Over the last decade, Democrats in key states have relinquished control of redistricting to “independent commissions … free of partisan interference,” a decision made for the sake of “good government” that could, however, affect the left’s ability to hold onto their majority in 2022, Politico writes.
Despite agreeing that redistricting reform is needed, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) added that Republicans are “carving up left and right” in rabidly partisan states, while Democrats, rather, are “unilaterally disarming,” per Politico.
For example, when Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D) this spring offered an effective redistricting veto in exchange for the right’s cooperation with her legislative agenda, Democrats were “unsparing” in their condemnation, writes Politico. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) said that was like “shooting yourself in the head.” Added Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.): “It was just an abysmally stupid move on her part.”
The number of independent state redistricting commissions has grown over the last decade, concurrent with national Democratic efforts to “increase voter awareness of gerrymandering,” a bipartisan practice the left is framing as a “Republican abomination.”
But as Virginia Rep. Donald McEachin (D) pointed out, “unless you’re going to have everybody do redistricting commissions, our party is at a disadvantage.” Republicans need only five seats to win back a House majority, which they could attain through “favorable maps” in just a few of the places where they already have control — like Texas, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina, reports Politico.
Ill-fated H.R. 1, House Democrats’ election reform bill, mandates independent redistricting commissions, but it is unlikely to clear the Senate. Kelly Ward Burton, president of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said the party will “fight tooth and nail” to prevent Republicans from “locking in gerrymandered maps” should it fail to pass. “We will sue them.”
Read more at Politico.