Voter Discrimination

Alabama, pursuant to the latest decennial census, has drawn its electoral map, and the outcome supposedly yields a House delegation of six white Republicans and one Black Democrat for the Federal Congress.

Opponents of the map say it disadvantages black voters. So far, the map stands, as the Supreme Court ruled that the map mustn’t be changed this close to an upcoming Federal election, but it’s a temporary ruling: the Court said it will hear the full case in its next term, starting in October. Thus the map will be the one in effect for next November’s midterms.

The “disadvantages black voters” bit rings hollow to me. There’s no doubt that the map is gerrymandered to favor one group of Americans over another, but that’s what gerrymandering does, and both parties have been doing it, for good or ill, ever since there were two dominant parties in our Republic.

What makes the beef ring hollow though, it the bit about disadvantaging one group of Americans over another. That suggests, strongly, that it would be OK to advantage that group of Americans over the other, currently advantaged. Or even merely to seek some version of “equity” or “equality.”

Either way—explicitly targeting one group of Americans separately from another, regardless of purpose—is nothing but rank identity politics. While there remains bigotry afoot in our republic, this is no longer the 1950s. We have come far closer today to realizing our ideal—as carved into the Supreme Court building—of all Americans being equal under law, just as we are—as acknowledged in the opening sentences of our Declaration of Independence—equal under God.

There is no need, any longer, to explicitly carve out districts to favor any race or ethnicity over any other: we’re all the same voters; we’re all American voters.

The answer, of course, for all that it’ll be easier written than done, is to do away with gerrymandering altogether. Divide each State up into squares of substantially equal populations of citizens, beginning at the State’s geographic center, and deviating from straight-line district boundaries only at the State’s boundary with an adjoining State.

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