“Political Apartheid”

Writing for the New York Times, Thomas B. Edsall pulled no punches while telling it like it is.

BlackVoters

We all know that Republican voter suppression efforts are aimed at suppressing the minority vote, but Edsall documents the systematic and perverse way conservatives in Alabama managed to reverse decades of Democratic control and effectively segregate parts of the electorate.

Before the 2010 election, there were 60 Democrats in the Alabama State House, 34 of them white, 26 black. Now there are 36 Democrats, 26 of them black, 10 of them white. In the State Senate, the number of Democrats fell from 20 – 13 white, 7 black – to 11 Democrats, 4 white, 7 black.

Once Alabama Republicans gained control of the levers of power, they wasted no time using the results of the 2010 Census to reinforce their position of dominance. Newly drawn lines further corralled black voters into legislative districts with large African-American majorities, a tactic political professionals call “packing and stacking.” Redrawn district lines minimize the potential of coalitions between a minority of white voters and a solid core of black voters. Under these circumstances, white Republican voting blocs remain dominant.

At the core of this strategy is an unexpected twist: Republicans in Alabama and in many other states have gone out of their way to protect black legislative districts and black legislators from Republican or white Democratic challenges.

Have Republican legislators in the South become civil and voting rights champions? No. They are promoting the interests of African-American voters in order to enhance the ability of Republican officials whose real targets, white Democrats, are struggling to cope with the steady decline of loyal “Yellow Dog” supporters.

He goes on to show how Republican lawmakers intentionally redrew districts to prevent the black community from forming “effective cross-race coalitions” by ensuring that black voters don’t have the option. They wanted to prevent the formation of a broad coalition, the likes of which elected President Obama twice.

And as the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus points out, this isolation and segregation of the legislature has lead to the closure of hospitals, schools, and even bankruptcy for areas where black voters and black lawmakers reside. Areas that don’t receive proper funding from the state.

This isn’t a coincidence. And it’s sickening.

This is the core of racism. It’s not derogatory epithets; it’s systematic disenfranchisement based on race.

And they’ll tell you that President Obama is the divisive one while they literally divide you along district lines.

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  • trgahan

    But the Supreme Court said racism is over in America?!? So there shouldn’t be any political advantage of such shenanigans, guess Alabama didn’t get the memo.

    • Victor_the_Crab

      I’m sure they did. They probably just wiped their asses with it as a symbolic gesture. As did many other red states in the South.

  • fojap

    ‘This is the core of racism. It’s not derogatory epithets; it’s systematic disenfranchisement based on race.’

    Absolutely.

  • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

    Shorter Republican…’Let them have their districts. We’ll just restrict them so that they have no real power’. This will end up going back to SCOTUS and maybe by then we’ll see some justice. Unfortunately, it will take another decade and in the meantime the GOP will cling to their dwindling influence until it gets pried from their cold, dead hands.

  • Christopher Foxx

    And they’ll tell you that President Obama is the divisive one while they literally divide you along district lines

    Well if he hadn’t run for President and had kept in his place, none of this would be happening!

  • JozefAL

    “He goes on to show how Republican lawmakers intentionally redrew districts to prevent the black community from forming “effective cross-race coalitions” by ensuring that black voters don’t have the option. They wanted to prevent the formation of a broad coalition, the likes of which elected President Obama twice.”

    Of course this does sort of overlook the fact that Obama LOST Alabama both times–by not so unsubstantial margins, I might add. One would do well to also note that, in 2008, the African-American female Democrat running for Alabama’s US Senate seat (currently held by Jeff “Pig” Sessions) didn’t win as many votes in her race as Obama did in his. Obama lost by 450K, while Figures lost by 553K (and this doesn’t take in the fact that the Senate race had some 40K fewer votes cast and nearly 15K voters opted for someone other than Obama and McCain in the Presidential race). In 2012, Obama lost the State by 460K (and there were nearly 23K votes cast for someone other than Obama or Romney). Both Obama and Romney’s numbers were down from the 2008 election but Obama came off slightly worse–he lost 15K votes from 2008 to 2012 while Romney was down about 11K from McCain’s numbers.

    Perhaps Edsall should’ve used Indiana or North Carolina (both of which went for Obama in 2008 but went GOP in 2012) instead of Alabama. North Carolina’s GOP has done as good a job of marginalizing Dems in the last couple of years.