Cynthia Tucker’s recent column on race and redistricting is so correct. She wrote:
If black covers think they have made substantial gains simply by having more black representatives in Congress, they’re wrong. They’d have more influence if they were spread through several legislative districts, forcing more candidates to court them.
My county is divided between Congressmen Sanford Bishop and Austin Scott and both are likable and intelligent men fully prepare to serve a cross-section of Georgians. But, as Ms. Tucker wrote, corralling most Blacks into a few districts make the contiguous districts areas ultra White. Voters in ultra White districts equate congressional time spent with Blacks to time spent with liberals because they don’t understand that most rural southern Blacks are actually moderate to conservative in their mindsets on issues. If not for the vitriol created by ultra conservative media, Michael Steele could have drawn 25% of the Black vote into a moderate section of the Right–even Bishop would have likely switched.
Thoughts of brother Steele brings me to another Tucker point: hyper Black districts and therefore hyper White districts discourage moderation. For more on the importance of moderate, one can read almost every previous post on this blog.
I started work at the U.S. Congress when Rep. John Lewis was the only Black member of the Georgia delegation and most southern congress members spent a third of their time in the Black community. Oh, Bishop and the Blue Dogs will serve conservatives on a fair level but will conservatives give an equal ear to the center and the left. An interesting but forgotten fact is that Newt Gingrich had a Black female chief of staff in his personal office back in the day. Ms. Tucker should have an intern count the number of Black staffers in White southern congressional offices and the number of White staffers in Black members’ offices. As they say in sports, we can’t win for losing.