Friday, February 24, 2012

Majority Minority Districts Are Not a Simple Matter

Fantastic column by Aaron Rodriguez in today's Journal Sentinel on the drawing of Assembly districts on the south side of Milwaukee. There are two views on how to treat minority populations in redistricting.

One is to say that we should do whatever we can to create districts that have a sufficiently large minority population to permit a minorty group to elect the candidate of its choice. The traditional view is that this requires a supermajority minority district because of differences in turnout, age and, in some case, citizenship status between minority and white populations.

In the past, this has often created an alliance between minority groups and Republicans. Republicans have no objection to packing minority voters who noramlly vote for Democrats and professional minority groups want to get a safe district.

But there is another view. Maybe it would be better to have a larger number of districts in which voters of a minority group would have a chance to elect the candidate of their choice - or to influence the outcome. Is it, for example, better to have a one 65% Hispanic district or two 55% Hispanic districts?

The answer is not obvious even if the only thing that you consider is "what should Hispanic voters want?" And, from a legal perspective, the question becomes more vexed because what Hispanic voters would want is not the legal standard for redistricting.


George mitchell said...

Aaron's well-reasoned column is typical of his writing and blogging.

After seeing David Mamet's "Race" I wonder if Aaron's op-ed would resonate as much if he were not Hispanic. I would like to think so, but Mamet forces one to ask the question.

John Foust said...

What does Scott Jensen think about this?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Mr. Rodriguez could enlighten us as to why his group Hispanics For School Choice saw the new maps before anyone else. He also fails to address Voces' key argument, that the new districts dilute Latino strength to less than 50% ELIGIBLE Latino voters. He keeps mentioning the voting age population, but fails to mention that a number of Latinos in those districts are not yet US citizens and therefore ineligible to vote. More on the connections that Mr. Rodriguez fails to mention:

Anonymous said...

"Maybe Mr. Rodriguez could enlighten us as to why his group Hispanics For School Choice saw the new maps before anyone else." The group was consulted regarding the drawing of the maps. Doesnt' that explain how they 'saw' the maps before anyone else?

Aaron RODRIGUEZ said...

Anonymous #1,

I wrote in the column that Hispanics for Leadership was consulted before the maps were publicized to ensure they were reflective of Hispanic population growth. There is nothing sinister about that.

Regarding Voces, they don't have a key argument. Their argument is a shell game exchanging VAP with Citizen VAP hoping that people don't realize that the 8th Assembly District has managed to stay in Latino control for the past 14 years with the same VAP in 2000 and 2002.

Also, a citizen population under 50% isn't an issue if the non-Latino voting age population in the same district is 10-15% fewer than Latino citizen voters. Again, they are playing a shell game hoping that nobody notices. My bet is that the panel of federal judges are smart enough to see through it.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rick Esenberg said...

The preceding post was deleted because it contained false information about the criminal record of a person.

Anonymous said...

The person in question was convicted of three felonies and sentenced to fifteen months in prison. He is a felon. You want to quibble because his conviction was overturned on a technicality, be my guest. He was found guilty. The person in question also serves as a consultant for important government work. The question is WHY? And it doesn't matter that he is a Republican, I would have the same outrage if it was a Democrat.