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Author Topic: Are the VRA districts the modern version of "seperate but equal"?  (Read 1080 times)
Jbrase
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« on: August 04, 2012, 12:05:04 am »
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Progressives, before your automatic "lolno" think about it for a moment.

I understand why it was created, but now a days it forces some ridiculous districts that wouldn't exist if not for the VRA. Now if a district was drawn in a way that it was compact and kept communities together while being majority-minority, that's great. But when cities are divided up so minorities and non-hispanic whites are in their own districts that in, my opinion, hurts the cause of equality. How can we seriously expect people to be treated as equals if we divide them into their own special districts without using some BS "separate but equal argument".

I know. "but but, they need representation!". This isn't 1960 anymore, currently a black man represents a white district in South Carolina, I repeat, a black man represents a white district in South Carolina, and a white (jewish?) guy represents Memphis etc. And those are good things, no people should feel obligated to vote for a person of the race that the VRA and the map makers expected them too.

The sooner we actually begin to treat others as equals, the sooner we can actually move closer towards equality. We need to draw lines in a way that communities stay together, not so that one group has one seat and another race has another.
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« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2012, 12:55:35 am »
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Lol - YES!!!!!! That's why with my generally left-of-center views i am virulently anti-VRA)))
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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2012, 01:10:18 am »
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Some form of proportional representation would obviously be preferable.
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Miles
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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2012, 01:24:10 am »
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The new NC Assembly maps would be great examples of this.

The Republicans went out of their way to draw non-compact Black districts like this and this.
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Jbrase
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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2012, 01:48:16 am »
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Some form of proportional representation would obviously be preferable.
You could never get it perfectly proportional short designating by that group A gets X amount of seats set garunteed, group B gets.. etc. But I would prefer moving closer to a world where race doesn't matter one way or another. And of course that world could never exist with VRA districts, regardless of if they're heart is in the right place.
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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2012, 02:13:00 am »
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Some form of proportional representation would obviously be preferable.
You could never get it perfectly proportional short designating by that group A gets X amount of seats set garunteed, group B gets.. etc. But I would prefer moving closer to a world where race doesn't matter one way or another. And of course that world could never exist with VRA districts, regardless of if they're heart is in the right place.

Again - agree 101%))
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« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2012, 02:34:20 am »
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Some form of proportional representation would obviously be preferable.
You could never get it perfectly proportional short designating by that group A gets X amount of seats set garunteed, group B gets.. etc. But I would prefer moving closer to a world where race doesn't matter one way or another. And of course that world could never exist with VRA districts, regardless of if they're heart is in the right place.

Well, Louisiana is 32% Black; 2 VRA seats could be drawn giving Blacks 33% of the delegation. Pretty ideal as far as proportionality goes.
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« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2012, 02:41:23 am »
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Some form of proportional representation would obviously be preferable.
You could never get it perfectly proportional short designating by that group A gets X amount of seats set garunteed, group B gets.. etc. But I would prefer moving closer to a world where race doesn't matter one way or another. And of course that world could never exist with VRA districts, regardless of if they're heart is in the right place.

I wasn't suggesting such a system.
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« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2012, 02:54:37 am »
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Some form of proportional representation would obviously be preferable.
You could never get it perfectly proportional short designating by that group A gets X amount of seats set garunteed, group B gets.. etc. But I would prefer moving closer to a world where race doesn't matter one way or another. And of course that world could never exist with VRA districts, regardless of if they're heart is in the right place.

Well, Louisiana is 32% Black; 2 VRA seats could be drawn giving Blacks 33% of the delegation. Pretty ideal as far as proportionality goes.

Only - in especially ugly form, as it was for some time in 90th - infamous "Z-shaped" district. Otherwise - unlikely: except for some very suburban white areas blacks are relatively uniformly distributed in state (of course there are some areas of concentration, but not THAT big, especially - after Katrina). And given almost complete refusal of Louisina's whites to support black candidates (what Obama got among them - 14% in 2008? In 2012 he, probably, will get less) - that becomes REALLY difficult
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« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2012, 03:46:18 am »
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Just FYI, that white Jewish man from Memphis just got 90% in the Dem primary against a prominent black woman. And that was after redistricting removed nearly all Jews (myself included) from his district. Steve Cohen kicks a$$!
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« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2012, 07:55:18 am »
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The problem is that especially with Black voters, they vote so differently from other people that it is easy their voice could be diluted. This is not just about making sure there are some Black (or other minority) representatives but rather making sure minorities have their voice counted. And that could mean voting for a white Jew, like is the case in Memphis. I think proportional representation could work well since minorities preference of party would be factored in, and parties would be smart to make their delegation representative of the population at large.
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« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2012, 10:29:11 am »
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Proportional representation based on race or ethnicity is a profoundly evil idea to me, that makes my skin crawl.
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Lt. Governor TJ
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« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2012, 11:06:13 am »
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I agree with Jbrase that the VRA sort of creates a "separate but equal" political atmosphere by making it such that politicians from these districts are elected almost in a separate reality than everyone else. You do end up with a decent number of sub-par representatives in VRA districts who could never be elected anywhere else so it can be a bit like the US House minor leagues. Part of the problem is the partisan makeup ends up so skewed in VRA seats that elections stop mattering, and not only do they not matter, they never have the threat of ever mattering in the future. The only shred of democracy in a VRA seat is the Democratic primary, which is too often a match-up of a white candidate who wins the 45% of the district that is white so that the VRA district isn't an illegal minority pack against a black candidate who wins the 55% of the district that is black, designed to ensure the black faction is large enough to always win or else the minority community doesn't have the candidate of their choice and the whole concept falls apart.

All of that being said, I'm not sure trying to repeal it would be any better because then you would replace the current system by cracking all the minority areas whenever Democrats draw the map so they can win more other seats. The Republicans would probably want to keep drawing VRA-style seats anyway as a natural way to pack Democrats.

I also think having proportional representation by race would be way worse because it would be actually mandating candidates win based on race instead of just creating an environment conducive to it.
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Jbrase
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« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2012, 01:04:37 pm »
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Well, Louisiana is 32% Black; 2 VRA seats could be drawn giving Blacks 33% of the delegation. Pretty ideal as far as proportionality goes.

But the issue is, we are looking at it wrong. Democrats of all people especially shouldn't be looking at communities as _% white, _%black etc, it should just be that there are people, and the race shouldn't matter.
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Comrade Sibboleth
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« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2012, 01:11:22 pm »
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No. Next question.
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« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2012, 02:39:15 pm »


Well, Louisiana is 32% Black; 2 VRA seats could be drawn giving Blacks 33% of the delegation. Pretty ideal as far as proportionality goes.

But the issue is, we are looking at it wrong. Democrats of all people especially shouldn't be looking at communities as _% white, _%black etc, it should just be that there are people, and the race shouldn't matter.

Theoretically that should be true. However, the 15th Amendment says otherwise.

Quote
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

The right to vote includes the ability to participate in all parts of the electoral process. Since effective participation can be denied by cracking minority populations, the drawing of districts affects participation. Enforcement was difficult until Congress passed the VRA.
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Miles
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« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2012, 08:16:36 pm »
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Some form of proportional representation would obviously be preferable.
You could never get it perfectly proportional short designating by that group A gets X amount of seats set garunteed, group B gets.. etc. But I would prefer moving closer to a world where race doesn't matter one way or another. And of course that world could never exist with VRA districts, regardless of if they're heart is in the right place.

Well, Louisiana is 32% Black; 2 VRA seats could be drawn giving Blacks 33% of the delegation. Pretty ideal as far as proportionality goes.

Only - in especially ugly form, as it was for some time in 90th - infamous "Z-shaped" district. Otherwise - unlikely: except for some very suburban white areas blacks are relatively uniformly distributed in state (of course there are some areas of concentration, but not THAT big, especially - after Katrina). And given almost complete refusal of Louisina's whites to support black candidates (what Obama got among them - 14% in 2008? In 2012 he, probably, will get less) - that becomes REALLY difficult

This is map with 2 VRA seats.

Purple- 52.9% Black VAP
Green- 50.4% Black VAP

The purple district splits a lot of parishes, but is much cleaner than the one of the 1990s.

But you kinda do have a point. While the green one is very Democratic (65% Obama), the purple one is only 56% Obama, meaning that only about 13% of whites voted for Obama. Maybe I should extended the top of the purple district further along the AR border so that it picks up more blacks from Shreveport. 

Still, there were a few competitive races in 2008 where the D's did well. In CD 4, John Flemming won the open seat by less than .5% in a 59% McCain seat. Also, Bill Cassidy won with only 48%...Don Cazayoux got 40% while some f cker named Michael Jackson got 8%, mostly black votes, causing Cazayoux to lose.
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« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2012, 09:25:26 pm »
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Proportional representation based on race or ethnicity is a profoundly evil idea to me, that makes my skin crawl.

How about based on party? I don't really get why you and TJ thought I was talking about race based proportional representation.
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« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2012, 09:35:46 pm »
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Proportional representation based on race or ethnicity is a profoundly evil idea to me, that makes my skin crawl.

How about based on party?
I don't know that I like the system it inevitably creates.  Multiple parties to represent the different parts of society rather than two big tent parties is obviously a huge plus.  The downsides are twofold; a political system prone to huge swings, exacerbating rather than moderating economic or societal problems (as can be seen, for example, in Greece) and an inevitable strict party line, meaning all independent voices in government are shut out.
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« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2012, 09:36:51 pm »
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Sheesh, I just meant give a state like LA six seats. You'd probably see two black Congressmen on average. Much easier than silly districts.
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« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2012, 09:51:06 pm »
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Proportional representation based on race or ethnicity is a profoundly evil idea to me, that makes my skin crawl.

How about based on party?
I don't know that I like the system it inevitably creates.  Multiple parties to represent the different parts of society rather than two big tent parties is obviously a huge plus.  The downsides are twofold; a political system prone to huge swings, exacerbating rather than moderating economic or societal problems (as can be seen, for example, in Greece) and an inevitable strict party line, meaning all independent voices in government are shut out.

Yeah, but it's a way to ensure everyone's vote is counting without doing racial gerrymandering. I mean have you people looked at MS exit polls? It's not as if this is some sort of settled issue.
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« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2012, 10:16:10 pm »
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Proportional representation based on race or ethnicity is a profoundly evil idea to me, that makes my skin crawl.

How about based on party?
I don't know that I like the system it inevitably creates.  Multiple parties to represent the different parts of society rather than two big tent parties is obviously a huge plus.  The downsides are twofold; a political system prone to huge swings, exacerbating rather than moderating economic or societal problems (as can be seen, for example, in Greece) and an inevitable strict party line, meaning all independent voices in government are shut out.

Yeah, but it's a way to ensure everyone's vote is counting without doing racial gerrymandering. I mean have you people looked at MS exit polls? It's not as if this is some sort of settled issue.
I'm just holding out for a third way.  IRV seems like an obvious method, but that doesn't address the problem of districts.  Maybe an independent redistricting commission, like what they have in Iowa?
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« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2012, 10:36:29 pm »

Proportional representation based on race or ethnicity is a profoundly evil idea to me, that makes my skin crawl.

How about based on party?
I don't know that I like the system it inevitably creates.  Multiple parties to represent the different parts of society rather than two big tent parties is obviously a huge plus.  The downsides are twofold; a political system prone to huge swings, exacerbating rather than moderating economic or societal problems (as can be seen, for example, in Greece) and an inevitable strict party line, meaning all independent voices in government are shut out.

It may not be as bad as you think. From 1870 to 1980 IL used a modified cumulative voting system to elect its lower chamber. There were three house seats per district and partisan proportionality was roughly followed by offering each voter three votes to cast including multiple votes on a single candidate. It arguably produced less partisan results than the current single member system. It was only discarded during public anger over a pay hike for legislators in 1978.
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smoltchanov
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« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2012, 10:51:56 pm »
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Some form of proportional representation would obviously be preferable.
You could never get it perfectly proportional short designating by that group A gets X amount of seats set garunteed, group B gets.. etc. But I would prefer moving closer to a world where race doesn't matter one way or another. And of course that world could never exist with VRA districts, regardless of if they're heart is in the right place.

Well, Louisiana is 32% Black; 2 VRA seats could be drawn giving Blacks 33% of the delegation. Pretty ideal as far as proportionality goes.

Only - in especially ugly form, as it was for some time in 90th - infamous "Z-shaped" district. Otherwise - unlikely: except for some very suburban white areas blacks are relatively uniformly distributed in state (of course there are some areas of concentration, but not THAT big, especially - after Katrina). And given almost complete refusal of Louisina's whites to support black candidates (what Obama got among them - 14% in 2008? In 2012 he, probably, will get less) - that becomes REALLY difficult

This is map with 2 VRA seats.

Purple- 52.9% Black VAP
Green- 50.4% Black VAP

The purple district splits a lot of parishes, but is much cleaner than the one of the 1990s.

But you kinda do have a point. While the green one is very Democratic (65% Obama), the purple one is only 56% Obama, meaning that only about 13% of whites voted for Obama. Maybe I should extended the top of the purple district further along the AR border so that it picks up more blacks from Shreveport. 

Still, there were a few competitive races in 2008 where the D's did well. In CD 4, John Flemming won the open seat by less than .5% in a 59% McCain seat. Also, Bill Cassidy won with only 48%...Don Cazayoux got 40% while some f cker named Michael Jackson got 8%, mostly black votes, causing Cazayoux to lose.

MUCH better then it was then. But not sure that 50.4%  (or even 52.9%) black district will surely elect  black. I remember about 2/3 black district in Louisiana's state Senate electing white (and relatively conservative) Democrat. It could even elect a Republican in bad year with low black turnout
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« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2012, 10:44:52 am »
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I agree with Jbrase that the VRA sort of creates a "separate but equal" political atmosphere by making it such that politicians from these districts are elected almost in a separate reality than everyone else. You do end up with a decent number of sub-par representatives in VRA districts who could never be elected anywhere else so it can be a bit like the US House minor leagues.


Whether this is an argument for or against the VRA depends largely on your point of view. Whether such representatives are "sub-par," or, merely different in kind from the run-of-the-mill politicians is a subjective question. If politicians elected from VRA districts merely differed from politicians elected elsewhere in melatonin then there really would be no point to the law.
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