To be perfectly honest, it’s not pretty. As Mother Jones‘ Ari Berman reported, Republicans stand to gain anywhere from six to 13 seats in the House through their control of the redistricting process in just four states alone: Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and Texas. In other words, Republicans could literally gerrymander their way to a majority by redrawing the lines in four states—to say nothing of the other states they control.
Of all the reporting that has been done about voting rights and GOP attempts to suppress the vote, partisan gerrymandering arguably poses a much bigger threat to administering fair elections in the coming decade than the Republican suppression bills do. Whereas the GOP suppression bills could have unintended consequences for Republicans, the gerrymanders will deliver far more dependable advantages to the GOP cycle after cycle.
Legal challenges might help mitigate that GOP advantage in some states, but the Supreme Court has issued several decisions in the last decade that effectively gutted protections once provided by the Civil Rights Act of 1965. The best way to prevent those gerrymanders from locking in Republican minority rule would be by passing a voting rights bill that would prevent them, but such a bill would have to clear both chambers of Congress at least before states complete their new congressional maps.
Today, we will explore what to expect both politically and legally as the process unfolds with two experts in the field, Daily Kos Elections redistricting analyst and gerrymandering savant Stephen Wolf, and Simone Leeper, legal counsel at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. The Center also just launched PlanScore.org, a free online tool to help voting rights advocates measure partisan gerrymandering and demand fair maps.
Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas is on vacation, but please join Cara Zelaya and me for a primer on the impending redistricting frenzy.