Texas Republicans have come up with a congressional redistricting plan. The plan would, in the loaded words of the Washington Post, “siphon off thousands of [Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s] Black constituents and potentially forc[e] her into a primary election against her neighboring Black incumbent, Rep. Al Green.”
This is a wonderful development. Jackson Lee, who once compared the Tea Party to the KKK, has no redeeming quality I’ve ever detected.
Green seems like a good guy (once, after a congressional hearing, he invited a friend of mine with whose testimony he disagreed to lunch). However, his over-the-top demands that Donald Trump be impeached before Trump had done anything even arguably impeachable (that is, before the Ukraine-Joe/Hunter Biden business) make him a good candidate for forced retirement.
Naturally, Jackson Lee and Green are unhappy about the proposed congressional map. And naturally, they are playing the race. They call new districting lines “an act of racial discrimination.”
But neither member of Congress has a God-given right to represent a safe district. Neither has a God-given right not to have to compete for White votes.
Democrats use Black voters to get rid of Republican members via redistricting. It happened to my former representative, Republican Connie Morella.
Morella wasn’t even a conservative. She was a centrist. But Democrats couldn’t stand the thought of her representing a solidly Blue district, so they tried to redistrict her out of Congress.
The first attempt didn’t work. Morella was so likeable and so good at constituent services that she survived.
Determined to take the seat, the Democrats tried again. Before the 2002 election, they removed yet more territory where Morella did well from her district and added areas that are predominantly Black.
It worked. Morella lost 51-48 to Chris Van Hollen, who is now a U.S. Senator.
Jackson Lee was a member of Congress at the time. I don’t recall her complaining about the use of race to remove Connie Morella.
I don’t recall the Washington Post complaining about it either. However, the Post’s report on the Texas redistricting, by Colby Itkowitz, reads like a brief for Jackson Lee and Green.
To this end, Itkowitz gives the insufferable Jackson Lee the final word:
Silencing a voice of opposition is the most deadly aspect of democracy. I guess they thought this would be the end of her. We haven’t defeated her in all of these efforts. What else could it be?
Connie Morella could have said exactly the same thing in 2002.