NPR (AUDIO): Redistricting: What Happens When The Party With Power Gives Themselves More
STEPHANIE GOMEZ: So, you know, we got the text. Like, the maps are out. These are the maps that we have been waiting for.
CHANG: Stephanie Gomez is associate director of Common Cause Texas, a nonprofit that works on issues like voting and elections. She was waiting eagerly on Monday when Republican state lawmakers released their first draft of the new congressional map.
GOMEZ: I don't know if I'm allowed to cuss, but it was very like, oh, hell, like, it's - the maps are out. It was just - everyone open up the maps, and let's just - let's take a look at everything.
CHANG: So remember all that population growth we mentioned in Texas? It's been driven almost entirely by people of color. And it's the reason that Texas next year will gain two more seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, where seats are allocated by state population.
GOMEZ: Of course, our eyes were like, OK, we're supposed to get two opportunity districts for minorities. Let's see where they end up putting those.
CHANG: When Gomez got a closer look at the new Texas maps, she saw what many Democrats expected and feared. You see, the state's new map would actually reduce the number of congressional districts where voters of color are in the majority, and the map would protect Republican incumbents who might have been vulnerable by packing their districts with even more Trump supporters. The Princeton Gerrymandering Project, which grades redistricting maps on things like how compact or competitive the districts are, gave the Texas congressional map a flat-out F.
GOMEZ: It's so hard to be a Texan who is fighting for an equitable democracy. Like, we are constantly being met with our deepest, worst fears.