Race Trumps Politics in Missouri Redistricting

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Nasheed: Black before Democrat.
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

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