Fighting the gerrymander

Marc Elias, the voting rights warrior who, with his group of litigators, smack immediate lawsuits on any state screwing around with their redistricting maps, sent this item today on his weekly Democracy Docket report on our monumental voting rights battle. (You can subscribe to his free reports.)

I picked this one out particularly because it’s Tennessee:

Tennessee — Lawmakers approved a congressional map that carves up Nashville, which now awaits the signature of Gov. Bill Lee (R). The new map divides the 5th District, represented by Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper, between the neighboring whiter and rural 6th and 7th Districts. The proposed map cuts the share of Black residents in the 5th District from 24% to 11% and has been criticized for “weakening the voting power of the region’s economic powerhouse and the city’s black community.” Facing an unwinnable district, Cooper announced on Tuesday that he will not seek re-election, concluding his 32 years in office.

I’m still furious that John Roberts called a brilliantly rational method for a-political districting in Wisconsin “gobbledegook.”

But now that we’re at the decade marker for redistricting without voting rights legislation, I’m feeling rather fierce about it. Elias is suing my state, New York, for what its legislature is doing with its redistricting map. Elias is absolutely right. Yet I want New York to gerrymander the fuck out of my state, given that the state legislature has the power to do it on behalf of the Democrats.

Contradiction? I’m OK with both cheering on Elias and New York’s potentially weighted electoral map.

Because, until the voting rights bills now stalled in the Senate are passed and create a nation-wide law banning gerrymandering, I think as long as Tennessee’s GOP can remove Jim Cooper’s Nashville district from its map, all Democratic-majority states which have the capacity to re-draw Republican-leaning districts should do it.

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