Friday, May 13, 2011

Sanford Bishop, John Barrow & Racial Gerrymandering

Racial Gerrymandering will hit Georgia at its worst if everything I'm hearing bears fruit.

Macon-Bibb County, a majority-minority city & county possibly going into the second, therefore making it easier for Austin Scott to maintain a hold on the 8th District. Potential Richmond Co moving into the 10th & Chatham in the 1st, therefore making it much, much more easier for a republican to take the 12th away from John Barrow

The biggest supporters of racial gerrymandering are Republicans. The answer is simple:

To the extent that the black Democrats are concentrated in congressional ( even legislative) districts, it is easier for Republican candidates to win more seats overall. The creation of a newly majority black district is likely to drain black voters from other districts (like the 8th, 12), one of them represented by a white Democrat , John Barrow. The more "lily-white" the districts become, the easier it is for Republicans to win them. In short, buy adopting such a redistricting strategy, Republicans give African Americans the opportunity to increase their descriptive representation but, quite possibly, at the expense of their substantive representation.

Racial gerrymandering has once again become a political tool. In this case, racial gerrymandering is being used to ensure political victory for Georgia Republicans. This is not to say that the problems in the electoral system today are on par with those of the past. Yet, these are problems that need to be address all the same.

Sanford Bishop by all means is not your typical "Liberal" democrat. He has always been a moderately conservative democrat since his election back in 1992. Yes he lost a substantial number of white voters due to his support of the Healthcare Legislation that rocked town halls all across the county during the summer of '09-10, but that doesn't mean that he can't win in a district where the black vote is in the minority. Let's not forget he won the 2nd when it was a majority white district, but this whole idea of moving Macon-Bibb County into the second to so-call "Strengthened" Bishop is absurd!

The district is already around 48-50% African American. He only needs 60,000 more voters to meet the 692,000+ needed for a congressional district. The answer is simple: Include all of Muscogee County, as well as Lowndes County into the district. And with Westmoreland (Lynn) district being over populated, the district will have to move northward to take away some of his votes, so include Meriwhether, Upson & Harris in the second.

But instead they want to make the district a solid "Black" District by throwing Macon to Bishop in order to protect Austin Scott, who by not opening a office in Macon sent a signal that he wanted no part of Macon in his 8th district.

Despite the fact that blacks are in general more liberal on economic issues, majority-minority districts are not necessary for blacks to win elections & Bishop have already proven that he can with or without a Majority African-American Constituency.

Gerrymandering is becoming an ineffective method of ensuring minority representation. When majority-minority districts are created first a pocket of blacks must be target.

Majority-Minority districts are harmful to blacks and democrats in general & should be done away with if for no other reason that the fact that majority-minority redistricting will no longer work.

Then there's the saga of John Barrow, one of the few remaining white conservative democrats left in the south that survived the massacre of 2010. The goal of the Georgia GOP is to make his district either more of a swing district or even republican-leaning. And to do that, something will have to be done about Richmond & Chatham Counties, which one or both maybe included in new districts north & south respectively.

Going back to what I mentioned earlier, the more black voters that can be drained from a district, the more it increases the republican's chances of competing or winning a congressional district & in this case that's what they are going to do with Barrow, who does well among white independents & conservatives in the 12th. The logic here is that the more whiter the 12th becomes, the more vulnerable John Barrow becomes. Other than Jack Kingston who's district they can move into the 12th, one thinks Barrow will be alright regardless how they redraw the lines to make it more favorable for a republican.

Majority-minority districts also capture black voters from surrounding congressional districts, leaving white congressmen with no incentive to craft messages appealing to African-American voters. This explains why Republicans receive so few votes from African-Americans

State Senator Robert Brown (D-Macon) expressed two weeks ago that he would like to see Bibb County go back into the second, as well include Warner Robins (including RAFB) which has a 40% Black Population. A study was done not too long ago that show safe black districts dampen electoral turnout so why bother to vote when the outcome will surely be the election of one black candidate or another?

The axiom behind this gerrymandering is that a "safe," predominantly black district could guarantee the election of Bishop, as well other potential black candidates to Congress whenever Bishop retires, because of protracted racism among whites that left Bishop in droves during the 2010 election. I'm going to say this right now, the next representative from the district will be a white democrat. You heard it here first!

Let me close this out: When African Americans are elected to the House from majority-black, heavily gerrymandered congressional districts in big cities in their districts they're unlikely to have the wide appeal necessary to win statewide office. Just look at Georganna Sinkfield who ran for Secretary of State in 2010. She represented a overwhelmingly black district & could not appeal to a more mainstream electorate.

So if I were Bishop' Ill say leave Bibb County in the 8th & if I were Barrow, don't sweat it. Your record speaks for itself!

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