Appeal Of Gerrymandering


cjones06222019

The majority of Americans do not vote Republican anymore. The Republican party is outdated, racist, for the rich and corporations, and stuck in the past. Most Americans have moved forward. As evidenced by the 2016 presidential election, they can’t win the presidency by getting the majority of votes.

The GOP knows this which is why they cling to power through voter suppression, dirty tricks, fear, disinformation, and help from Russian troll farms. But, one of their greatest tools in winning and retaining congressional and legislative seats is gerrymandering. The gerrymandering isn’t coordinated to shift voters politically, but racially, which is illegal.

Even in states that do vote majority Republicans, the Republicans cheat with racial gerrymandering. North Carolina is currently being sued for racial gerrymandering.

In Virginia, my home state, Republicans in the House of Delegates redrew 11 districts, each having at least 55 percent black residents of voting age. The Democrats sued and won. It was appealed to the Supreme Court where the lower court’s ruling was upheld.

Basically, Democrats argued that these eleven districts were unlawful because they featured too many black voters, diminishing their power across the state and in other districts. That’s a trick Republicans have been using for decades. They group as many black voters into a district as possible, give themselves a medal for allowing black voters to elect one of their own while diluting their vote across the rest of the state, thus creating more conservative and white representation. It’s a shell game.

It’s the job of the state Attorney General to fight for Virginia in court. Currently, Virginia’s AG is Mark Herring, a Democrat. He did his job in fighting for the gerrymandered districts but he refused to appeal. Then, Republicans took over and spent millions of taxpayer dollars taking it to the highest court in the land…where they lost.

The majority opinion was written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and she was joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayer. What was surprising is that they were joined by conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Trump appointee and owner of Merrick Garland’s seat, Neil Gorsuch. But, don’t feel jubilant that these two justices voted for what was right racially. They voted on procedure.

They ruled that the House of Delegates did not have the legal authority to appeal the case and that the only one who did was the state Attorney General.

Ginsburg wrote for the majority, “The House, we hold, lacks authority to displace Virginia’s Attorney General as representative of the state. We further hold that the House, as a single chamber of a bicameral legislature, has no standing to appeal the invalidation of the redistricting plan separately from the state of which it is a part.” That’s what we call an RGB mic drop. Basically, they were speaking for their party, not the state. They didn’t even include the Senate side of the General Assembly.

Virginia AG Mark Herring said, “It is unfortunate that the House Republicans wasted millions of taxpayer dollars and months of litigation in a futile effort to protect racially gerrymandered districts.” Basically, Virginia Republicans used millions of taxpayer dollars to fight for racism.

Last year, there was a huge turnout of Democratic voters, not just nationwide, but also in Virginia. The GOP holds the state House by only one vote, and that’s because they won a coin toss. Seriously. Now, there’s another statewide election this year and the new racially neutral districts will stand. When the deck is even, Republicans lose.

Democrats are in a strong position to win more seats. If they can continue the enthusiasm and momentum from 2018, election day will be huge for them. What they have going against them is it’s an off-year election and that entire blackface thing with the governor and the rape charges against the Lieutenant Governor.

Republicans didn’t have the right to appeal this case. And, much like Donald Trump, they don’t have much appeal to the majority of Virginia’s voters…even when they’re not wearing their hoods.

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