Democrats see consequences from redistricting reform push

Democrats argue that the once-in-a-decade process of redrawing a political map should not be a partisan cage match. In the name of good government and balance, they called for an independent committee to work to readjust population changes into parliamentary districts.

They are trying to feel the result of focusing on fairness.

In Democratic-controlled Colorado and Oregon, a new parliamentary map created by a commission or bipartisan power-sharing agreement could give the party political benefits that could otherwise be enjoyed. Low.

Meanwhile, the Republicans have managed the process in 20 states, including Florida, Texas, and North Carolina, and have not relinquished power.

Imbalances can have great consequences. The Democratic Party currently controls the House of Representatives by only eight seats. Choosing not to seize the benefits of changing constituencies can cost Democrats.

“There must be concern within the Democratic Party that it was too early to seek reform without actually seeing the long-term consequences,” said Rick Ridder, a Democratic strategist in Denver.

This year, the Commission draws 95 parliamentary seats that would otherwise have been drawn only by the Democratic Party, and only 13 that would otherwise have been drawn by the Republican Party.

To be sure, not all democracies are sacrificing power for reform. Democratic-controlled states such as Illinois and Maryland are highly exposed to gerrymandering. Democratic-controlled state legislatures may also dismiss committees in New Mexico, especially New York. In New York, if the party controls the map, it could erase some Republican House seats.

However, the state of the committee is important given the narrow margins. In Colorado, where President Joe Biden won 13 percentage points last year, an independent committee released a preliminary map on Friday. This allows both parties to evenly divide the eight seats in the state. In contrast, some democratic maps are divided 6 to 2. The difference, minus the four seats in parliament, is half the current Democratic margin.

In Virginia, where the Democratic Party controls the legislature and holds the Governor’s Office, the leader gets stuck in a bipartisan committee and begins managing the change of constituency to a Republican-appointed judge-controlled state Supreme Court. I’m worried that it might be. The court may hire an expert to map the state’s 11 parliamentary districts and the political composition of the state legislature’s seats.

And in Oregon, a blue state that has won parliamentary seats, Democrats, who control the majority of the legislature, have agreed to divide the constituency change committee evenly between Democrats and Republicans. bottom.

On Friday, the parties released a state duel map. The Democratic Map supports one Swing district represented by Democrat Peter Defazio, draws more party voters, and creates a secure Democratic district west of Portland as Oregon’s sixth and latest district. increase. The Republican version keeps both districts competitive. The impasse begins the process with the Secretary of State of Democracy.

Good government supporters change constituencies to end gerrymandering, draw districts designed to pack opponents’ voters in one place, or spread throughout the district to minimize voting rights He has long advocated a nonpartisan committee overseeing centuries-old practices of letting go. This practice can reduce the number of competitive districts, strengthen the polarization of partisans, and undermine the political power of some racial and ethnic groups.

Republicans claim that both parties are gerrymanderers. Democratic concerns over Colorado and Virginia commissions have exposed the party’s hypocrisy, said Adam Kincaid, secretary-general of the National Republican Constituency Change Trust, which oversees Republican line drawings. “It seems that they see these committees as an extension of the Democratic Party, not as the fair independent body they are talking about.”

Kelli Ward Burton of the National Democratic Constituency Change Commission, a Democratic counterpart of Kincaid, argued that, unlike the Republicans, Democrats are really pushing for constituency reform.

“The Republicans know that the country isn’t keeping pace with where it’s growing, so you’ll have to manipulate maps and voting methods to win,” Burton said. .. “Trusting voters and supporting a map that represents the country’s community fairly and accurately is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.”

The Democratic Party has proposed requiring independent committees to draw a line in all states as part of a drastic federal election bill that has been stalled in the Senate due to unanimous Republican opposition.

Currently, there are constituency change committees in 10 states, including the states where the GOP controls the process, such as Republican Montana and Swing State Arizona.

However, six of the Commission’s states are government-controlled by the Democratic Party, including California, the largest state in the United States with 52 parliamentary seats. This is part of why the Republican Party controls the constituency change process in states that represent 187 seats, and the Democratic Party controls the constituency change process in states that have only 75 seats.

Independent committees often lose power by political parties. For example, in California, the Democratic Party cannot gerrymander because the last Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, passed a 2008 voting bill to create a nonpartisan commission.

In Michigan, which actively gerrymandered when the Republican Party took full control of the state government in 2010, a voting bill in 2018 when a group related to the Democratic Party took a pen from the Republican Parliament and handed it to an independent committee. Was promoted.

In Virginia, when the Republicans ruled the legislature in 2019, Democrats of the institution voted to take committee action on ballots. The following year, after the Democrats took control of the legislature, only some Democrats voted the second time needed to submit the bill to voters and are now enthusiastically supported by non-powerful Republicans. increase.

The initiative passed overwhelmingly in November 2020 as voters handed Biden a 10-percent point victory.

Half of the 16 members of the committee are members of the state legislature. If the committee officially gets stuck, the State Supreme Court will create a map. This is expected to warn Democrats, given that no progress has been made so far.

“We made a mistake,” said Democratic representative Rashlesse Aird, who voted against both when the bill was passed by the state legislature.

In Colorado, the Democratic Party endorsed ballots in 2018, leaving control of constituency changes to a non-partisan committee that does not include parliamentarians. This initiative was first proposed by a wealthy businessman and a former Republican. Some Democrats signed enthusiastically and others with resentment, but in the end the party cast full support behind it.

However, although the Commission’s map shows how Democrats have lobbyed, it still leaves the state as a Tosap. The latest version maintains the state’s 4 to 3 division and displays new seats in the northern suburbs of Denver, including areas that voted only 1.9 percent points for the Democratic Party in 2020. Bad Election Cycle — As you might face next year.

“This looks like a 4-3-1 map of the state to Biden by 13.5,” said Craig Hughes, a veteran Democratic strategist in Colorado. “That’s not a good result for the Democratic Party.”

Some Democrats have complained that the party made a mistake in supporting the committee.

“I give Republicans a lot of credit. They play ball games and change the rules if they lose,” said Wellington Webb, a former mayor of Denver who opposed the use of the commission. “Democrats, we usually fall into the category of trying to be fair.”

Republicans disagree with some maps, but are thrilled that the state’s house district remains relatively evenly divided.

“As Republicans, we consider it a gift from the gods,” said Greg Brophy, a former GOP councilor who was involved in a group lobbying the Commission.


Sarah Klein and Andrew Selsky of Salem, Oregon contributed to this report.

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