by Max Brantley
Don't be confused by Secretary of State Mark Martin's proposal to create more majority black districts when the state is redistricted for population shifts. (For example, he thinks he can draw five majority black Senate districts against the four likely to be produced by Democratic mapmakers.)
Sen. Jack Crumbly has already demonstrated what's up with this by objecting to a plan from Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe that would put him in a district with a bare majority of black voters. He fears it's an insufficient majority to protect him.
Most of Martin's proposed districts are even barer majorities.
Martin knows that black voter participation is historically lower than white participation. Even in 2008 — the high tide for black voter participation because of Barack Obama's candidacy — 65 percent of black voters participated against 66 percent of white voters, according to Pew research. In the 2010 midterm, black voter participation plummeted and Republicans reaped the benefits nationwide.
Martim aims, simply, to dilute black voting strength, not increase it, and increase Republican electoral chances. That's what politicians do — on both sides. Just be clear what's up.