This week, via NowThis News, former President Barack Obama (who remains popular after leaving office) issued a call to action for Americans. He insisted that folks need to weigh the imminent redistricting process when making their choices this November in the next round of elections.
Next year, Congressional and state legislative district lines will be redrawn across the country, and this process can be and has already been co-opted for partisan political gain. For example, Republicans could draw the lines in order to break up populations of their usual opponents, placing portions of them in different districts, which would mean that Republicans would the majority in as many districts as possible, even if overall, there’s a huge number of constituents who definitely do not support the GOP. Nevertheless, if Republicans are able to redraw lines in this way, then they may be able to more easily hold onto power in the future and impose their ideological agenda across the country.
Obama has some experience with this issue. In the NowThis video, he pointed out that despite widespread public support for action on issues including immigration and gun violence during his presidency, Republicans in Congress resisted, and little was done. Their ideological agenda flatly did not reflect the majority public opinion — but they pushed ahead with it anyway, and the co-opting of district line drawing for political ends (which is called gerrymandering) helps fuel this disconnect.
‘In this election, the state leaders we elect will help redraw electoral districts all across the country… These maps will stand for 10 years. That could mean a decade of fairly drawn districts where folks have an equal voice in their government, or it could mean a decade of unfair, partisan gerrymandering… This year, educate yourself on the candidates at every level on your ballot. They can make a profound impact on your community and our country.’
Obama also noted that “lately, we’ve been seeing our critical” that local leaders are. After all, he noted, these local leaders can “determine our pandemic response, or lack thereof,” “can work to improve policing strategies, or make things worse,” and “can work to protect your vote, or try to silence you.”
Check out his comments in the video below:
The stakes in 2020 are even higher than you thought — @BarackObama explains why this is a 'last chance' election with down-ballot races that will reshape America's election maps for a decade in this NowThis exclusive pic.twitter.com/cVd0ncQiHe
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 24, 2020