Democrats’ battle to chip away at partisan gerrymandering could be the political project that dooms the party for years to come, writes The Atlantic, and it’s probably too late to stop the efforts in their tracks.
In a “high-minded” attempt to make elections more fair, Democrats at several levels of government have in recent years pushed to change the rules surrounding the districting that determines who controls Congress. As The Atlantic writes, Democrats “joined with election reformers to take the responsibility for redistricting away from politicians and hand it to independent, nonpartisan commissions.” However, that move has backfired in some ways, especially since Republicans have stymied progress by holding tight to their redistricting powers rather than join the effort in the name of fairness.
Republicans blocked congressional legislation that would have created nonpartisan commissions across the country, and the uneven application of such commissions’ findings mean Democrats are essentially ceding power, advocates say.
“As a matter of policy, I think we should pursue these, because I think it’s the right thing to do,” Morgan Carroll, the chair of the Colorado Democratic Party, told The Atlantic. “But as a matter of politics, if across the country every Dem is for independent commissions and every Republican is aggressively gerrymandering maps, then the outcome is still a Republican takeover of the United States of America with a modern Republican Party that is fundamentally authoritarian and antidemocratic. And that’s not good for the country.”
While Democrats have benefited from some of the redistricting panels they’ve called for, others, like in Colorado, have led the party to now potentially be at risk of losing control of the state legislature. In other cases, Democrats who have advocated for nonpartisan redistricting are now just crossing their fingers that voters “reward the party that stood up for good government and put aside partisan politics.” Read more at The Atlantic.
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