Despite Troubling Report, Rep. James Clyburn Maintains He’s No Sellout

“Any accusation that Congressman Clyburn in any way enabled or facilitated Republican gerrymandering that wouldn’t have otherwise occurred is fanciful,” Clyburn’s office said in a statement, calling the notion a “bizarre conspiracy theory.”



By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Earlier this month, a scathing report from ProPublica noted the apparent betrayal of one of the most trusted and powerful Democratic politicians in America.

South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, the so-called kingmaker and assistant House leader, allegedly sold out his state to Republicans to keep his seat.

ProPublica claimed Clyburn made a secret deal with the GOP during the redistricting process in 2021 that sapped the strength of the all-important Black vote while making it extremely difficult for Democrats to compete for a congressional seat.

ProPublica reported that Clyburn cut the deal to ensure his seat would remain safe.

Though the revelation occurred two weeks ago, Clyburn has mostly remained mum. But rumblings have led many to wonder when he will explain.

As political writer Isaac Bailey wrote, the NAACP sued over the gerrymandered voting map.

Bailey noted that a three-judge federal panel called it a racial gerrymander, and the court determined that it was “effectively impossible” to have moved more than 30,000 black voters into Clyburn’s district without it.

Further, Bailey observed that the court pushed back against some of the NAACP’s claims by showing that Clyburn had requested some of the changes.

“It’s just one example of the ugly, often-hidden layer of what we keep referring to as a democracy, a term that’s often misapplied given the state of things,” Bailey offered.

“In a healthy democracy, the people choose their representatives. Increasingly, that’s not what’s happening in ours.”

ProPublica reported on a series of meetings between Clyburn and high-ranking Republicans following the release of the 2020 Census map.

They noted that the slightest line changes could determine who wins and holds power.

But as the process commenced, they said Clyburn had a problem: His once majority Black district had suffered a daunting exodus of residents since the last count.

He wanted his seat to be made as safe as possible.

“Republicans understood the powerful Black Democrat could not be ignored, even though he came from the opposing party and had no official role in the state-level process,” ProPublica explained.

“Fortunately for them, Clyburn, who is 82 and was recently reelected to his 16th term, had long ago made peace with the art of bartering.”

The fallout?

“The resulting map, finalized in January 2022, made Clyburn’s lock on power stronger than it might have been otherwise,” the report stated. “A House of Representatives seat that Democrats held as recently as 2018 would become even more solid for the incumbent Republican.

“This came at a cost: Democrats now have virtually no shot of winning any congressional seat in South Carolina other t


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