A lot of pundits have spent the last few years talking about the reason Democrats have lost so many seats in Congress since 2010. For instance, a few months ago, the host of Real Time with Bill Maher complained that “Democrats have gone from the party that protects people to the party that protects feelings.” Fox News, of course, blames the loss of seats on President Obama. Vox blames the problem on too much complacency in the Democratic Party and the fact that, historically speaking, the party of two-term presidents usually loses down ballot races. None of them are entirely correct. The reason so many Democrats have lost seats is because of a devious plan called REDMAP (Redistricting Majority Project).
REDMAP was the brainchild of Chris Jankowski, a Republican strategist who ran a group called Republican State Leadership Committee. REDMAP was a brilliant scheme put in place to flip enough state legislatures from Democratically-controlled to Republican-controlled before the last census so that Republicans would be in charge when it came time to redraw congressional and state legislative lines.
They put their plan in place in several states and it worked so well that Republicans eventually gained control of not only a bunch of state legislatures, but also both houses of Congress. What REDMAP really did was allow Republicans to steal democracy from millions of Americans. In gerrymandered districts the people’s voice is no longer being heard. In essence they have no representation in congress.
Sadly, gerrymandering is a legal tool politicians use to gain an unfair advantage. However, it should be illegal because in almost every instance it’s about racial discrimination. Politicians pack minorities and the poor into as few districts as possible, spreading the conservative, mainly white vote around liberally.
Suppose there are 20 districts in a state. Republican politicians will pack the poor and minorities into three or four districts, guaranteeing the other 16 or 17 districts stay in firm Republican control. Control they can then use to make laws that affect everyone in the state. North Carolina’s “bathroom law” for instance. The bathroom law forced transgendered people to use the bathroom that fit their birth gender, not the gender they currently identify as. As a whole transgender support may be at 65 percent, but that doesn’t matter when the minority is getting to make the rules we all have to follow.
There was a bit of good news for democracy this week though. REDMAP took a major hit Tuesday when a panel of federal judges in North Carolina ruled the state’s election districts were unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. The panel of judges gave lawmakers a deadline of January 29 to fix the districts, and that no more elections can be held until the problem has been fixed. The lawsuit that brought about the judgement was filed by the League of Women voters and Common Cause. They felt like their voices were not being heard and they sought to remedy that situation. In states like North Carolina, gerrymandering is a big problem. The panel of judges may have set some precedent Tuesday. Hopefully that precedent will be used to start righting some of the wrongs that Republicans have perpetuated on millions of people throughout the country. It’s time to take our democracy back!
Here’s what Twitter had to say.
Whoa: Court strikes down North Carolina's GOP-drawn congressional map as an illegal partisan gerrymander. This is the map where the GOP proudly admitted to partisan gerrymandering to defend themselves from charges of illegal racial gerrymandering https://t.co/PZ02S9QeYO
— Stephen Wolf (@PoliticsWolf) January 9, 2018
— Danielle Lang (@DaniLang_DC) January 9, 2018
It's, "one person-one vote," not, "one Republican-one vote."
Congress must act to end unconstitutional gerrymandering now.https://t.co/KPZft0J2Zx
— Randy Bryce (@IronStache) January 10, 2018
It's kinda ironic that this is about the only thing the Republicans ever did that worked as they intended it to.
— Dot of Blue in a Sea of Red (@mountaincrat) January 10, 2018
Okay now let's get the rest of the states on board and put an end to Gerrymandering!
North Carolina Congressional Map Ruled Unconstitutionally Gerrymandered https://t.co/W1BCu5Y96U
— Susan (@Suzmassara) January 10, 2018
Featured Image via W.W. Norton & Co.