The dwindling clout of the Mississippi Delta at the Capitol was again in evidence this week with the passage of a congressional redistricting plan that makes the 2nd District excessively large.
Because the Delta has lost significant population over the past decade, legislators had two options when they redrew the boundaries for the state’s four U.S. House districts to equalize their population, as required under federal law.
They could add large population centers around Jackson or the Memphis suburbs of DeSoto County into the 2nd District, or they could add a lot more land area of more thinly populated areas.
The Republican majorities opted for the latter, adding four Southwest Mississippi counties to the 2nd District. By continuing to pack Democratic voters into the one district, GOP leaders assume this gives their party the best odds of holding onto the other three districts.
The 2nd District, unless a court intervenes, will soon consist of about 40% of all of Mississippi’s land area, with the other three districts splitting the remaining 60%.
That’s not fair to the 2nd District’s longtime incumbent Democratic congressman, Bennie Thompson. It’s not fair to the Delta or to Southwest Mississippi, whose influence will be diluted by being part of a district that stretches so far.
- The Greenwood Commonwealth