Race Trumps Politics in Missouri Redistricting

Categories: Politics
nasheed.jpg
Nasheed: Black before Democrat.
Yesterday the Missouri Legislature overrode Governor Jay Nixon's veto of a redistricting map that eliminates the district of Democratic Congressman Russ Carnahan.

In securing the override, the Republican-controlled Legislature needed the votes of four Democrats. They found them in two black legislators from Kansas City (Michael Brown and Leonard Hughes IV) and two more from St. Louis (Penny Hubbard and Jamilah Nasheed).

As the Post-Dispatch outlines today, the four defectors were willing to forgo the wishes of their party in order to make sure that the districts of Missouri's two black congressmen (Lacy Clay of St. Louis and Emmanuel Cleaver of Kansas City) remain strong. 

In defending her vote, Nasheed (no stranger to controversy) stated, "I'm black before I'm a Democrat." 

Flip that around. Can you imagine the outcry if a white politician said he held allegiance to his race over his party?

Following redistricting -- in which Missouri has to eliminate one of its nine congressional districts -- Clay and Cleaver stand poised to be the only two Democrats representing Missouri in the U.S. House.

Of course, that's based on the assumption that white voters in their districts are still willing to consider themselves Democrats over Caucasians the next time Clay and Cleaver are up for re-election.

Related content:
Russ Carnahan to Lacy Clay: "[Screw] You"
Missouri Redistricting Map Kills Carnahan's District, Favors Republicans

Keep up on all the latest St. Louis news and gossip by following @chadgarrison on Twitter and Daily RFT on Facebook.
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18 comments
Greg Magarian
Greg Magarian

I have a lot of problems with this piece:

(1) Whatever one may think of Nasheed's comment, emphasizing one's black identity isn't ethnically or ideologically comparable to emphasizing one's white identity in the United States, given that African Americans are a numerical minority who face major economic and political disadvantages.

(2) The question whether preserving Democratic power at the cost of returning to the days of an all or nearly all white national legislature is one that has long divided Democrats and African Americans of goodwill, with respectable voices on both sides of the question.

(3) The piece fails to note the important fact that many African Americans have big problems with Nasheed on this and other issues, as the St. Louis American has reported extensively. I wonder whether Garrison deliberately omitted this information in order to preserve the tone he wanted, or whether he just doesn't know about it.

(4) The piece leaves the impression that Nasheed's inflammatory statement fairly represents the views of all four African-American legislators who voted with the Republicans, but it makes no effort to discern or report on the motives of the other three, who presumably have their own thoughts on the issue.

(5) Garrison argues that Nasheed's comments would justify white voters in voting against Clay and Cleaver, an argument that posits highly dubious guilt by extremely attenuated association.

This, on top of Garrison's relentless argument that the Loop would be a lovely place if we could just stop everyone who relies on Metro from reaching U. City, makes me wonder -- What is Chad Garrison's problem with black people?

deschl
deschl

as a black woman I am ashamed of her comment, she represents St. Louis and should have spent more time worrying about us losing a seat period, but she's bought and paid for, I guess the money too good to pass up for a "project chick"

Wandering Emperor
Wandering Emperor

Some state lines are really outdated. South Florida wants to become a state of its own, so does the Tuscon area of Arizona. I think it's time to reconsider MissourAH's state lines as well. Although the STL and KC areas pay the bills, the state doesn't like cities and it shows. (cont)

Bill B.
Bill B.

Ok, so I guess I'm a racist because I wasn't for the vote then? What a lying pack of garbage these elected liars, are only out to serve the race they hold dear to their heart, themselves. And further, tell me who will pay for it? Guess now the people of Missouri will, even if they don't benefit from it. Once again Taxation without representation rules. They don't represent me and I'm glad for that.

Crazy T
Crazy T

Im ashamed & appalled 2 read this!As a African American,no as a man 2 read something like this makes me cringe!I've been a lifelong St. Louis resident,I no the game of Missouri politics(rural vs urban vs poor whites vs rich whites vs minorities)so 2 hear these 4 representives contribute w/this nonsense that is Missouri back room dealing just erodes more hope that the legislature can get it together!We as Missourians will get it right one day....I hope!

Byron
Byron

Cleaver and Clay seats are protected by Federal Law. All four renegades are closely associated with the "school choice" agenad of righwintnut rex sinquefled

hotdogwaffles
hotdogwaffles

Racism is stupid. We are on the same team. That is what people will never understand. The more of us that have good jobs, the more money that will go to schools,other infrastructure, and economy. Which should mean better education, better services and better lives for everyone. When we fight about race, we fight against ourselves.

Nick Kasoff
Nick Kasoff

I don't know about Cleaver's district, but Clay has nothing to worry about. Between a majority black district, and a bunch of union whites that would rather vote for Lucifer himself than a Republican, Congressman Clay will comfortably hold this seat until HIS son is ready to take over.

KITTY
KITTY

Boy oh Boy! Two extremely good news stories this week: bin Laden Killed and Russ, the Village Idiot, lost his congressional seat. How this buffoon ever got elected is beyond logic. He always looks like he's in a drunken stupor, dazed and completely out of touch with reality. This is the greatest news St. Louis has had since Eberhard Anheuser opend his brewery in 1852! God Bless the black democtats who helped remove this wart from Missouri's ass!

Losethacrutch
Losethacrutch

I don't know why everyone would be so surprised she would say that. There's a huge number of blacks in this country that feel "black first, and American second." But strangely...they still gripe about being second-class citizens!?! Funny:) Apparently beggars can be choosers!

Don't worry Jamilah, the new district that was just created won't stay "black" for long...we'll turn it a nice shade of American soon enough!!!

Yates Street
Yates Street

 (1) False.  They are perfectly comparable.  As Chad noted, it's certainly not okay for a white politician to defend his decision, any decision, by saying "I'm white first, and a Democrat second".  You are completely off-base to posit that blacks have different privileges on matters of race because 'there are less of them'.  

(2) This article does not dispute this point.(3) Of course he didn't know about it - how could a white read it if it was only in the St. Louis American?  

(4) So a couple black Democrats vote with Republicans in order to benefit a black man, and we're all supposed to have no idea of their motives?  Get real.  There's absolutely no other reason they would have done this.  The piece leaves that impression because that's the impression.

(5) Only a fool takes tongue-in-cheek statements at face value.6)This, on top of Garrison's relentless argument that the Loop would be a lovely place if we could just stop everyone who relies on Metro from reaching U. City, makes me wonder -- What is Chad Garrison's problem with black people?

As for Garrison's "problem with black people", maybe you weren't around back then, but before the Metro ran to the Loop, there were MAGNITUDES less of the thug element walking Delmar.  If the Metro didn't run to U.City it would have far fewer African-American delinquents there - and thus would certainly be a safer, nicer, more lovely place.  I don't know what your deal is... I thought all races could agree that it puts a damper on your night when thugs walk past you, mean-mugging, trying to get eye contact with you just so they can have threatening words with you.  But apparently only white people find that offensive.

Wandering Emperor
Wandering Emperor

Recent examples include the gutting of Prop B, which passed by large margins in the metro areas. Jefferson City was more worried about staying on the good side of the puppy mill lobby than of STL & KC. Now they've rigged the districts to shift even more power to the rural areas.

Nick Kasoff
Nick Kasoff

As I understand it, Cleaver's district is only 1/4 black, and is therefore not protected by the Voting Rights Act. Clay's district, being a majority minority district, would be protected.

STLNEWSMOD
STLNEWSMOD

"until HIS son is ready to take over" -- Funny!

anonymous
anonymous

yeah it's amazing they would feel like second-class citizens and identify as black first. really strange, inexplicable stuff.

Wandering Emperor
Wandering Emperor

Please join our discussion about St. Louis City and County joining Illinois and Kansas City joining Kansas. It's all academic right now, of course, but it worth discussing.The people of St. Louis and Kansas City should be outraged by the hillbilly nonsence in Jefferson City. http://www.facebook.com/pages/...

Losethacrutch
Losethacrutch

You said it! It sure is inexplicable especially when they're second-class by choice!!! Must get pretty f**cking exhausting carrying around that giant chip on your shoulder huh? No wonder you can't make any f**ckin progress....

anonymous
anonymous

yeah they've been allowed to vote for ALMOST 50 YEARS--time to get over it!

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