But by the 1970’s, this provision morphed into district gerrymandering. What was initially meant to protect the voting rights of blacks evolved into provisions to guarantee the election of blacks.
The result of this overall process is a bloc of politically manipulated districts which, coupled with other institutional biases protecting incumbents, virtually guarantees the election of black Democrats.
You might say that rigged elections might be justified if it meant better lives for black constituents.
But given that these districts are largely characterized by persistent poverty and some of the worst public schools in the country, this is a conclusion that’s hard to reach.
Earlier this year, the New York Times profiled the prodigious money raising prowess and dubious ethics of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. The Times editorialized, “Of all the money machines shaving ethical corners, few rival the Congressional Black Caucus…..the caucus spends far more on gala entertainments and golf outings than on the scholarships that billboard its charity drives.”
Political markets are like commercial markets. The absence of competition results in shoddy products.
When we send American soldiers into harm’s way abroad to fight for free elections, perhaps we should spend more time considering the quality of our own democracy at home.
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