New Texas Maps Are “Muy Mal” to Latinos
Democrats aren’t the only ones unhappy with the newly drawn legislative maps of Texas. Latinos, who account for about 65% of the population growth of Texas since 2000 and a major reason why Texas is gaining 4 new congressional seats, seem poised to have 7 “latino-opportunity” districts, or districts where latinos have a favorable chance at electing candiates of their choice under the new maps. So, what’s the problem, why are the new maps considered to be “muy mal” or very bad for latinos, according to experts like Nina Perales of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF)? Well, in this case, “7” may not be so lucky. You see, that number remains unchanged since 1991, despite the explosive latino population growth in Texas over the last 20 years. Perales asserts that GOP lawmakers are deliberately gerrymandering over 1 million latinos to ensure that as a whole, they have no more electoral influence and ability to elect candidates of their chocie than they had 20 years ago. Defenders of the new maps like State Senator Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo) said it has more to do with the concentration of latino voters and the need to shift voters around to at least maintain the current “latino-opportunity” districts. Others contend it has to do with a greater proportion of latinos being non-US citizens than other demographic blocs of voters. Still, 20 years, a 65% growth in population and a net gain of no new “latino-opportunity” districts. No wonder the folks at MALDEF see the new Texas maps and think “mal” and not good. What do you think?