In a previous column (“Something must be done to balance power,” The Daily News, July 24), I argued that since Reynolds v. Sims forces state senate districts to be proportional to population, large urban areas will control those states that contain these high-population areas, so their small towns and rural areas will be forced to live under urban socialist regimes.
The official definition of a “large urban area” is a metropolitan statistical area.
Texas has five large statistical areas:
Dallas-Fort Worth: 13 counties, population 7.5 million
Houston: Nine counties, population 6. 9 million
San Antonio: Eight counties, population 2.5 million
Austin: Five counties, population 2.1 million
El Paso: two counties, population 845,553
These statistical areas are composed of 37 counties with a population of more than 20 million. The state of Texas is composed of 254 counties with a population of 28.7 million.
These five statistical areas are represented by 109 House Districts. The Texas House has 150 districts; therefore, these statistical areas control 73 percent of the votes. This is how it was meant to be; House membership proportional to population.
However, in order to have meaningful power sharing between large statistical areas and rural areas, senate districts cannot be forced to be proportional to population, because each county needs to be a state senate district. If this arrangement was used, the five statistical areas would only have 15 percent of the votes in the Texas Senate, which would give small towns and rural areas meaningful power.
Unfortunately, since Reynolds does not allow each county to be a senate district, there are currently only 31 senate districts and 26 of them are contained within these five statistical areas. This means that these statistical areas control 84 percent of the votes in the Senate; almost six times more than they would if each county was a senate district.
If political power was shared between the large-statistical-area urban socialist voting bloc and a rural traditionalist voting bloc, they would be forced to find ways to compromise. But since large-statistical-area legislators have complete control of the state; they set the agenda. This has allowed urban socialism to completely dominate rural traditionalism throughout the state.
Many may believe that this cannot possibly be true, because 55 percent of the House and 61 percent of the Senate is held by Republicans, but many Republican legislators give lip service to “traditional values” while actually supporting urban socialism. This explains why many voters are routinely disappointed with the “Republican Legislature.” Clearly, if the structure of the Texas Legislature isn’t changed dramatically, the domination of urban socialism will only get worse.
People in at least five states (Illinois, California, Washington, Nevada, and New York) now realize that Reynolds is the primary reason why their states have become controlled by their large statistical areas, so they’re making serious efforts to end their domination. Will anyone in Texas do the same?
Someone needs to file a lawsuit to reverse Reynolds.