There are some Republicans out there who actually complain about Jim Clyburn's gerrymandered congressional district.
They say the district is drawn specifically for him, the deck stacked with enough black voters to ensure Clyburn will win re-election until he decides to retire. They are right about one thing -- the deck has been stacked.
For the Republicans.
To comply with the Voting Rights Act, the 6th District is drawn to give African-American voters a seat that can be won by a black candidate. But it has become a handy place for the GOP-controlled Legislature to dump scores of black and Democratic voters, making the other districts safer for their boys. And last week they made it even worse.
Lawmakers spent months fighting over which one of them would get the new 7th District drawn specifically for his ambitions, but they put aside their differences in hopes of avoiding Justice Department scrutiny. Which would mess up their dream of a 6-1 GOP delegation.
But if this new plan doesn't draw the Justice Department's attention, nothing will.
No electoral sway
The 6th is the very definition of gerrymandering. It includes all or part of 17 of South Carolina's 46 counties, for the sole purpose of extracting black and Democratic voters.
The feds monitor the state's redistricting because of its long tradition of disenfranchising minorities -- quite a heritage, huh? Now it's just a slicker operation. You see, the vast majority of South Carolina's black residents, nearly 1 million of them, are divided up nearly equally between six Republican-heavy districts. In each one, they make up between 20 percent and 30 percent of the population.
Not enough to hold significant electoral sway.
The GOP argues that Tim Scott's win in the 1st District proves federal oversight is no longer necessary. A black man, they argue, can be elected in a majority white district.
Sure he can -- as long as he embraces tea party rhetoric, doesn't join the congressional black caucus and refuses to wade into any issues affecting the minority community.
That's not quite the point.
It's no surprise the Republicans tilt the electoral map in their favor. Democrats would do it too -- political parties are self-serving.
And make no mistake, this is about party politics. Clyburn's district is roughly 58 percent black, but one district analysis notes that the new 6th district went 67 percent for Barack Obama in 2008. That's called corralling your Democrats.
To draw two majority-minority districts, which the Democrats want, would mirror the state's population. But it would require two districts drawn as crazily as Clyburn's is. It's an age-old problem: Is it better to have a black elected official, or give black voters more say in more districts?
Perhaps if districts were drawn by region, all politicians would have to answer to a more diverse base of voters.
And maybe then they all would be less partisan.
Follow Brian Hicks on Twitter at @BriHicks_PandC.