I thought it would be interesting to use Dave’s Redistricting App to show that it was possible to create minority-majority districts in places that people might not necessarily expect, yet are indeed possible. I know that most of these districts will probably never be created, but it was an interesting chance to see what districts could be created. Technically, the definition of a majority-minority district according to the Supreme Court is any district that is less than 50% white (a coalition district), not necessarily a majority for one specific group. So some of these districts are +50% for one group, such as black or Hispanic, others have a plurality for another group, while others are just less than 50% white. So here are some of the districts I looked at:
Racial stats: 51% Asian, 29% white, 12% Hispanic, 4% other, 3% black
This is an Asian majority district in the Bay Area. While several current districts have an Asian plurality with current Census data, none of them have an Asian majority. This district would probably elect an Asian representative, most likely Rep. Mike Honda, who already represents many Asian areas in San Jose. I think this might be the first Asian majority district to ever exist outside of Hawaii.
Racial stats: 51% Hispanic, 37% white, 7% black, 3% Asian, 1% Native American, 1% other
It was actually possible to create a district in the Denver area that is majority-Hispanic. I linked Hispanic areas in the cities of Lakewood, Denver, Commerce City, Longmont, Brighton, and Greeley. Most of the voters come from Diana DeGette’s 1st district and Ed Perlmutter’s 7th district, although Jared Polis’s 2nd district and Betty Markey’s 4th district also lose some voters. I assume this district would elect a Democrat, possibly Diana DeGette, or possibly someone else.
Racial stats: 43% white, 27% black, 24% Hispanic, 3% Asian, 3% other
By linking minority areas in the cities of Bridgeport, New Haven, Waterbury, New Britain, and Hartford, it was possible to create a district that is majority-minority in Connecticut. The district has the homes of John Larson and Rosa DeLauro, and takes in all of the major urban centers in the four eastern and central districts, so it would probably help Republicans in some of the other districts. While the district is less than 50% white, it is almost evenly split between the district’s Hispanic and black populations, so it would be interesting to see what would happen in an election here.
Racial stats: 45% black, 43% white, 9% Hispanic, 2% other, 1% Asian
By connecting heavily black areas in Indianapolis and Gary, it is possible to create a district that is plurality (yet not majority) black. I assume that Andre Carson would run here and win, although he would probably be challenged in the primary by Pete Visclosky. However, this district is more Indianapolis, so I think Carson would defeat Visclosky. This district would be incredibly Democratic either way, I’m sure Obama broke 75% here, maybe even 80%.
Racial stats: 39% white, 34% black, 21% Hispanic, 4% Asian, 2% other
This district connects minority areas in Atlantic City, Camden, and Trenton, and could probably be made even less white than this version is. Battle Royale between John Adler and Robert Andrews that would allow a minority candidate to slip through the primary? Thanks to andgarden for this idea.
1st district (blue): 53% Hispanic, 37% white, 5% Native American, 2% other, 2% black, 1% Asian
2nd district (green): 51% Hispanic, 42% white, 4% Native American, 1% black, 1% other, 1% Asian
3rd district (purple): 55% white, 22% Hispanic, 17% Native American, 2% other, 2% black, 1% Asian
As it stands now, all three New Mexico districts are majority-minority, although Dave’s Redistricting App shows a Hispanic majority in only one district, the current NM-02, with updated 2008 numbers. So I wanted to see if it was possible to create not just one, but two Hispanic majority districts. I accomplished this task without too much difficulty, although I admit that it looks a bit strange. The 2nd district remains almost unchanged, although it picks up Torrance County and Hispanic-majority San Miguel County and loses the cities of Carlsbad and Hobbs. Meanwhile, the city of Albuquerque is split in half, along with the northern and eastern edges of the state. The Hispanic western half of Albuquerque as well as other Hispanic areas to the north and east of the 2nd district, as well as Santa Fe go into the 1st district. Meanwhile, the mostly white eastern half of Albuquerque is put into the sprawling 3rd district, which goes from Gallup and Farmington in the northwest all the way down to Hobbs in the southeast.
This would set up an interesting chain of events assuming the three Democratic congressmen currently in office (Heinrich, Teague, and Lujan) were still in office. No one would probably want to run in the new 3rd district, which is the white-majority district and the most Republican of the three. Teague would most likely run in the 2nd district, which is similar to his current district, although he would have to move as his home in Hobbs is now in the 3rd district. Meanwhile, Lujan and Heinrich would probably face off in the 3rd district, although I imagine Lujan would be the favorite since he represents much of this district already and there is now a Hispanic majority in the district. Meanwhile, a Republican would likely win the 3rd district seat, although perhaps I am wrong since New Mexico is a pretty Democratic state on the whole and this district still has significant Hispanic (22%) and Native American (17%) populations. This map would never occur with a Democratic legislature/governor, although perhaps the Republicans would attempt this if they controlled the state government, which is highly unlikely for now.
Racial stats: 53% black, 42% white, 2% other, 1% Asian, 1% Hispanic
This district actually inspired the rest of the diary after I thought of it over the summer. This new majority-black district links African-American areas in the cities of Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus, and manages to look cleaner than even the current NC-12 (Mel Watt’s district). It would almost certainly elect a black Democrat, and at the same time would take pressure off of other Republicans such as Pat Tiberi and Mike Turner. If Steve Chabot was elected in 2010, he would probably have to run against Boehner or Schmidt in the primary as this district would take up much of the current OH-01’s turf in Cincinnati. If Steve Driehaus hung on in 2010, I think he would probably lose the primary to an African-American, although who knows what would happen.
Also, several people have said that they have been unable to keep OH-10 as a majority-black district in Cleveland without going into Akron.
It is indeed possible, here is a map:
Racial stats: 50% black, 41% white, 5% Hispanic, 2% Asian, 1% other
The main way I did this was by taking a lot of the population from Dennis Kucinich’s district, which puts his district 270,000 people in the red, which makes it almost a given his district will be combined with Sutton’s district in my opinion.
Racial stats: 44% white, 33% black, 19% Hispanic, 1% Asian, 1% other
I know that there are a lot of pockets of black and Hispanic voters in East Texas, so I wanted to see if it would be possible to make a minority-majority district in East Texas without going into Houston or Dallas at all. So I was able to make a meandering district that picks up minority voters in Galveston, Beaumont, Port Arthur, Orange, Huntsville, Lufkin, Longview, Tyler, Texarkana, and Paris. It looks a bit like Cleo Fields’ old district in neighboring Louisiana, although this district emerges at just 33% black. Still, that might be enough to put a black Democrat through the primary and into office, as the entire district is just 44% white overall and many of those white voters are Republicans and wouldn’t vote in the Democratic primary anyway. I made this district before Dave put in the partisan data, so I haven’t calculated the presidential numbers yet, although I imagine that it was probably in the low 50s for McCain, nowhere near as Republican as the current East Texas districts.
So I know that many of these districts are highly theoretical, but I still thought it was an interesting exercise in seeing what is possible and what may even be required by law someday as voting rights law evolves. Let me know what you think of these districts and this subject!