With a mid-term election less than a year away, states are scrambling to finish up the redistricting process. But while you are most likely to hear about gerrymandering from the mainstream media in reference to Republicans, the truth is that the most egregious examples are coming from Democrat-run states.
You've probably seen the spaghetti-on-a-wall map drawn in Illinois which nuked several GOP-held seats. Oregon, Maryland, and New Mexico have also pushed the envelope, squeezing every last Democrat seat possible into their redistricting plans. In states with “independent commissions” run by academics, Democrats have stacked the deck as well, with California's blue-bolstering map being an example.
Now, we can add New York to the list. The state has released a 22-4 D to R map that eliminates four Republicans even as it lost a congressional seat due to the census.
Jerry Nadler's district 10, shown up close in the second picture, is maybe the worst gerrymander in the country, though, there are some others vying for the title. It's specifically meant to dilute the vote of Orthodox Jews, many of which vote Republican. Getting outside of New York City, things aren't much better, with disjointed, hacked-up districts meant to compact Democrats into deep blue bastions.
As you can expect, the New York map has drawn criticism from many on the right, noting the hypocrisy of Democrat complaints about gerrymandering even as they participate in it fully. But I'm going to give you a different take: Democrats are doing the right thing.
Gerrymandering is the spoils of war. If you have the power in a state to draw the lines, the expectation should be that those lines are drawn to consolidate power because elections aren't a game. The outcomes lead to real consequences for real people. If one side believes it has the best ideas that are vital for the health and well-being of the country, it is a dereliction of duty to punt on using the power delegated to them.
Besides, there isn't a Democrat alive right now that cares about some Republican calling them a hypocrite. What's that kind of hand-wringing accomplishing, exactly? The answer here is to fight fire with fire. Yet, instead of doing that, many GOP-led states are curling into the fetal position. As Redstate reported, both Missouri and Florida Republicans are doing their best to surrender on redistricting. Texas' new map actually strengthened the position of 12 of the 13 existing Democrats instead of going fully the offensive, and that's one of the maps Republicans are telling us we should be happy about.
The GOP can wake up and realize there is no going back on gerrymandering, or they can sit idly by while Democrats gain seats before the first votes are even cast. Right now, the Republican response to all this is embarrassing. It's long past time to learn the lesson that it's not 2004 anymore. Shows of bipartisanship, especially in issues of distribution of power, do not earn any goodwill from Democrats.
Go big or go home.