Thursday, December 2, 2010

Democrats & The Diversity Dilemma

Interesting article in the November 30, 2010 National Journal, pointing out that while the Democrats still have the bulk of black officeholders in the U.S.--much of this is because of districts that were intentionally drawn to have a majority of the population as a racial minority:

But look deeper at the composition of Congress and the governorships, and it’s apparent the Democrats’ strong racial record is somewhat misleading, with its advantage in electing minorities mostly a result of House districts specifically drawn to elect minorities. 

Of the 75 black, Hispanic, and Asian-American Democrats in Congress and governorships, only nine represent majority-white constituencies—and that declines to six in 2011. Two of the party’s rising black stars who sought statewide office this year were rejected by their party’s own base. And when you only look at members of Congress or governors elected by majority-white constituencies (in other words, most of the governorships and Senate seats, and 337 out of 435 House seats), Democrats trail Republicans in minority representation.
The problem is that the majority-minority districts might have made sense in 1970, when most whites in the South (and heck, probably many whites in the North) would not have voted for a black person for Congress or state legislature.  But the net effect of this continuing is a hothouse rose--candidates who can only win in a majority-minority district, and have not put enough energy into crossing racial boundaries.  Black conservatives really aren't that rare, and those like Lt.Col. Allen West (USA, ret.) who get themselves elected to Congress do so without playing the race card.

Amusingly enough, Todd Zywicki over at Volokh Conspiracy mentioned seeing newly elected Rep. West busily studying the Cato Institute's print of the Constitution while waiting in an airport.  The derogatory comments from liberals are worth reading just to see what passes for liberal condescension these days.

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