Former Attorney General Eric Holder has vowed to step up the fight in the redistricting battle against Republican gerrymandering through the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), according to a report on The Hill today.
Republicans have spent years focusing their efforts on capturing state-level offices, winning majorities in multiple statehouses that give them the power to draw the maps determining the boundaries of congressional districts so that Republicans can win control of the House of Representatives more easily.
Using sophisticated computer programs and voter registration data, they’ve managed to create Republican majority districts by splitting known Democratic voters between districts and diluting their voting power, In the process, they’ve created districts that divide neighborhoods and communities, often stretching across the state in bizarre shapes that conform to no known geographical or logical boundaries.
Holder and the NDRC will be concentrating on so-called “trifecta” states, where Republicans control both houses of the legislature and the governor’s mansion and have complete control over the redistricting process. They intend to fight both in the courts through litigation and in the polling booths by supporting Democratic candidates for statewide office.
With the 2018 mid-terms coming up, the redistricting fight is more crucial than ever, if the vehemence with which the Republicans in Pennsylvania are vowing to ignore a Supreme Court decision affirming the necessity to redraw the gerrymandered maps in that state is any indication.
Holder will have a substantial budget to help fight the battle against non-representational democracy, with the NDRC having raised $16 million to date and aiming to raise twice that much before the mid-term elections.
Initially, they are targeting 12 out of the 26 “trifecta” states: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Holder told The Hill that former President Obama will play a significant role in the group’s activities.
“Later this year, you will see him campaigning. He will be focused on the races that will matter for redistricting,” Holder said. “He has identified this as his chief political activity of his post-presidency.”
Yet Holder doesn’t see his efforts as strictly partisan, but as a “partisan effort at good government.”
“We don’t define success as electing Democrats who in 2021 will do what Republicans [did]in 2011 — that is, gerrymander on behalf of Democrats,” Holder said. “If we have a fair redistricting process and make it a battle between Republican ideas and Democratic ideas, between conservative ideas and progressive ideas, Democrats and conservatives will do absolutely fine.”
The same computer programs that have made it simple for Republicans to tilt the playing field in their direction can easily create districts that are more evenly divided between parties, making each election a true contest of ideas rather than a brute force battle over the composition of the electorate.