The Hypocrisy of Democrats’ Gerrymandering Hysteria

Posted on Wednesday, February 2, 2022
by AMAC Newsline

AMAC Exclusive – By Shane Harris

Even as Democrats and the mainstream media continue to insist that former President Donald Trump is a “threat to democracy” for calling into question the legitimacy of the 2020 election, they appear to be gearing up to run a similar play in 2022. Following President Joe Biden’s comment during a press conference last month that the midterm elections might not “be legit” unless the Senate abolishes the filibuster and embrace a federal takeover of elections, Democrats have now also latched onto gerrymandering as the next “crisis” that supposedly de-legitimizes election results. But while the Left has accused Republicans of “rigging the game” by drawing favorable district lines following the 2020 census, Democrats have drawn some of the most lopsided districts in the country. This hypocrisy not only undercuts Democrats’ attacks on Republican maps, but also further reveals a persistent truth about the modern American Left – that their cries for “justice” and “fairness” are more often based on a ruthless quest for power than any real commitment to “preserving democracy.”

In New York, where Democrats enjoy a large majority in the state legislature, the new map is particularly egregious, producing what will likely be a 22D-4R gerrymander – meaning that Republicans will control just 15% of the state’s representation in the House of Representatives, when the GOP has earned 34%-37% of the statewide vote in recent presidential races. The proposed New York 10th Congressional District, currently occupied by Democrat Jerry Nadler, appears to purposely exclude predominately Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods which tend to vote more Republican. The proposed 14th Congressional District, currently occupied by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, pushes the limits of requirements that Districts be compact and contiguous; it spans 2 counties and at three separate points is only connected by bridges over water, something which could be a violation of the New York State Constitution.

Similar patterns have played out in other Democrat-controlled states. In Illinois, a 13D-3R gerrymander has some Districts stretching from heavily Democratic Chicago to heavily Republican rural areas more than 100 miles south of the city. Donald Trump won 41% of the statewide vote in Illinois in 2020 – now Republicans are likely to control only three House seats.

To be sure, Republican-controlled state legislatures have also introduced and passed partisan maps. And gerrymandering itself – by either party – remains a controversial topic. But the contrast between the Left’s professed outrage when Republicans draw favorable maps for themselves, and their muted reaction when Democrats do so, betrays that Democrats’ crusade to “stop” gerrymandering is really about curbing Republicans’ ability to draw partisan maps while they themselves refuse to play by the same rules.

Take, for instance, Democratic lawyer Marc Elias, a former Hillary Clinton campaign official who played a major role in financing the Russian collusion hoax, who filed a legal motion in Maryland to defend the Democrats’ extreme partisan gerrymander of the state’s Congressional districts. Previously, Elias has challenged Republican gerrymanders in states like North Carolina, calling them “grotesque” and “indefensible.” Now he rushes to the defense of perhaps the most grotesque gerrymander in the country.

Similarly, 150 political scientists signed an open letter to Congress last November declaring that “midnight is approaching” for American democracy. Among their reasons for making such a dramatic claim was partisan gerrymandering, which they claimed was being used exclusively by Republicans to “entrench minority rule.”

But mounting evidence suggests that it is Democrats who may actually be guilty of this. Even though Republicans control a majority of state legislatures, one analysis from the liberal policy center Data for Progress found that the number of House seats which are more liberal than the country as a whole is expected to increase from 203 in 2020 to 213 in 2022.

One major reason for this is “nonpartisan” or “independent” redistricting commissions and other supposed “fixes” for gerrymandering that, in many cases, have only further solidified disproportionate Democratic advantages. In California, for example, voters chose in 2008 to have a commission rather than the state legislature redraw district lines in the hopes of instituting a less partisan redistricting process. But that commission is now poised to eliminate 3 of the state’s 11 GOP-controlled U.S. House seats – a number that was already lower than Republicans’ typical statewide vote share would suggest.

New Jersey also places redistricting responsibilities in the hands of a commission made up of an equal number of Republicans and Democrats and one “nonpartisan tiebreaker.” However, with the commission gridlocked in December, that tiebreaker, John E. Wallace, Jr., chose the Democratic plan, which appears, unsurprisingly, to be an aggressive Democratic gerrymander.

When pressed on the decision, Wallace said that he chose the Democrats’ map based on analysis from the Princeton University Gerrymandering Project which determined that map to be more fair. However, it recently came to light that several staffers from the Princeton Gerrymandering Project were secretly working with Democratic members of the commission and providing confidential information from their work with Wallace so that Democrats could adjust their map to give it a better chance of being selected by Wallace.

Meanwhile, the Left’s pressure campaign seems to be working to blunt Republicans’ advantage in states controlled by the GOP. In Ohio, for example, the State Supreme Court shot down a partisan map in a 4-3 vote after a ballot initiative passed in 2015 barring maps that “unduly favor or disfavor a political party or its incumbents.” The new map is likely to be far more favorable to Democrats. Similar court battles loom in North Carolina and Florida as well, where Democrats may gain seats by virtue of judges sympathetic to the alleged “anti-gerrymandering” sentiment stoked by Democrats and the mainstream media (which as their hypocrisy shows, is really just thinly veiled partisan opposition to Republicans).

So as Republicans find themselves hamstrung in their efforts to draw favorable districts for themselves, Democratic-controlled states are simply moving control of the redistricting process from an elected, partisan state legislature to an unelected, unaccountable, but still ultimately partisan commission, For Democrats, the benefits are twofold – both cementing permanent control of the redistricting process while maintaining the façade that the process is free from partisan influence.

Democrats’ insistence that Republicans are a “threat to democracy” is a mere projection. As Joe Biden’s poll numbers have tanked and Democrats’ domestic agenda has come unraveled, it is Democrats who have sowed doubts about the legitimacy of American elections, both through baseless accusations about the effects of Republican election integrity laws and manufactured, hypocritical outrage over the redistricting process.

Shane Harris is a writer and political consultant from Southwest Ohio.