Around the U.S. in 50 Days: Texas, part 2

The current Congressional delegation stands at 23-9 for the Republicans. Under the new maps drawn by the legislature, twelve of the 23 Republican districts would undergo some change with eight of those 12 undergoing a major change. Of those undergoing a major change, Joe Barton in the 6th, Kay Granger in the 12th, Ron Paul’s open seat in the 14th, Canseco’s seat in the 23rd, Blake Farentold in the 27th and Pete Sessions in the 32nd would all face a threat of losing their seats in the 2012 elections. In fact, the Cook political report now rates the 27th as a likely Democratic pick up in 2012. Hence, not even counting the four new districts, Republicans could potentially lose 6 seats, although only two are rated as being in serious jeopardy of loss- the 23rd and 27th.

The average PVI rating of any district currently held by a Republican is 12.7 Republican. Of the nine current Democratic districts, four would see proposed changes of any kind with only one designated as a major change. Only one Democratic incumbent- Lloyd Doggett in the 25th- faces a serious challenge and loss due to redistricting under the legislature’s proposed map. Those facing only minor changes to their district are in the 15th, 20th, and 28th Districts.

Under the legislature’s proposed new districts, three of them would lean Republican and one would lean Democratic. Under this scenario, should elections be determined by predictive statistics, Republicans should net two House seats from the new districts. However, they stand to potentially lose five currently held seats while flipping a district which would create a net loss of 4 House seats. Hence, under the legislature’s map, Republicans are actually placed in greater danger of LOSING seats in a red state. However, all this is ignored in the name of racial equality in redistricting under the Voters Rights Act!

Using a PVI score of +16 or less for Republicans as a guideline, there are 12 seats that fall in that category. Further whittling away using a 19 point or less margin of victory for McCain in 2008, we would find that the following Republican seats are at risk: the 3rd (Johnson), 6th (Barton), 10th (McCaul), 12th (Granger), 21st (Smith), 22nd (Olson), 23rd (Canseco), 24th (Marchant), 26th (Burgess), 27th (Farentold), and 31st (Carter) plus one open seat, the 14th (Ron Paul). In theory, that would put 12 Republican House seats in play. In reality, only Barton, Granger, Canseco and possibly Marchant face losses.

Using the same parameters, but only in reverse, we find that only the 15th (Hinjosa), 16th (Reyes), 25th (Doggett) and 28th (Cuellar) are in play for the Democratic held seats. In reality, even when reconfigured, the 15th and 28th districts are actually strengthened for the Democrats. Meanwhile, in the 16th District, Reyes represents a district that is 73.9% white which attests to his popularity within that district- despite his ethnicity- which is kind of proof that this racial gerrymandering by the courts is nonsense.

By any stretch of the imagination, how can any Democrat with a straight face argue against this map? In essence they are saying “We don’t have a stable of viable and qualified candidates, and you are picking on Lloyd Doggett.” In fact, this whole controversy seems to boil down to protecting Doggett’s seat in teh 25th. Even under the existing map, it is nominally rated Democratic. If the map makers focus on the 25 District and come to some compromise, there is no reason to redraw the entire map.

As I have said in several contexts, if the GOP would recruit, groom, support and run viable conservative Hispanic candidates, all this worrying about redistricting and the introduction of racial considerations in politics would be a moot point. Likewise, if the Democrats in Texas and other states would recruit, groom, support and run moderate candidates, they might have a fighting chance in these states. The fact is that a stone cold liberal Democrat in Texas is only going to win in urban districts with a high minority population- districts they already hold and have no fear of losing. In essence, these lawsuits are attempting to enforce a blue status that does not exist by judicial fiat.

This redistricting controversy in Texas underscores a serious problem in American politics. In effect, minority groups are demanding that districts be drawn to reflect the ethnic and racial percentages of the population at large. That is, if 37.5% of the population is Hispanic, then districts should be drawn to increase the chances that there will be 13-14 Hispanic Representatives from Texas. In essence, they are asking for political quotas. If quotas are illegal in employment and other areas of life, then they should not be a consideration in the more important political arena. Once we start down that slippery slope, we cheapen the process and we cheapen the dream of our Founders. We cheapen democracy and we cheapen America.

In conclusion, the 38 electoral votes of Texas go to the eventual GOP nominee. Republicans retain the seat in the Senate in the the most likely name of David Dewhurst. However, Republicans lose 2 House seats out of Texas.

The running totals thus far:
Obama with 83 electoral votes to 74 for the GOP nominee;
Net gain of 2 Governors;
Net gain of 1 Senate seat, and;
Net loss of 6 House seats.

Next: Oklahoma and Kansas