there are even computer programs/apps to help them do so) search on
    [ Hyper-partisan Texas Democratic Gerrymander ] (TXMichael published in Daily Kos)

  • jeannonkralj

    There have been plenty of times when the Texas Democrats were in power and the Democrats did the redistricting and they did it in the same dishonest manner that the Republicans did it. I wonder why the U.S. Just-Us Department did not sue the State of Texas over those many partisan gerrymandered redistrictings.
    Anybody who has studied Texas elections and voting procedures and vote counts over the last half century know how hideously corrupt Texas voting is.
    I cannot see why anybody would object to each voter presenting a photo identification when they vote. That would be an excellent way of eliminating much of the Texas voting fraud.
    However, most of the voting fraud is accomplished by electronic voting machines and whatever party is in power nationally controls how those electronic machines lie, cheat and steal.
    One example of fairly recent voting fraud in Texas was in about 2006 when many of the county clerks around Texas cheated and stole the election to Texas Supreme Court of attorney Steve Smith and he never could get complete or accurate voting records.
    This whole article does not address the overall massive voting fraud of Texas and the whole nation.

  • Danny Adams

    In the criminal and criminal justice worlds, confessing to a smaller crime to avoid someone discovering that you committed the larger crime is pretty common.

  • Belden Erhart

    Time for the ‘north’ to secede from ‘ye old plantation’. Inevitably, the working people will become too broke, too ill and too stupid to be rolled by any party machine. Note how the ‘sequester’ keeps basic gov’t functins from working taxpayer all the while $ Billions go to Egypt cuckoostan, Syrian cuckoostan, doesn’t matter what cuckoostan. Texas ‘insane tea klan posse’ one facet of political lunacy. Media nitwits lamenting closure/downsize/ buyout of the nations newspapers brought all this on themselves by refusing to call the traitors out. Now, media relegated to celebrity rag instead of 4th estate heritage…

  • Major Migraine

    This, coming from the guy who owned Niggerhead Ranch. SUUUUURE, it’s not racial.

  • meg_nificent

    It’s so embarrassing that my state is doing this, but a state can’t be judged by its elected officials (see: U.S. Congress). And if Texas can secede from the Union, Austin would like to petition to rejoin without Williamson, Hays, Colorado, and all of the other counties making us look bad. So please don’t judge us based on this, because it’s not the citizens of Texas who want this – it’s the incumbent Republicans who vote with their balls and their wallets, not with their constituents, that do this. And they do it so that they can stay fat and happy, and gerrymander shamelessly so that it’s impossible for Texans to vote them out of office. Why do you think they’re targeting Democrats?- Because Republicans AREN’T THE REAL MAJORITY ANYMORE.

    • hope within

      I think You hit the nail on the head. Texas is going democratic and it is the GOP’s worst nightmare. that is why they need redistricting.

    • K Fred Shultz

      You know you are right.There are many in Texas who do not believe the way they do or feel the way they do.It’s the same in the ten other states.The sad part is that they did get in and they are not seeing you.You are just baggage they have to carry.It was like that in the Civil War too.Many did not want to secede but the leaders did not care what they wanted.The leaders wanted to secede.Then many did not want the war.The leaders did not care.They did.They blatantly attacked Fort Sumter and it was on.And when Grant and Sherman went down there it was to kill and destroy.And they did just that.The shame was even those who did not want the war lost everything.They forced Lincoln into war.The main argument in the civil war was over the land from the Mississippi west.Would it be plantations and.slaves or an industrial giant? Two different ideas of what the U.S. should be like.We are at another conflict.What do we want the U.S. to be like.The economy is almost bottomed out.The people are poor for the most and getting poorer.There is no real expansion of jobs.You can’t tax the poor any more.They have nothing to pay.So to fix the economy the Democrats want to raise the taxes on the rich to pay for job programs to put people back to work and money in their pockets to get the economy going again.The rich and the Republicans say NO! We want to cut all programs for the people. (Social Security,Medicare,Medicaid,and so on)and cut all regulatory programs over business (EPA,FDA,OSHA,and the rest) and destroy all unions and men like the Koch Brothers can build more factories in the U.S.and work the people in the factories ,the husband,the wife, and their children,and pay them $1.50 an hour and they’ll be glad to get that, and they will sell their goods to the ever growing Chinese middle class who are starving for American goods.They wont have to pay taxes and they will make more money than ever before. The U. S. will be debt free.And the Koch Brothers and their Friends will have a whole lot more money.He who has the most money rules the world.I’m not going to say what will happen from here.I Don’t know for sure.But
      you can see the alternatives.