Virginia Republicans Give Blacks the Finger on MLK Day

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The Virginia state senate is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, 20-20. Republicans really hate this, but what can they do? Answer: wait for a Democratic state senator to be absent and jam through a mid-decade redistricting plan that switches one seat from D to R by creating a new pack-and-crack majority black district just south of Richmond. The vote was 20-19.

But wait! That’s not all. The deed was done on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and at the end of the session Republicans adjourned in memory of Confederate general Stonewall Jackson, whose birthday is today.

Oh, and did I mention that the state senator who was absent is a veteran of the civil rights movement? And that he was in Washington to attend the inauguration of our country’s first black president?

Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, who has obvious presidential ambitions, said he was surprised by the move, but didn’t denounce it and didn’t promise to veto it. Quite the contrary: his spokesman said the governor would “review it in great detail” once the bill got to his desk.

It’s truly a mystery why so few African-Americans support the Republican Party, isn’t it? A real chin-stroker.

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Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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