Latinos and Redistricting

A major political issue this year is redistricting. With Hispanic heavy states like Texas, Florida, Arizona and Nevada all gaining seats from the census, defining the political influence of Latinos is a hot topic.

FOX news analyst Juan Williams has an interesting take on the issue. Read his piece from The Hill, “New racial order: Hispanics can dare to change political game.” … thoughts?

…Now the role of Hispanic power in Congress is about to change again. This time it will be defined by the placement of the rapidly rising number of Hispanic voters as the new districts are drawn.

One approach, articulated by the syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. at February’s national conference of the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute, is for Hispanics to champion creation of districts with dense Hispanic populations so as to deliver more seats to Hispanic politicians.

The second approach, which I supported at the Chicago conference, argues that Hispanic political power will be better served if it is spread out in the redistricting process over several congressional districts. This would force politicians of every color and both political parties to pay attention to the concerns of Hispanic voters.

Navarrette’s reply to my point of view was simple and honest: Hispanic politicians return his phone calls. White politicians (including those with large numbers of Hispanics in their district) do not.

The Hispanic political community has a decision to make. Do they play by the old rules and seek the highest possible number of Hispanic congressmen? Or do they change the rules? With sharply increased numbers Hispanics have the power to become a sought-after swing vote, a moderating influence on the polarized politics caused by so many hard-right majority-white conservative districts and the smaller number of hard-left black and Latino districts…”

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