Leading Democratic redistricting group gears up for era of ‘perpetual’ combat

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee on Wednesday announced plans to train its resources in 13 states in the 2024 election cycle: Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Arizona, Virginia, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The announcement marks a new milestone for the NDRC, a group founded by former Attorney General Eric Holder in 2016 to reduce the GOP’s advantage in redistricting battles.

Although the completion of the 2020 U.S. Census has resulted in the creation of new congressional and state legislative districts for the 2022 midterm elections, legal battles persist and elections for offices with redistricting influence continue. loom on the horizon.

“We are in a new landscape,” said John Bisognano, president of the NDRC. “The redistricting has evolved to a place where it feels perpetual.”

“In an environment where redistricting is no longer cyclical, this is really a new business,” Bisognano added.

Specifically, the NDRC argues that greater vigilance is needed at a time when supporters of former President Donald Trump have redoubled their efforts to get maps gerrymandered and have also begun to question the validity of the results. elections.

“Representative democracy used to be something that was [a] given in this country. It’s something both sides supported,” Bisognano said. “We find ourselves at the center of this battle as we speak. So the stakes are very high.

At the same time, the NDRC celebrates the achievements of an organization that has made up for lost time over the past seven years. Four longtime battlegrounds — Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire — now have what the NDRC considers fair maps. In fact, the group famous The conclusion of the New York Times that the house neighborhood map for 2022 was the “fairest house map of the last 40 years”.

With this in mind, the NDRC divides its 13 target states into three main categories: states where the NDRC hopes to “protect” its current achievements, states where the NDRC is making ongoing efforts to “prevent” Republican takeovers, and States where the NDRC wants to “propel” existing anti-gerrymandering reforms.

The states in the “protect” category are Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Michigan voters adopted a non-partisan redistricting system in a 2018 referendum. And Democrats in the other three states managed to secure competitive court-drawn maps after impasse by respective state governors and legislatures.

To “prevent” GOP advances, the NDRC supports litigation against Republican cards in Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Florida and Louisiana.

Additionally, the NDRC hopes to “propel” Arizona, Virginia, Ohio and Wisconsin toward “equitable redistricting and representative democracy,” as the group describes it. Arizona, Virginia and Ohio all adopted a watered-down form of independent redistricting that still gave state legislative Republicans significant power over the process.

Wisconsin, which has a nearly even partisan split in statewide elections, still has congressional and statewide legislative maps that are skewed toward Republicans. Justice Janet Protasiewicz’s victory in the April state Supreme Court election, however, has created a liberal judicial majority that should be receptive to legal challenges to Republican-drawn maps.

Finally, the NDRC has a “watch list” of states where it believes there are opportunities that depend on the status of ongoing litigation. On the watch list are Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, New Mexico and New York.

The NDRC uses three primary tools to advance Democratic Party interests in redistricting battles: legal action; support for the election of sympathetic civil servants with direct influence on redistricting; and grassroots organizing to impress on elected officials just how opposed voters of all walks of life are to partisan gerrymandering. Bisognano cited the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court race in November as an example of an election where he plans to be active.

The very existence of the NDRC is a product of a wake-up call by the Democratic Party after the annihilation it suffered in the 2010 midterm elections. The loss of countless state legislatures and governorships in favor of Republicans, just before the once-a-decade redistricting, helped keep the U.S. House out of Democratic hands until 2018.

The NDRC and its allies have set to work challenging many of these maps in court and trying to prevent another scenario in which the party falls asleep at the wheel. Today, it’s one of several national Democratic groups focused on state-level races and political fights that liberals now recognize have national implications.

“The redistricting will certainly determine the composition of the House,” Bisognano said.

Officially, the NDRC is opposed to all partisan gerrymandering – no matter who engages in it.

But it’s still a partisan organization. The group released mixed reviews both the imposition by a New York high court of nonpartisan cards in May 2022 and a Maryland court decision in March 2022 that the Democratic state legislature of Maryland had to adjust its cards.

The NDRC’s strategic ambivalence about democratic gerrymandering continues apace. In its Wednesday press release, the NDRC hinted at its hopes that New York Democrats will succeed in overthrowing a court-ordered non-partisan card. Asked about successful Democratic states like Illinois and Maryland, Bisognano was wary.

“I would probably say those states are much more representative and that’s a very different thing than what you see in states like Texas and Florida where they proactively and aggressively chase people of color out of districts. “Bisognano said.

The Huffington Gt

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