Districts drawn to elect minorities hurting Democrats

By | October 17, 2014

Black residents of this small southeast Florida town like their congressman.

Rep. Alcee Hastings looks like them. He understands them. “If the person has the same race as you, I think they care about you more. They understand where you come from,” said Michael Foreman, a personal trainer.

Hastings, a black Democrat, represents a surgically drawn district where a majority of the population is black, one of dozens of majority-minority districts around the country.

For three decades, lawmakers have increasingly crafted similar districts so that historically underrepresented populations will have adequate representation. And the roster of minorities in Congress has jumped, with the number of African-Americans more than doubling. The vast majority are Democrats, like Hastings.

This jagged line-drawing has had another effect: It’s created what the highest-ranking black member of Congress called “political ghettos,” shoehorning racial minorities into those districts and making it easier for Republicans to win in surrounding areas. That’s helped the Republicans win and maintain majorities in the House of Representatives.(Bellingham Herald)

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