Keep Legislators Accountable

Sep 15, 2019 (Raleigh) NC Governor Cooper spilled the beans yesterday, revealing the end strategy to his party’s continuous lawfare over redistricting or gerrymandering or whatever they call it (depending on who’s in control) and that goal is something called a “redistricting commission,” which would strip away the Legislature’s constitutional authority to design the state’s electoral districts.

We oppose these commissions for several reasons:

  1. Commissions are made up of unelected people who are not accountable to the voters. Just as in 2010, NC Republican voters overcame the gerrymandered maps drawn by Democrats (see images below), the legal way for Democrats to regain power is through the ballot box. Commissions take that process away from the voters and subject the individual commissioners to quiet, behind-the-scenes deal-making.
  2. California showed the world how a well-funded group of partisan organizations subverted the “nonpartisan” intent of the commission to gerrymander the Democrats into permanent power. While some states have not experienced such a power shift after enacting a redistricting commission, it’s foolish to think their commission structures are not as easily hacked as was California’s. All it takes is a big enough prize and NC is in their target.
  3. More than anything else, the eight years of lawfare used by Democrats after they lost the 2010 elections shows how out-of-state partisan groups have funded the push for redistricting commissions. Those efforts should not be rewarded with a commission that would ultimately suit their partisan goals.
  4. The sheer hypocrisy of either party out of power claiming that redistricting is somehow wrong when there really is no better solution that doesn’t wind up being subverted through back-room dealings and indirect political bribes (or pressure) on the commissioners or on their family members.

Pre-2010 Maps Show The Hypocrisy

Here are two of the Congressional districts that Democrats designed in 2000 and that governed the 2010 elections.

This North Carolina Congressional District 1 was drawn by Democrats in was in force from 2001 to 2011.

And this is how the Republicans redesigned the same district after they took control.

This NC CD-1 map was drawn by Republicans in 2011 and still is in force.

According to unelected federal judges, one of these districts was drawn to suppress black voters and one was not. To understand the determining factor between which one is was racist, you only need to see which party appointed the judge who decided the case. Since the oh-so infallible judge was appointed by a Democrat, only the Republican map was evil.

This goes far beyond which party was which, but we show this to instruct the public on why the designers of both the state and federal Constitution did not allow judges to tinker with the maps. Instead, both documents gave this responsibility to the Legislative branch. And if the voters didn’t like it, they could boot the guys who designed those maps. Court orders are not as easily overturned.

Not yet convinced? Let’s try one more. When Democrats designed it, people rolled their eyes, but the courts let this oddly shaped North Carolina Congressional District 12 map remain legal.

This NC CD-12 map was drawn by Democrats in was in force from 2001 to 2011.

It was only after Republicans had control of the process that the media and the Democrat politicians started calling it “the Salamander District” and began rabble-rousing to punish Republicans for such abuse for making the following map in 2011.

This NC CD-12 map was drawn by Republicans in 2011 and still is in force.

This is NOT to say that one party is nobler than the other but to say that redistricting always has winners and losers. By rule, the losing party blames the rules and the winning party consolidates their gains.

While there may be subtle differences in the two sets of maps, hopefully, we can all agree that they stink.

We have no problem with rules that prevent such obviously suspicious districts in the future, provided neither side changes the rules once they get control. And that’s what’s going on tomorrow in NC.

Instead of playing by the rules and working to win more elections, the Democrats and Gov Cooper are trying to change the rules.

In the end, they want so-called “nonpartisan” commissions and California has shown us the risk we take with such a pollyannish idea. While nieve people can pretend some people are able to be “non-artisan,” those of us who pay attention beg to differ.

We oppose any system that takes away a voter’s ability to punish the people who make bad laws or draw abusive maps, so we oppose the creation of any unelected redistricting commissions and believe the Legislature should retain their specific constitutional responsibility to draw the maps.