I have little sympathy for one line of argument currently being advanced [hat tip: SCOTUSblog] against the Texas redistricting that the Supreme Court is currently considering. This argument takes it to be an unconstitutional maneuver because it silences voters. It gives those who vote Democratic less voice by lumping them in with a larger group that turns out to be more Republican-leaning. Mark Veasey, in the above-linked article, complains that his district, which is majority black and majority Democratic, was moved to a district that is largely white and largely Republican. He wants his district back so that all the people in the district that happen to be inclined to vote Democratic won't be drowned out by those who vote the other way.
I grew up in RI. Voting Republican in RI in most elections is equivalent to not voting. I now live in a city in NY, where it's much the same. Most of the state of NY is red. If you look at the county map, you'd think it's a red state. I'd love for New York City to join northern New Jersey and Philadelphia as some new state that will always vote blue, so that the rest of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York can have their votes counted for a change. If every single voter in New York outside New York City voted one way, I'm pretty sure it would have no effect if everyone in the city voted the other way. Maybe that's wrong. I'm not checking populations. But if you add in Buffalo, Syracuse, and Rochester I think it's clearly going to be true. That means the collective total of the rest of the state has no vote, effectively. And this isn't just pointing out that lots of people live in New York City and posing a potential issue if there were going to be a political split between the city and everyone else. There is such a split. To use Veasey's language, the political views and values of residents in most of New York are remarkably different from those who live in the the cities and overwhelmingly vote Democratic. Under the current plan, our voting strength has been destroyed and our voices silenced.
Some would argue, and Veasey does, that it's different when it comes to a racial minority. How? Voting considerations directed toward minorities are for the purpose of restoring a balance, toward bringing minorities who had been denied the vote to a place where they have as much right to vote as others, toward vote-counting that treats each black vote as important as any vote from anyone else. Well, these problems occur for largely white populations, so not being allowed to have a vote in the same way that certain largely white populations don't have their votes counting doesn't mean that we haven't achieved equality in voting. It means we have indeed achieved it. So welcome to the club. Your votes now count enough that political machinations and arbitary lines will affect you too. They've been affecting me all my life, and they've been affecting white voters for long before I've been around. That they affect black voters who live in communities that tend to vote one way but are part of a region that tends to vote another way just means black voters have arrived at the same place white voters have been for a long time. Maybe there are problems with redistricting, and maybe there are issues unrelated to race that have a bearing on this, but I just can't see how this argument can even get started without revising every voting district so that it reflects voting blocs much more exactly. Even then those who are the minority within their district will be silenced, but even without that problem I very much doubt this is what Veasey wants to propose.