A Racial Lever for the Federal Government
There’s certainly room for derision against the attitude that Abigail Thernstrom highlights here:
In 1996, [current Attorney General Eric] Holder told the Washington Post that he always carried a favorite quotation in his wallet. A black man’s “race defines him more particularly than anything else,” it ran. Said Holder: “I am not the tall U.S. Attorney, I am not the thin U.S. Attorney. I am the black U.S. Attorney…. There’s a common cause that bonds the black U.S. Attorney with the black criminal or the black doctor with the black homeless person.” All blacks share a “common cause,” and thus, methods of election that give them proportional legislative power are a moral imperative.
The “wow” paragraph, however, has quite a bit broader an application than just Mr. Holder:
For more than two decades, the drawing of race-conscious single-member districts has been the standard means of achieving that proportionality when the level of minority officeholding has been found to be unacceptably low. But, in the best of circumstances, race-driven maps “waste” black votes. Inevitably, many black voters end up in majority-white districts and find themselves represented by a white–which is to say without representation, by the Guinier and Holder definition.
The three systems to which the Justice Department has recently agreed are assumed to be much more likely to guarantee true proportionality. They have involved school-district elections in Euclid, Ohio; town-commissioner elections in Lake Park, Fla.; and trustee elections in Port Chester, N.Y. These were towns in which, despite a significant minority population, no blacks or Hispanics had been elected to public office. The Justice Department had filed suit, and, given the absence of elected minority representatives, there was no chance the towns could successfully defend their methods of election.
Look what’s been done in the name of racial sensitivity: The federal government is dictating election results to lower governments. Based on physical racial attributes, a distant government is telling small, local communities that their democratic outcomes are not acceptable. What’s not acceptable is a governing system what makes use of such levers.
One can’t help but wonder whether the rapidly declining value of the race card plays some role in the desperate search for other justifications for expanding power, such as nationalized healthcare and environmentalism.