Whether red-baiting or race-baiting or [insert your issue here]-baiting, it all makes for bad politics. In turn, bad politics makes for bad policy. And, bad news too.
Consider this headline from a recent Roanoke Times article, “Don’t believe Senate GOP looks out for blacks“. Really? Absolutely not necessary. The Virginia Republican party leaders should call them on it, but they will not.
Redrawing legislative districts is a long and drawn out process. The battle begins not in the state legislature, but with the voters. You need to control the legislature to re-draw districts. So your first order of business is to get elected. Once in power, you redraw lines consistent with Virginia laws.
I’m not sure who to believe in this Virginia redistricting matter. At the rate its going, however, I suspect it will end up in federal court or investigated by the U.S. Justice Department. The Democrats should cut it out. They will not. It surely has nothing to do with race and, more likely, it is a case of political payback. Consider this frank observation in that Roanoke Times story from Bedford County Senator Brad Smith (R):
“For the other side to squeal about this is hypocritical … [t]hat was nothing more than spite, that’s what they did to me,” Smith said. With the new map, “you could argue retaliation.” Tit for tat, so to speak. It’s real.
Gerrymandering is tough business. It is supposed to be. Add race to that mix and your playing with political nitroglycerine. As a first generation American, I’m not real keen on race-based anything. Technically, I’m a Hispanic-American. But why the heck should we be placing hyphens before the word American? I was not raised that way. It divides, not unites.