Extreme Gerrymandering In Ohio Called Out

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CNN’s Reality Check w/John Avlon did a segment(11/19/21) featuring an extreme gerrymandering case currently playing out in Ohio. Back in 2018, Ohio voters overwhelmingly backed(75%) an amendment to the state’s constitution that would ensure redistricting was carried out in a bipartisan fashion. Ohio’s congressional district maps were to be drawn by a bipartisan 7-member redistricting commission. The idea behind a bipartisan redistricting commission was quite simple–to create competitive district maps which would in turn reduce political polarization. Basically, politicians will shy away from radical ideas/conduct if they know they can be easily beaten at the polls.

Well, it turns out Ohio Republicans have since reneged on their support for a bipartisan redistricting commission, and are now using the Republican-led state legislature to come up with an extremely gerrymandered map, one that will give them a 13-2 advantage in congressional seats(86%R-14%D), even though Trump’s 2020 win in Ohio was only 53%-45%. No reasonable person would ever conclude that Ohio is an 86R-14D state, yet this is exactly what the new congressional map being pushed by state Republicans attempts to achieve–a total fraud and willful disenfranchisement of Democratic-leaning voters.

Even more repugnant is the way the Republican-led Ohio state legislature ended up being responsible for drawing the congressional maps. According to John Avlon, Republican members of the bipartisan redistricting commission simply refused to show up for duty, thereby crippling the commission because it was unable to convene meetings. With the bipartisan commission deliberately crippled, the redistricting job fell back to the partisan Ohio legislature, which drew the extremely gerrymandered map–a sad state of affairs indeed.

John Avlon said: “Ohio Republicans just decided to disregard the state constitution and the will of the voters. A seven-member redistricting commission had a month to work on a fair map, but Republican members refused to participate, and so the commission couldn’t convene. The power to draw the lines fell back to the Republican-controlled state assembly, who proceeded to do exactly what the constitutional amendment forbade. They cracked and packed minority communities, dividing counties and cities for their own partisan advantage. For example, Hamilton County, home to Cincinnati, which voted for[President] Biden by a 16-point margin, will be divided into 3 congressional districts, with Black voters offset by White Republicans.”

This is just the latest example of how state Republicans are actively disenfranchising Democratic-leaning/minority voters while Democrats in Washington are still dithering over abolishing the filibuster, and coming up with a federal voting rights law. A federal voting rights law is the only solution to the rampant GOP gerrymandering.

Bottom line folks, time is of the essence. Democrats need to abolish the filibuster immediately and pass a federal voting rights law. The two Senate holdouts, Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, must be confronted with this troubling Ohio gerrymandering case, and be forced to explain why a filibuster carve out for a federal voting legislation is not the appropriate way to go, given the dire circumstances.

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You may reach the author via email at administrator@grassrootsdempolitics.com or author@emolumentsclause.com

GOP Subverting Democracy In Wisconsin

This week we’ve seen very troubling news reports from Wisconsin indicating that state GOP lawmakers in response to the great performance by Democrats in the recently concluded elections, have literally resorted to subverting democracy by hurriedly enacting legislation that limits the powers of the incoming Democratic Governor and Attorney General. 

Think about that folks, Wisconsinites went to the polls in record numbers in November 2018 and overwhelmingly endorsed the Democratic party’s agenda, including electing a Democrat as Governor and immediately thereafter, Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature moved to restrict the powers of the incoming Governor– in essence negating the people’s will. 

Because this patently undemocratic and arguably unconstitutional conduct by Republicans in Wisconsin is already the subject of widespread mainstream media coverage, Yours Truly will not bore you by repeating the same arguments already made by the mainstream media but instead stick to what we do best at grassrootsdempolitics.com–naming and shaming the GOP

Media reports indicate that the Wisconsin Senate voted 17-16 (one Republican siding with Dems)  to among other undemocratic things, restrict the powers of the incoming Democratic Governor. Listed above are the said 17 Wisconsin State Senators behind behind this patently undemocratic move. See  if you recognize any of these shameful Wisconsin state GOP Senators and spread the word. 

Bottom line we cannot allow elected officials, regardless of political party to brazenly subvert the will of the people as they are doing in Wisconsin. Where, as here, the people have clearly spoken(voted for a Democratic Governor) the people’s choice must be allowed to carry out his/her mandate without being hindered by some underhanded lame-duck session shenanigans. Our democracy is too mature for that

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out. 

GOP Set To Reward Gerrymandering Mastermind With Federal Judgeship

Thomas Alvin Farr–Nominee for Federal Judge for the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina

In case you missed it earlier this week, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reported on a plan by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell(R-KY) and his fellow GOP Senators to reward a North Carolina Republican lawyer, Thomas Alvin Farr, with a lifetime federal judgeship. According to Maddow, the Senate vote is scheduled for Monday after Thanksgiving(Nov 26). The full Maddow segment is available here but the relevant clip is below.

As Maddow correctly pointed out, Thomas Farr is the author of the racially gerrymandered North Carolina electoral map that a federal appeals court struck down for “targeting African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

Thomas Farr’s racially gerrymandered electoral map was struck down by a federal appeals court

It is because of Thomas Farr’s racially gerrymandered maps that electoral travesties like the one below are commonplace in North Carolina. In other words, no matter how well Democrats perform in elections, the GOP is assured control of the North Carolina legislature.

The effects of Thomas Farr’s gerrymandering in North Carolina

So while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is out there preaching bipartisanship now that the Democrats have taken over the House, behind the scenes and away from the limelight he is sticking true to form, packing the federal courts with radical right-wing judges with total disregard to the wishes of Senate Democrats.

Bottom line now that Democrats control the House, Senate Democrats must force concessions on some of these judicial nominees. Senate Democrats must make it absolutely clear to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Senate Republicans that rewarding Thomas farr with a lifetime federal judgeship despite his well-chronicled history of racial gerrymandering will make it impossible for bipartisan cooperation on other issues of importance. Simply put, Senate Dems must confront Sen Mitch McConnell on his phony call for bipartisanship right after the November elections.

For those of you very happy with @Emolclause’s activism don’t shy away from the “tip jar” below on your way out