Republicans in North Carolina are shocked, shocked that anyone would think there is blatant racial and political partisan gerrymandering in the disgraceful district maps they just passed through a party line vote.
Never mind the model of dividing blue-leaning urban areas into pieces that effectively dilute the voting power of blacks and Democrats.
Never mind the slicing and dicing of the counties of Guilford, Wake and Mecklenburg each into three districts.
Never mind the calculated division of Greensboro into two districts, the greater part of which is attached to a strongly conservative district that extends to Banner Elk, the hometown of Republican Representative Virginia Foxx. Her nest would be stocked with a comfortable GOP majority while pushing first-term Democratic Rep. Kathy Manning of Greensboro into a district that is virtually impossible to win. (Manning District currently contains most of Forsyth County and all of Guilford.)
Meanwhile, a district containing Winston-Salem and Forsyth County would also include more rural areas, from Yadkin County to southern Lincoln County, again favoring Republican candidates.
Divide and conquer. Stack the bridge. Load the dice. And then shrug your shoulders and feign ignorance every time someone calls you.
If the cards stay as they are, Republicans would likely win 10 or 11 of the state’s 14 congressional seats in a roughly evenly divided state that Donald Trump won by 1.3 percentage points in 2020. On of these 14, only one is considered very competitive. .
The cards will also erode the voting power of minorities, in an increasingly diverse state. As NC Policy Watch notes, more than half a dozen black lawmakers in the General Assembly could lose their seats if the new cards are upheld.
The Princeton Gerrymandering Project, which analyzes maps of districts across the country, gave Guilford, Wake and Mecklenburg maps an overall “F” rating for districts blatantly tilting in favor of Republican candidates.
Beyond the obvious injustice of all of this, there is the serious damage it does to representative government. One of the reasons the country is as fiercely divided as it is today, and Congress rarely does much, is extremism encouraged by highly partisan districts. Moderation becomes a capital sin, punishable by a main opponent of the far left or the far right.
Meanwhile, Republicans are fully aware that this Game of Thrones blatantly violates what they claim to be their fundamentals: succeed on its merits and let “the market” drive the results.
Obviously, they don’t believe they can win a fair fight in pretty drawn districts, so why have one? Why even pretend to create a level playing field when affirmative action for Republican candidates is so much easier?
Fittingly, the cards will be challenged in court. The latter was tabled on Wednesday by a coalition led by the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters.
To be clear, two can play this game. And they do. Democrats are pushing gerrymandered districts in Illinois, Maryland, New York and Oregon. They did the same in North Carolina for decades when they controlled the legislature.
But Republicans are now the party at fault in North Carolina, and their ruthless efficiency has taken gerrymandering to new heights – or depths, depending on how you see it.
As for doing the right thing, what does the law have to do with that?
It’s about power, pure and simple, and keeping it … by any means necessary. It is the people of the state who will have to suffer.
Today’s editorial is from the Winston-Salem Journal. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of this newspaper.