Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Texas struggles to defend discriminatory voting policies

Pretty blatant, and it's the same story in every other Repug-controlled state: If ya can't beat 'em, cheat 'em.


As Kevin Drum explained, Texas' first argument, as pushed by state Attorney General Greg Abbott, "is that, sure, Texas has tried to discriminate as recently as 2011, but their efforts were overturned by a court. So that means there are no current violations, and thus no reason to grant any kind of 'equitable relief.'"

The second argument is the half-glass-full tack. As Serwer put it, "[T]he state claims, even if Texas did discriminate, and the state stresses that it did not, it was nothing as bad as 'the 'pervasive,' 'flagrant,' 'widespread,' and 'rampant' discrimination that originally justified preclearance in 1965.' So as long as Texas skies aren't alight with flames from burning crosses, what's the big whoop?"

But it's the third argument that's truly amazing.

From the brief filed by the state:

DOJ's accusations of racial discrimination are baseless. In 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party's electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats....The redistricting decisions of which DOJ complains were motivated by partisan rather than racial considerations, and the plaintiffs and DOJ have zero evidence to prove the contrary.

Got that? Texas wasn't trying to discriminate against racial and ethnic minorities; Texas was simply trying to discriminate against racial and ethnic minorities who vote for Democrats.

In other words, Texas' defense is that state policymakers were trying to crush the Democratic vote, and this led to inadvertent discrimination against African Americans and Latinos. As such, the argument goes, Texas was motivated by crass partisanship, and not racism, so the discrimination doesn't really count.

Any chance this might be persuasive in court? Brenda Wright, a voting law expert with the liberal think tank Demos, told Serwer, "I don't think it's going to work, frankly. The mere desire to achieve partisan advantage does not give Texas a free hand to engage in racial discrimination. If the only way you can protect white incumbents is by diluting the voting strength of Hispanic citizens, you are engaging in intentional racial discrimination, and the courts will see that."
First, "inadvertent" my ass and second, SCOTUS willfully didn't see it when they overturned parts of the VRA.

It's 15 months 'til the '14 elections. I hope that's time to get everybody IDs because that's probably not enough time for this to work its way through the courts in these red states. I hope this pisses folks off enough that they take special pains to jump through all the flaming hoops and vote these shitepokes outta office.

I'm not trying to piss off all you anarchists and third-party advocates, but our only hope in the near term is to get Democratic control of the House and Senate and Democratic controlled state legislatures.

More than nuts. Anti-democracy criminals.

No comments: