Democrats are working to gerrymander themselves into permanent control in Washington, D.C.
Just this week, former President Barack Obama sent out an email announcing his new Redistricting U.
At the end of the email, the former president writes: “The movement for fair maps will determine the course of progress on every issue we care about for the next decade. And we can’t wait to begin organizing when the redistricting process starts in 2021. We need to build this movement from the ground up - right now.”
Mr. Obama and his former Attorney General Eric Holder have been working on redistricting for years. They’ve raised more than $250 million to spend on litigation, data and other related strategies. And we hear that they are aiming to raise $400 million.
Others on the left are getting in on the redistricting issue, too. Hillary Clinton shared an email this week saying: “Our friends at the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, an Onward Together grantee, have a plan to combat map manipulation by targeting 16 state legislative chambers and three gubernatorial races in 2019-2020 cycle.”
The focus of the left on redistricting is almost cult-like. They seem totally convinced that the only way that Republicans got into office was through gerrymandering. They obsess with this issue — putting up yard signs demanding “fair maps,” holding rallies and posting all over social media.
Their argument is weak on several fronts.
First, Republicans won in federal, state and local races all across America in 2010. In most states, the maps were drawn either by Democrats in the state legislature or by courts after the 2000 census. For example, Democrats controlled both legislative chambers and the governorship in Wisconsin going into the 2010 elections.
Voters in Wisconsin — and many other states — wanted a real change after two years of Democrats controlling everything from the presidency to both houses of Congress — as well as controlling state government. In Wisconsin, unemployment peaked at 9.3 percent in 2010 and the state was facing a $3.6 billion structural deficit by the end of 2010.
Republicans got elected because voters were upset with the fiscal and economic crisis at the time. They stayed in office because our common-sense conservative ideas worked.
Second, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee that is run by Eric Holder, funded by Barack Obama and now supported by Hillary Clinton is a completely partisan organization. They claim to be fighting “against gerrymandering” and for “fair maps,” but the facts show a very different story.
The form filed with the Internal Revenue Code for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (form 990 “Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax”) shows that the organization’s mission is to “FAVORABLY POSITION DEMOCRATS FOR THE REDISTRICTING PROCESS.” These are the exact words on the form filed with the federal government.
Third, the principle argument used by Democrats in the courts and in media is flawed. Just because statewide elections are close does not mean that there should be an equal number of legislative districts.
In Wisconsin, a large number of the votes cast for Democratic candidates come from urban areas like Milwaukee and Madison. In many of the legislative districts in these areas, there is often no Republican running for office. Democratic candidates in these areas — for legislative office as well as statewide offices — win by huge margins.
While votes cast in these cities count the same as any other vote in a statewide election, they are not spread out at the same level across the state. Just because Democratic voters are packed into cities like Madison does not mean that they will be reflected in similar numbers around the state. To be constitutionally sound, maps should ensure that the districts are equal in size, protect the Voting Rights Act and ideally they keep communities of interest intact.
Finally, the left is obsessed with redistricting because they are obsessed with power. Their mission says it all: “FAVORABLY POSITION DEMOCRATS FOR THE REDISTRICTING PROCESS.”
Ironically, the same guy who says he wants to end “politicians drawing their own districts” did just that in the spring of 2001. As part of a 2008 profile in The New Yorker on candidate Barack Obama, Ryan Lizza wrote about the then-state senator entering “the inner sanctum” during the redistricting process in Illinois:
“On the screens that spring day were detailed maps of Chicago, and Obama and a Democratic consultant named John Corrigan sat in front of a terminal to draw Obama a new district.”
Mr. Lizza went on to write: “The partisan redistricting of Illinois may have been the most important event in Obama’s early political life. It immediately gave him the two things he needed to run for the Senate in 2004: money and power.”
Mr. Obama is still fighting for the same things today. Which is exactly why Republicans need to wake up and fight back — before they find that they are out in the cold for the next decade.
• Scott Walker was the 45th governor of Wisconsin. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him @ScottWalker.