TUESDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2022
Maddow / Blow / gerrymanders: As best we can tell, something like 28 percent of respondents reported that they disagree with the following statement:
“White Americans today are not responsible for discrimination against Black people in the past.”
Those respondents don't believe that such people "are responsible for" such past behavior—presumably, for such past behavior by other people. At least, that's what those respondents told the Public Religion Research Institute (the PRRI) as part of the recent survey described in this fuzzy report.
On the basis of this declaration, the PRRI seems to have reached a certain judgment about those respondents. The organization seems to have judged that those respondents had thereby "indicate[d] a more receptive attitude to racist beliefs" through their stated reaction to the fuzzy statement.
In their response to a very fuzzy statement, these people had indicated that undesirable attitude! Or at least, that's the way Jennifer Rubin described it in this remarkably fuzzy column for the Washington Post.
Our view? It seemed to us that Rubin was demonstrating a highly receptive attitude to claims about racism on the part of Others. For better or worse, this has become the central organizing principle of current blue tribe tribal belief.
Experts say it's bred in the bone, this instinct to demonize Others. Before we look at what Charles Blow said about gerrymandering in a recent column, consider something Rachel Maddow said, just last night, on her weekly Monday night program.
Maddow started with an informative report about anti-government sedition back in the 1930s. She then discussed the upcoming Supreme Court session, which gets underway today.
Discussing a case before the Court, she offered this at one point:
MADDOW (10/3/22): That case they're going to hear tomorrow is out of Alabama. Alabama has a population that's more than a quarter African-American. But the Republicans who control the Alabama state legislature want only one of the state's Congressional districts to have a majority-black electorate.
The legislature wants only one of Alabama's congressional districts to be majority-black. It was abundantly clear that viewers were supposed to think that this preference is morally wrong.
Meanwhile, say what? If a state's electorate is something like 70 percent "white," isn't it possible, absent gerrymandering, that all the state's congressional districts would be majority white? That none of the districts would turn out to be majority black?
Absent (something like) gerrymandering, concentrations of population—in a large city, let's say—might result in one or more majority-black districts. But why would there have to be any such districts, let alone more than one?
How many members of our blue tribe would know how to answer such questions? We'll guess the number would be extremely small.
Maddow didn't offer any help as she proceeded last night. Later, she restated her basic framework, adding a bit more detail:
MADDOW: Tomorrow, the Court will hear a Voting Rights Act case out of Alabama, where more than a quarter of the voting age population is African-American, but six out of seven congressional districts are majority white.
Alabama's population is one-quarter black—and the state has seven congressional districts. Absent something resembling gerrymandering, on what basis can we assume that any of those congressional districts would turn out to be majority black, let alone more than one?
Based on Maddow's presentation, the Alabama legislature has drawn a map which resulted in one such district (out of seven). Apparently, some litigant is arguing that there should be more than one such district—but on what basis is that argument being made?
Maddow made no attempt to address this fairly obvious question. She seemed to think it was obvious—if a state is one-quarter black, at least two of its seven congressional districts should be majority black.
Could any such outcome obtain in Alabama without some form of "gerrymandering?" Are litigants in this Supreme Court case arguing that some form of gerrymandering should be used to carve out that second district?
Maddow didn't make any attempt to address these obvious points. We'll guess that very few of her viewers could have addressed such issues.
To Maddow, it seemed obvious that Alabama should have more than one majority-black district. She didn't explain why she thought that, and she didn't explain the legal or constitutional basis on which a litigant could argue that point.
She didn't describe the process by which a larger number of such districts could be obtained. Would something like gerrymandering be involved?
As is the norm within our self-impressed tribe, no explanation was offered by Our Own Rhodes Scholar. Despite that fact, her moral assessment was clear.
So it goes as our failing blue tribe discusses matters of race. Last week, Charles Blow discussed a similar situation in this column for the New York Times.
(Headline: Ron DeSantis’s Race Problem.)
Blow discussed a redistricting dispute in Florida—a redistricting dispute which is supposed to help us see that the Others are racist. But then, in our current state of disarray, pretty much everything does!
Tomorrow, we'll look at what Blow said in his column, after which we hope that we will never decide to discuss such topics again. But this is the way a nation ends, not with slam-bang attempts at clarity but with (mandated tribal) whimpers.
In closing, we'll ask you this:
Could you explain why a state like Alabama would be required by the Constitution to have two majority-black districts, not just one?
Remember, we're not asking which number you would prefer. We're asking if you can explain the basis on which the Constitution, or some federal law, would require the larger number.
Do you have any idea how that would work? Would it involve "gerrymanders," and if so, why isn't that legally wrong?
Also, importantly, this:
If someone disagreed with your view on this matter, would that show they were racist?
Tomorrow: From reading Blow, you'd never guess what Judge Lewis said
For the record: According to the Census Bureau, Alabama's population in July 2021 was 26.8% black.