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In 2011, Texas Republicans tried to redistrict the state while denying a second Democratic district in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro and manipulating TX-23 (then held by Republican Rep. Francisco Canseco) so that a majority of the electorate would be non-Hispanic white.  Knowing that this map would never get Section 5 Preclearance from the DOJ, they went to the U.S. Circuit Court of DC to get a declaratory judgement made on the legality of all their maps.  However, the maps as they re-drew them were unable to be put into effect in the interim according to a ruling handed down by the US Circuit Court for the district of San Antonio.  The court set about redrawing all maps themselves with loose basis on how the TX Republicans did it.  They submitted an interim map that would have made TX-23 a Dem-tilting district again, put a second DFW district in Tarrant County, compacted Lloyd Doggett's district to the Austin metropolitan area, and made two GOP-held districts winnable.  However, TX's Attorney-General asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review this decision.  The court agreed and heard both sides before deciding unanimously that the District Court should redraw the interim maps to be more like the maps the Republicans drew, but should have two Dem districts in the DFW and make TX-23 more Hispanic than what the Republicans drew.  The court drew a relatively cautious map that did just that, but had the second DFW district spread out a bit into Dallas County and made TX-23 a 50/50 district.  The 2012 elections were performed under this new interim map and it was pretty good.  State Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Alpine) beat Rep. Canseco for TX-23, Rep. Lloyd Doggett won the primary handily in a Hispanic district that spans from Austin to Bexar County, and State Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) won re-election.

Last year, the U.S. Circuit Court of DC ruled to deny preclearance of the TX GOP's maps, officially nixing them.  Now there's the other issue of the SCOTUS possibly ruling Section 5 of the VRA to be unconstitutional this year, which would end or curtail preclearance.  However, Section 2 would most likely remain untouched, meaning that a group or the DOJ can sue a state for violating the VRA.  Section 5 just makes it much easier to nip VRA violations in the bud.  Regardless of how the SCOTUS rules, Texas will need new maps with big changes to the State House and Congressional maps.  The likely result is that TX-23 is nudged a few points more Democratic, Nueces County has its Hispanic population cut out into a district that runs south to Brownsville, and Lloyd Doggett might see his district compact some.

For this diary, I decided to map out what would be possible for Democrats in a remap, but more optimistic than reality.  This diary also seeks to prove that four, relatively clean so-called "fajita strip" districts are possible and easy.

 photo Texas-quarter_zpsb11d8da5.jpg

More below the fold.

Here's a broad, zoomed-out view of the state with all my Democratic districts in view:
 photo TXDemCongdistrictswholeview_zps226c411d.jpg

TX-23 (aquamarine): Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Alpine)
VAP: 65.6% Hispanic, 28.0% Non-Hispanic White (NHW), 3.8% Black, 1.5% Asian
54.6% Spanish Surname Voter Registration (SSVR) (Note: Because of a large number of non-citizen Hispanic people in the rural parts of Texas, SSVR becomes a much more important statistic in determining who makes up the majority of a district than VAP.)
53.2% Obama/46.8% McCain
50.5% Avg Dem/49.5% Avg GOP
This district changes from how Republicans drew it by losing some rural NHW parts west of San Antonio and divests itself of the Republican-leaning north side of San Antonio, only taking in the west side.  I could actually see the 23rd being redrawn like this, but a point less Democratic.

Here's a zoom-in on El Paso for clarity's sake:
 photo TXDemCongdistrictsElPaso_zps56f5d42f.jpg

TX-16 (lime): Rep. Robert "Beto" O'Rourke (D-El Paso)
VAP: 78.7% Hispanic, 16.2% NHW, 2.8% Black, 1.3% Asian
67.2% SSVR
65.9% Obama/34.1% McCain
62.5% Avg Dem/37.5% Avg GOP
This district stays about the same as it always has, taking in almost all of El Paso.  Safe Democratic as always.

Now we move east and southwards to the Austin, San Antonio, and the four fajita strip districts that divide up the heavily-populated southern stretch of the Rio Grande:
 photo TXDemCongdistrictssouthTexas_zps219b9ff9.jpg

Because the pink urban San Antonio district did not show up well, I zoomed in and recolored it:
 photo TXDemCongdistrictsSanAntonio_zps7949bc19.jpg

TX-20 (chocolate): Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio)
VAP: 65.3% Hispanic, 25.0% NHW, 6.7% Black, 2.0% Asian
53.9% SSVR
62.0% Obama/38.0% McCain
59.4% Avg Dem/40.6% Avg GOP
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro's identical twin brother has his district change very little.  I hope he can become a big asset to Democrats like he was last year with his big donations to the DCCC.

TX-35 (dark orchid): Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin)
VAP: 41.3% Hispanic, 40.9% NHW, 11.6% Black, 4.5% Asian
22.9% SSVR
69.6% Obama/30.4% McCain
63.1% Avg Dem/36.9% Avg GOP
Lloyd Doggett's district is made into a racial coalition district that's plurality Hispanic (and growing much more Hispanic).  This is a big grey area in the VRA case against the original map and its justification is somewhat debatable.  Lloyd Doggett would have this locked down for the rest of his career, both in the primary and in the general.

TX-28 (red): Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo)
VAP: 68.8% Hispanic, 22.8% NHW, 5.9% Black, 1.5% Asian
59.0% SSVR
59.4% Obama/40.6% McCain
58.4% Avg Dem/41.6% Avg GOP
This district would be the prime set-up for a primary battle rematch between ex-Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D-San Antonio) and more conservative Democrat Henry Cuellar.  Rodriguez would have an edge this time as this district has more of San Antonio in it (the south side and northeast side) and this iteration of TX-28 is several points to the left of the current TX-28.

TX-15 (dark orange): Open
VAP: 70.1% Hispanic, 26.0% NHW, 1.8% Black, 1.0% Asian
60.1% SSVR
55.7% Obama/44.3% McCain
54.7% Avg Dem/45.3% Avg GOP
This district, partisan-wise, is similar to what Henry Cuellar has now.  As it stands, TX-15's incumbent is Ruben Hinojosa, but he lives in Mercedes, which is no longer in this district.  This district's Democratic strength is anchored in Starr County and in rapidly-growing McAllen in Hidalgo County.

TX-34 (lime green): Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-Mercedes)
VAP: 75.1% Hispanic, 21.6% NHW, 2.0% Black, 0.8% Asian
67.1% SSVR
57.1% Obama/42.9% McCain
57.8% Avg D/42.2% Avg GOP
Ruben Hinojosa gets the new 34th.  It now stretches to Victoria, but is actually not much changed from the TX-15 he currently represents.  It's also bluer than his current district.

TX-27 (blue): Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville)
VAP: 72.1% Hispanic, 23.7% NHW, 2.2% Black, 1.3% Asian
62.6% SSVR
56.5% Obama/43.5% McCain
56.6% Avg Dem/43.4% Avg GOP
TX-27 is restored approximately to its old form in this district.  One contention against the interim maps that I agree with was giving all of Nueces County (containing Corpus Christi) to a Republican-leaning district when there is a significant Hispanic population there that ought to be drawn in with this district.  It also produces a cleaner and less convoluted district.  I hope re-redistricting can at least partially ameliorate that.

Before I move on, it should be noted that pretty much all of the southernmost Texas counties went more for Obama in 2012 than in 2008.

Now, we move to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
TXDemCongdistrictsDFW_zps98f0ffa8resize photo TXDemCongdistrictsDFW_zps98f0ffa8resize_zps4cee4fc0.jpg

TX-30 (light coral): Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Dallas)
VAP: 48.1% Black, 28.7% Hispanic, 20.1% NHW, 1.9% Asian
11.4% SSVR
79.3% Obama/20.7% McCain
74.3% Avg Dem/25.7% Avg GOP
This district unites as much of the Dallas African-American community as possible and is more Democratic than the real TX-30.

TX-33 (royal blue): Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Fort Worth)
VAP: 37.1% Hispanic, 29.9% NHW, 25.5% Black, 5.9% Asian
18.3% SSVR
66.3% Obama/33.7% McCain
61.7% Avg Dem/38.3% Avg GOP
This district stays entirely within Tarrant County and is similar to what the original interim map had it.  Marc Veasey is still safe.

Finally, we go to the Houston metropolitan area, an area where I and the court made few changes to the Dem districts.
 photo TXDemCongdistrictsHoustonmetro_zps7666bd24.jpg

TX-9 (cyan): Rep. Al Green (D-Houston)
VAP: 34.2% Black, 34.1% Hispanic, 16.4% NHW, 13.8% Asian
15.7% SSVR
72.5% Obama/27.5% McCain
67.4% Avg Dem/32.6% Avg GOP
This district extends into Brazoria County and further into Fort Bend County.  It's about the same district, partisan-wise, as the real TX-9.

TX-18 (yellow): Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston)
VAP: 46.2% Black, 29.9% Hispanic, 19.2% NHW, 3.5% Asian
13.0% SSVR
80.1% Obama/19.9% McCain
76.5% Avg Dem/23.5% Avg GOP
The southern blade of the three-bladed propeller that is TX-18 extends further south to take in more of Houston's African-American population.  Sheila Jackson Lee's position is further secured, which is not necessarily a good thing as she's known to be rather acrimonious.

TX-29 (dark sea-green): Rep. Gene Green (D-Houston)
VAP: 70.5% Hispanic, 16.3% NHW, 10.5% Black, 2.0% Asian
50.016% SSVR
61.9% Obama/38.1% McCain
63.6% Avg Dem/36.4% Avg GOP
This district becomes a bit bluer by becoming a majority SSVR district, but doesn't change all that much.  Gene Green, a Caucasian Democrat, already represents pretty much the same district without a problem and I have no reason to think he'll be jeopardized by this district.  Just like TN-09 (which is majority black and has Rep. Steve Cohen, a Caucasian Democrat, representing it without worry), this district is proof that the VRA is not about electing people of color, but allowing people of color to elect their candidate of choice.

*

And that's the end of this diary.  In it, I proved that you can draw four fajita strip districts that are easily majority Hispanic in every metric.  Better yet, I confidently declare that I followed the integral Gingles criteria in each and every Hispanic-dominated district.  Although I doubt the creation of a fourth fajita strip district will be forced in re-redistricting, I do believe that a strong case can be made for its legal necessity.  But if not this year, it definitely will be required in 2021 as the deep blue and very Hispanic counties of Webb, Starr, Hidalgo, and Cameron are growing at a faster rate than the state as a whole.  But all that is just my educated opinion.  I am no lawyer.  So feel free to provide feedback, insight, and criticism.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    I have found a nearby soda fountain that has Fruitopia! My life is complete.

    by KingofSpades on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 05:16:54 PM PST

  •  Good job (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades, bumiputera

    So you think that when the new map is drawn (this year?) it will realistically only make TX-23 safer for Democrats, but they won't add a new Democratic seat as you have here?

    •  wwmiv thinks so. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wwmiv

      He said that Pete Gallego has strong friends in the legislature and they would want to push TX-23 a point or two to the left of the interim map to avoid violating the law again.

      I have found a nearby soda fountain that has Fruitopia! My life is complete.

      by KingofSpades on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 01:39:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Shiela Jackson Lee (0+ / 0-)

    To quote you:  "Sheila Jackson Lee's position is further secured, which is not necessarily a good thing as she's known to be rather acrimonious."

    What kind of democrat are you?   She is one of the best and most thoughtful democrats to come out of Texas in a long time!    I find myself in pretty much total and complete agreement with her every time I hear her speak, and she is eloquent to boot!

    I have to at least wonder if your prejudice against her is that she is an assertive and intelligent black woman.   Perhaps you can enlighten as to what exactly makes her "rather acrimonious", since that sounds like something I would expect to be claimed by a racist republican from down in Texas.

  •  What about another minority seat (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades

    in Dallas County to provide for a Hispanic member in the metroplex?
    What do you think a Court map would do with the 7th district in Houston? More Dem/minority or GOP/white?

    "So there's a time for silence, and there's a time for waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you'll know it. I don't think you should wait. I think you should speak now." -Taylor Swift

    by SouthernINDem on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 01:42:29 PM PST

    •  Not sure about TX-7 (0+ / 0-)

      Maybe a little more GOP?

      And I'm not sure about another Dallas district.  I don't think that's easy or required though.

      I have found a nearby soda fountain that has Fruitopia! My life is complete.

      by KingofSpades on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 01:46:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here is potentially how to take Dallas County (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KingofSpades, GoUBears, bumiputera

        if a Court wanted to add a new Hispanic seat.

         photo DallasCounty_zps040bace9.jpg

        District 5 (the new Hispanic Seat): 21% White, 13% Black, 61% Hispanic, VAP: 26% White, 15% Black, 56% Hispanic, Obama 62/38, Dem 58/42, 29% SSVR

        District 30 (Eddie Bernice Johnson: 40% Black, Obama 69/31, Dem 63/37- She probably wouldn't like picking up the Park Cities though

        District 32 (Pete Sessions/Jeb Hensarling): VAP: 41% White, 17% Black, 34% Hispanic, 7% Asian, McCain 52/48, GOP 58/42

        "So there's a time for silence, and there's a time for waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you'll know it. I don't think you should wait. I think you should speak now." -Taylor Swift

        by SouthernINDem on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 02:28:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's probably going to be required in 2020 (3+ / 0-)

          But isn't required yet.

          23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

          by wwmiv on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 02:52:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What do you think about the 7th District (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KingofSpades

            as far as 2020 (or a new district in the Houston area) that would be majority minority?

            "So there's a time for silence, and there's a time for waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you'll know it. I don't think you should wait. I think you should speak now." -Taylor Swift

            by SouthernINDem on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 02:58:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Although (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            KingofSpades, bumiputera

            There's a good argument to make that it won't be required then either, but instead to solidify a single Hispanic Fort Worth to Dallas district, while adding an AA district just south of it for Veasay.

            In Houston they're going to be pressed to create another Hispanic district simply for political reasons. If they don't they'll imperil multiple incumbents. Doing so will mean they'll have to sacrifice an incumbent, which will probably end up being Steve Stockman. He doesn't have any establishment connections, and he's absolutely crazy anyway even by Republican standards.

            23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

            by wwmiv on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 02:58:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  How many seats do you estimate (0+ / 0-)

              Texas gains in 2020 (I was thinking 2-3)? And where would you anticipate the seats being drawn?

              "So there's a time for silence, and there's a time for waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you'll know it. I don't think you should wait. I think you should speak now." -Taylor Swift

              by SouthernINDem on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 04:28:21 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Love everythng (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Englishlefty, KingofSpades

    Except don't split Nueces. Keep Nueces whole. Yes, it takes it down to about 55.7% Obama 2008, but CoI dictates it. This actually improves the neighboring district because it doesn't have to take in as much of Victoria.

    23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

    by wwmiv on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 02:52:13 PM PST

  •  H/T for Marty Robbins (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades
  •  Houston and DFW (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KingofSpades

    It would be pretty easy to draw an additional minority-majority or crossover district in each of Houston and Dallas. Was that at issue in any of the court challenges to the republican map?

  •  another question (0+ / 0-)

    Could someone explain why the fajita strips are legally necessary? Not sure I have a real grasp on that.

    •  To ensure that Hispanics (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KingofSpades

      Have adequate representation.

      23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

      by wwmiv on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 09:43:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  To up represenation while also avoiding (0+ / 0-)

      overpacking.

      I have found a nearby soda fountain that has Fruitopia! My life is complete.

      by KingofSpades on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 09:56:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well I guess that's my question then: (0+ / 0-)

        what constitutes overpacking? For instance, why do you think it might be the case that a fourth fajita strip would be required - what threshold has to be met?

        •  Population (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          KingofSpades, Chachy

          It depends on the total population combined within Hidalgo and Cameron counties.

          If you can sum the population of those counties, plus the counties generally in south Texas and create 4 districts, then it's probably required. Right now you can't. You can't even create three districts actually, because you have to include San Antonio in one of them.

          Overpacking would be only two districts, which is possible to do by packing Laredo and McAllen into a single district and then Brownsville, Edinburgh, and Harlingen into the other.

          23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

          by wwmiv on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 11:08:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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