WA: Majority-minority; a Seattle split?

The city of Portland is split between two congressional districts, and so is the city of Boise. (The small town of Willamina, Oregon, population about 2,000, is too.) The idea of splitting the city of Seattle between congressional districts, an idea being batted around in the Washington redistricting process, seems not far-fetched (though incumbent Democratic Representative Jim McDermott , who now represents the city as a whole, isn’t much pleased by it). The rationale, though, is one Northwesterners may find … questionable.

The thought behind this idea is to create a “majority-minority” district – one where racial or ethnic minorities would make up more than half of the population. There are a number of these in the southern states, districts where black voters are numerous enough to give a black candidate odds on winning. (The idea comes from the liberal Win-Win Network.) The idea also, in the South, concentrates the Democratic vote, often making nearby districts more Republican.

Unlike those districts, this one would be an amalgam: A collection of minorities (Hispanic, Asian, black, others) instead of a single group. And the minorities all collected come to just barely over the 50% mark.

A thoughtful, struggling-with-it post on Lawyers Guns & Money is skeptical of the usefulness of this kind of a district here. It’s notable, though, as one of the early shots in a Washington reapportionment process still in its early stages.

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