Sometimes you just gotta love Texans, especially when they defy the stereotypes falsely projected onto them by the race-baiters working in so many radical civil-rights organizations like La Raza and MALDEF. It is those organizations that insist that American voters must continue to be segregated in gerrymandered election districts because they are just too racist to vote for candidates without taking race into account.
In February, I noted in the Corner that Irving, Texas, had settled a voting-rights lawsuit filed by Hispanic plaintiffs who claimed that the city’s at-large election system for city council amounted to a racist dilution of their right to vote, making it impossible for an Hispanic candidate to get elected in a city that is about 43 percent Hispanic. In order to avoid the cost of continued litigation, Irving agreed to settle the case by establishing six single-member districts, leaving only two at-large districts. One of the single-member districts was racially gerrymandered with a majority Hispanic population to “guarantee” the election of an Hispanic.
On May 8, Irving had its first election under the new districts. No doubt to the great surprise, shock, and dismay of the lawyers at MALDEF, the racially gerrymandered district elected an African American, Mike Gallaway, who easily defeated the Hispanic candidate, Trini C. Gonzalez. Another candidate, Roy Santoscoy, a political newcomer and Hispanic, won one of the two remaining at-large seats, defeating not just a white candidate but a white incumbent, Tom Spink.
As Ed Blum of the American Enterprise Institute points out, “Irving’s election results prove again that voters increasingly don’t care much about a candidate’s skin color or heritage.” President Obama certainly found that out when he got more votes from white voters in the old South states of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and, yes, Texas than either Al Gore or John Kerry did. As Ed Blum says, quite correctly, it is time for the federal courts to stop foisting these gerrymandering schemes onto voters.