Thanks to the Louisiana Legislature, Louisiana's body politic is returning to segregation, with the blessing of the US Department of Justice, particularly in terms of state house and senate seats. The federal and state redistricting process in Louisiana, as a result of the 2010 census, is beyond insane. That blessing may take a while, however, and could throw the fall elections into a cocked hat. At any rate, it's so unbelievable I can't wrap my mind around it.
Both chambers of the legislature are Republican majorities. GOP bean counters love that; those who have a clue know it's disingenuous. After looking at the political landscape, Blue Dogs have left the Democratic Party in droves, along with an opportunistic Yellow Dog or two. Lately, such "translation" seems to occur almost on a daily basis. The press releases are so predictably lame only an idiot would consider the party switches genuine. Pfft. It's brazen, incumbent protection, period, and redistricting accordingly will come back to haunt in ten years. To add injury to that insult -- deliberate idiom reversal -- minorities are working feverishly to carve out majority-minority districts and don't mind divvying up intact parishes (counties, to those in Rio Linda) to do so. It's textbook, racial gerrymandering, is illegal and probably will go to court. Nevertheless, if the plan recently approved by the state senate comes to fruition, my intact parish, Rapides, will be dissected like a hapless crawfish in a high school biology lab. What does all that mean? True, minorities will enjoy a few, additional, "guaranteed" districts, but their joy will be short-lived. Considering all the newly Republican-represented districts, with whom will the minorities join forces? Customarily, Blue and Yellow Dogs lend them voice and power. Now that Blue Dogs are a vanishing breed and the remaining Yellow Dogs might be too few to mention, that doesn't seem possible any longer. Necessarily, the newbie ‘Pubs will have to alter their usual, legislative style to satisfy their constituents. Consequently, minorities, despite the increased number of seats, will be left to twist and so will their voters. What a tangle... Expert demographer, Elliott Stonecipher, also believes the redistricting process (lunacy on parade?) will result in the re-segregation of Louisiana politics via the creation of super majority-minority districts. Concomitantly, non-minority districts will coalesce, thus, extremes will rule. Yippee. Let the growling begin.
Oh, did I mention that the governor has endorsed the approved plan? Excuse the Cajun lingo, Bobby, but dat's cuttin' off ya nose to bite ya face.
I'm dizzy. And, no, I haven't had too many Mimosas...yet.
Elizabeth Weber Levy is a publicly elected member of the Rapides Republican Parish Executive Committee and was formerly a publicly elected member of the Republican State Central Committee of Louisiana.