A Pie in the Face from Texas Voters

Sometimes the irony's so thick you can cut it with a knife. Try this on for size: a black Texas Republican wins the protected Democratic House seat in a district that was redrawn by Supreme Court decree to create an "opportunity" under the Voting Rights Act -- for Hispanics. It just doesn't get any worse than that for the Democrats and their robed enablers.

I'm not making this up. Congressman-elect Will Hurd won his House seat from Democratic incumbent Pete Gallego in District 23, the same congressional district the Supremes found fault with in the 2003 Texas redistricting case (LULAC) because it had enough Hispanics, but not the right kind of Hispanics to ensure polarized (the good kind) voting. Makes you wonder if those white racist Republicans just forgot they were supposed to be suppressing the black vote with terrorism and photo ID way out in Southwest Texas.

That's a question worth pondering. After all, a federal district judge (Nelva Gonzales Ramos) and three justices of the United States Supreme Court (Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan) played the race card just days before the voting began, arguing with fierce ideological zeal that suppression of the black vote just had to be the purpose behind the new Texas voter ID law. That white Republicans just had to be suppressing the black vote because racist Democrats had held white-only primaries right up 'til 1944. They just had to be doing it even if they didn't suppress Will Hurd, their black Republican candidate for Congress. Or force Greg Abbott to divorce his Latina wife, Cecilia, before letting him run for governor.

On November 4, 2014 Texas voters gave our liberal judges a reality cream pie smack in the kisser. The Republicans didn't just win; they won in a way that outs the liberal activists' slander against Texas for the leftist wet dream it is. Republicans swept the statewide races in a landslide, led by Abbott's 20-point annihilation of Wendy Davis. In voting that the judges will certainly denounce as polarized (the bad kind), Abbott won only 7 percent of the Black vote. But wait -- there's more to this story than just the polarized black vote. Senator John Cornyn narrowly carried the Hispanic vote 48-47. And in a race where Wendy tried to smear him as the enemy in the War on Women, Abbott won the women's vote, 52-47. He also collected about 44 percent of the Hispanic vote. All this in the state denounced by Ramos and Ginsburg as unrepentantly racist, 1960s style.

Which raises an obvious question: just whose vote was polarized, and why?  First we need to be clear about how the 1965 Voting Rights Act and opinions like Ramos' and Ginsburg's in the voter ID case have defined polarized voting, and why it can be either good or bad. It's all a matter of who does it. Good polarized voting is block voting by race that puts a black or Hispanic Democrat in Congress; bad polarized voting is that 93-7 margin for Wendy Davis forced upon blacks by Republican racism.

So whose vote was polarized here in Texas? It wasn't women. And it wasn't Hispanics. It wasn't even men, although they appear to have backed Republicans nearly 3-1. But shouldn't that have been expected in an election where the Democrats' only issues were racism and misogyny? Serially slandering white male Texans as racist woman-haters is not likely to win their hearts and minds. So when women and Hispanics didn't buy in, the Democrats were toast.

What we have left is a polarized black vote that sticks out like a sore thumb. Does it mean white Republicans are discriminating against blacks, but not Hispanics? Or does it mean Hispanics respect sound policy and share key values with Republicans. That they're responsible citizens, not victims to be pandered to.

The polarized black vote isn't unique to Texas. It was even more polarized in other Deep South states like New York. And it turns the spotlight on a nagging question about Ramos' voter ID opinion: Why did a district judge find it necessary to thumb her nose at the Supreme Court by holding white Republicans accountable for decades-old wrongs, filling the gaping holes in her narrative with race-baiting and cherry-picked anecdotal evidence? I mean, she pretended to be writing about Texans, but we all know she was really targeting Republicans because photo ID is such a fiercely partisan issue.

The short answer is "Identity politics in robes." The longer answer is suggested by one of the biggest cracks in Ramos' logic:  her mischaracterization of the 1991 Democratic gerrymander that disenfranchised Texas Republicans for over a decade. Democrats held the governor's mansion and controlled both houses of the Texas legislature, and their purpose was inarguably to deprive the Republicans of seats in Congress. Yet Ramos insists the redistricting was an attempt to suppress the vote of the Democrats' own core constituencies, blacks and Hispanics. That kind of cognitive dissonance is what you get when you try to bridge the gap between the 1960s and today using cherry-picked anecdotes to "prove” that nothing has changed since the bad old days of poll taxes and white-only primaries.

Ramos, and in her wake Ginsburg, really had little choice. As Ginsburg helpfully points out, although the new photo ID requirement had been on the books since 2011, it had not been tested in a federal election, so there were no meaningful statistics from which to draw conclusions about its effect on minority participation. This was by design. The district court expedited the case so that the trial would take place before the 2014 election. And Ramos' stay would have meant there would still be no evidence to support a counternarrative when the case went to appeal at the Fifth Circuit.

Ramos' strategy is entirely typical of liberal opinions: ignore or suppress as much observational evidence as possible, use guilt by association to collapse the law's presumed effect -- minority voter suppression -- into its alleged purpose -- to suppress the minority vote -- building the entire rhetorical structure on examples of decades-old discrimination, select anecdotes, and highly suspect statistical speculation. What we get is a judicial Oreo: a rancid filling that defines what the present has to be squeezed in between two stale cookies, a dead past and a conjectural future.

No wonder those opinions stink. Race-baiting from a Wendy Davis, Charlie Rangel or Barack Obama is one thing -- namely, Democratic gutter politics (see an account of Rangel's latest swim in the sewer here). But what do we call race-baiting when it comes from the highest court in the land in an opinion penned by a prim little old lady with a silly white doily for her collar?

Democratic gutter politics.

Sorry, Justice Ginsburg, but you're the one who chose to throw in with Obama, Holder, Rangel, Sharpton, and the race card gang. And you did it in a way that could only have appeared more calculated to help the Democrats in the 2014 midterms if you'd broadcast your opinion from Ferguson.

Mr. Stewart is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas.  He is writing a book on the establishment clause and welcomes feedback at edward.stewart27@yahoo.com.