HOUSTON - At the Texas Capitol, the Republican majority is busy "packing and cracking" new Congressional Districts to their advantage. It is the consequence, the "political spoils", so to speak, of GOP success in the 2020 election.
"If the Democrats had a majority in the House, Senate and controlled the governorship they'd be sticking it to the Republicans just like the Republicans are sticking it to them right now," said Mark Jones, political analyst at Rice University.
And yet Democrats in Ft. Bend are crying foul, after GOP-drawn maps, likely headed for a legislative vote, split the county between three different Congressional Districts from the current two.
State Representative Ron Reynolds has labeled the new boundaries "discriminatory" and "shameful."
"We believe it dilutes communities of color which does not allow us to elect a candidate of our choice and that is the biggest problem that we have," said Reynolds.
Black Democrats are deeply angered by new configurations of the two traditionally African-American districts, currently held by Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Congressman Al Green.
"It has allowed two African-Americans to be pitted in the same congressional district against each other. It is also using gerrymandering to remove a person from Congress, a person that has been duly elected by the voters, can be gerrymandered out of Congress if this succeeds," said Green.
While the political boundaries certainly weaken their respective positions, Jones insists neither Black lawmaker is in any immediate danger of losing their Congressional seats.
"What Democrats are trying to say that you are pairing two African Americans in one African American district when in reality, you have two African-American, majority districts in Houston one that is very similar to Sheila Jackson Lee's old district and one that is very similar to Al Green's old district. Both of them will be able to run there and win, as they've shown in the past. They are undefeatable in the Democratic primary," said Jones.
Some believe the proposed boundaries in combination with the rising number of Latino Houstonians could potentially make at least one of the traditionally African-American seats vulnerable to a non-Black challenger, particularly in an "open" election.