Among the world’s advanced capitalist countries, the USA arguably holds the title to perhaps the most inherently flawed and undemocratic political structure of all, where the president can be elected with a minority of votes, a political minority can control legislation, and voters must wait in some cases all day in lines to cast a ballot.
And this situation is getting worse, not better, as far-right legislators in several states, including Texas, have been aggressively “redistricting” — redrawing voting maps — which amounts to gerrymandering political districts to “rope in” conservative voting blocs and dilute the voting power of liberal voters, especially ethnic minorities.
On May 27th, immediately following the end of the regular 83rd Texas biennial legislative session, far-right Republican Gov. Rick Perry signed a measure mandating a special session to address this very issue.
The manipulation of voting districts by the GOP-controlled state government has been a problem for several years. Last year, after minority groups challenged the political maps drawn by the previous state legislature, arguing they were discriminatory, a panel of federal judges suspended the GOP maps and re-drew them for the 2012 election.
Subsequently, a three-judge panel in Washington ruled that the maps concocted by the Republican-controlled legislature in 2011 did indeed discriminate against minorities. House, Senate, and Congressional district maps were all rejected by the court.
On May 27th, Your News Austin reported that a court in San Antonio is now considering drawing new statewide maps. However, Gov. Perry and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott now both want the special legislative session to formally adopt the current maps, drawn by the federal judiciary panel last year.
However, the fight heated up on May 29th as Texas Democrats protested, advancing an argument that even the court-ordered maps continue discrimination against minority voters. While the Democratic Party basically represents the more “liberal” wing of America’s capitalist power structure, it depends on posturing as a defender of civil rights and other left issues to maintain its constituency among minorities and other predominantly left-leaning voters.
According to a report by the Associated Press,
Minority rights groups complained to judges Wednesday [May 29th] that Perry’s narrow mandate only allows the Legislature to approve the interim maps and not consider changes. Among their beliefs is that Texas’ shifting demographics demands at least two more congressional seats that would be safely decided by minorities.
While the political structure both within Texas and throughout the USA remains profoundly undemocratic and designed for manipulation by business interests, it’s noteworthy that current battles by liberals are merely defensive actions focused primarily on fighting efforts to make it even more undemocratic.