Disappearing Democrats

This Washington Post editorial defends the Texas Democrats who fled to Oklahoma to prevent the passage of a Congressional redistricting plan. The Post argues that this behavior was justified because the Republican plan was a naked power grab that would have created a less rational districting scheme. But in reality, although one would never know it from reading the Post’s one-sided account, the Texas Republicans were only seeking to undo blatant gerrymanders past. Despite the fact that Texas is a solidly Republican state (Republicans captured 57 percent of the vote for the U.S. House in 2002), Democrats hold 17 of the 32 House seats. And this is no fluke; the system has been rigged in favor of the Democrats for years. Fred Barnes notes in the current issue of the Weekly Standard that, in 1991, the Democrats pulled off what Michael Barone calls the shrewdest gerrymander of the 1990s — one that enabled them in 1992 to claim 70 percent of the House seats with only 50 of the House vote. Now that the Republicans are trying to correct this situation, the likes of Rep. Martin Frost, architect of the 1991 gerrymander, are attacking them for a “partisan power grab.” Along with the Washington Post.

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