Senator Joan Huffman claimed to be color blind. However, every Texan who testified spoke about the harm her gerrymandered maps would do.
Move over, Briscoe Cain! Step aside, Steve Toth! Make way, Dan Patrick! There’s another elected Republican fighting for the seat of Texas’ top racist, and her name is Joan Huffman.
I watched all 20 hours of the Senate hearings on the redistricting maps for the State Senate and Congress.
Hundreds of Texans from every corner of the State showed up to testify before the Senate and explain how these new maps pack, crack, and disenfranchise millions of people of color in Texas.
Like a broken record, Joan Huffman repeated again and again, “I drew these maps color blind.”
But did she?
Did you know Senator Huffman is near 70-years old? I didn’t. She looks great for her age, but the point is that she was born nearly a decade before the Voting Rights Act was passed. In her youth, Black and white people still had separate water fountains and couldn’t attend the same schools.
Huffman isn’t stupid, either. Before she became a State Senator, she was a judge, and before that a prosecutor.
Huffman knew what she was saying. It was a legal move to repeat how she drew the maps color blind, even citing Shannon Perez vs. the State of Texas as precedence. That matters because it was the 2013 redistricting case in Texas when Republicans intentionally disenfranchised Black people. According to Greg Abbott, who was AG at the time, it was only because they were Democrats.
Greg Abbott said in that case, “A jurisdiction may engage in constitutional political gerrymandering, even if it so happens that the most loyal Democrats happen to be black Democrats and even if the State were conscious of that fact.“
Abbott also said, “Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act is implicated only where Democrats lose because they are black, not where blacks lose because they are Democrats.“
When these maps go to court, which they will, THAT is the same argument Republicans will use to try and keep these maps in place.
They will say they drew the maps color blind with the intentions of disenfranchising Democrats, and it’s not their fault that BIPOC vote for Democrats. Case precedence says that a majority party can disenfranchise minority parties as long as it is based on political affiliation and not race.
Of course, that was all before Trump, before the Republican Party took a hard right turn, and before the GOP openly adopted domestic terrorism as part of their platform.
How will their case hold up in court? It depends on the judge. A Republican, white supremacist sympathizer could say, “These maps aren’t racist. Racism is over.” That’s what the Republican Party is betting on. But, this party is far from over.
How did Joan Huffman redraw her own map?
It’s important to note that in 2018, during her last election, Huffman only won by 15,000 votes, while almost 300,000 eligible voters did not vote.
Huffman’s district, Senate District 17, maintains the same areas where people of color represent and adds four more rural counties, both whole and in part, adding rural white voters to this district.
She did this to keep her seat. But, knowing that she aligns with the party of oppression, the only way to stay in power is to disenfranchise minority voters. Under the new proposed SD17, over 500,000 people of color will become Joan Huffman’s constituents.
Yet, Senator Huffman will disenfranchise them. In the Senate, she will vote to stop schools from teaching the truth about American history. She will vote against police reform, community initiatives, and environmental protection.
Because of Joan Huffman’s maps, 500,000 people will have an elected official whose entire career is based on hurting them.
Welcome to Texas.
All hope is not lost. These maps are obviously racist. Despite what Joan Huffman says, they were drawn with racist intent. Expect a barrage of lawsuits to hit once Greg Abbott signs this bill.
Even though Huffman redrew her district to be more white and Republican, she could still lose it. So all we have to do is organize and vote.
Texas will turn blue in 2022 because of Huffman and other Texas GOP’s time-warp back to the 1950s. Texans are fed up. FED UP.
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