Even though people of color have made up 95 percent of the state of Texas’ growth over the last 10 years, the GOP’s proposed congressional map would reduce the number of districts in which they make up the majority of eligible voters, according to the Texas Tribune.
The state gained two congressional seats, but in their first draft of new congressional districts, Texas Republicans drew the map to benefit their incumbents and disadvantage the Asian, Black and Hispanic Texans who have outpaced white Texans over the last decade.
More specifically, the proposed GOP map strengthens their positioning in Texas because they will go from 22 to 25 districts that would have voted for Trump in 2020; the number of seats that would have voted for Biden would have dropped by one, from 14 to 13. The idea of the map being constructed that way is to protect incumbents.
Currently, Texas has 36-seat congressional seats made up of 23 Republicans and 13 Democrats. Texas will have 38 congressional seats under the new map and 40 electoral votes in future presidential elections. Austin and Houston have the two new seats because the new seats were drawn there.
State Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), who leads the chamber’s redistricting committee, proposed the map layout. There will likely be changes to the map before it is passed by the Texas Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott.
Here is more on this story, per the Tribune:
The redrawing of district maps is intended to reflect population growth captured by the latest census. People of color accounted for 95% of the state’s growth over the last decade, but in the new map there’s one less Hispanic majority district and zero districts with a Black majority. The latest census results show Hispanic Texans nearly match the number of white Texans.
Based on eligible voters, the current congressional district map includes 22 districts with white majorities, eight with Hispanic majorities, one with a Black majority and five that have no majority. The newly proposed map includes 23 districts with white majorities, seven with Hispanic majorities, none with a Black majority and eight that have no majority.
Domingo Garcia, national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens was dismayed that Hispanics, who drove much of the state’s population increase over the decade, growing by nearly 2 million people, would have less opportunity to elect the candidates of their choice under the proposed map.
“This map is clearly gerrymandered by politicians to protect incumbents and totally discriminate against Hispanic voters,” he said. “LULAC has filed suit against the state of Texas every 10 years since 1970 and we’ve prevailed every 10 years. Unless there’s new maps drawn, we expect we will wind up in federal court again.”
Gary Bledsoe, president of the Texas NAACP, called the proposal shocking, hurtful and outrageous.
“The proposed map vastly diminishes the voting strength of minorities all around the state by either packing them into districts already electing minority candidates of choice or cracking them by pushing them into districts dominated by conservative white voters,” he said. “As the state has garnered two new congressional seats on the backs of its minority population, it has sought to put forth a proposed congressional map that is clearly retrogressive.”
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down provisions to protect voters of color from discrimination in 2013. Usually, a state like Texas, with its history of voting discrimination, would have needed approval from the federal government before making any changes to election laws or political maps.
But they don’t need to since the High Court’s 2013 ruling.