Saturday, October 22, 2016

Obama's post-presidency focus will be on gerrymandering

The U.S. presidency represents the highest job position one can aspire to, so once the term is over there is only so much a former President can do without it feeling like a demotion.

It looks like President Obama might have found a cause worth fighting for that would allow him to put his many talents to good use: expand the Democrats' edge in states' legislatures and the U.S. House of Representatives, cutting into the GOP's unfair advantage:
As Democrats aim to capitalize on this year’s Republican turmoil and start building back their own decimated bench, former Attorney General Eric Holder will chair a new umbrella group focused on redistricting reform — with the aim of taking on the gerrymandering that’s left the party behind in statehouses and made winning a House majority far more difficult. 
The new group, called the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, was developed in close consultation with the White House. President Barack Obama himself has now identified the group — which will coordinate campaign strategy, direct fundraising, organize ballot initiatives and put together legal challenges to state redistricting maps — as the main focus of his political activity once he leaves office. 
[...] “American voters deserve fair maps that represent our diverse communities — and we need a coordinated strategy to make that happen,” Holder said. “This unprecedented new effort will ensure Democrats have a seat at the table to create fairer maps after 2020."
[...] The NDRC aims to tackle a central problem for Democrats: They complain about the need for redistricting reform all the time and have dozens of aligned interest groups pushing their own efforts, but none has gone far — and that’s left the party on the ropes every cycle. 
Lower Democratic turnout in midterm years has enabled Republicans to win governors' races and statehouse races that consolidate power in state capitals and Washington by being the ones to draw the maps that everyone needs to run on. 
They argue that Democrats have been losing races in large part because they’ve let Republicans tilt the field. The result: The ranks of up-and-coming Democrats have been thinned, and there are fewer and more difficult races for the ones who are left to run on. 
Donald Trump is "an acute symptom of their party in decline, and Republican leadership can't help but be aware that their majorities in the U.S. House and in many statehouses are inflated at best, wholly artificial at worst,” said Carolyn Fiddler, communications director for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the Washington group that coordinates among statehouse races and is also a partner in the NDRC. “A coordinated effort among Democrats to prevent another round of GOP gerrymandering is Republicans' worst nightmare for the long-term health of their party.”
I'm really hoping they're successful. If the country as a whole is generally more liberal, why are conservatives in charge in the majority of states' legislatures? Why do they hold more governorships? Why do they control the U.S. House and Senate?

If the voting maps were drawn fairly, more fairness would permeate the system as a whole. Here is a graphical representation of the issue:

Full article here.

And this quick search on Google shows the craziness of the current system. Check it out.

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