Liberals Take Down Their Own Party’s Gerrymandering Scheme (This Is What Integrity Looks Like)

Gerrymandering draws a lot of ire from liberals, but is that just because conservatives have been more successful at it? If, say, the Democratic Party were to concoct a partisan plan to gerrymander a state, would lefties suddenly go quiet, expecting to benefit from such shenanigans?

Refreshingly, the answer appears to be no. That scenario I posed isn’t just a hypothetical: this month, Democratic leaders in New Jersey devised a plan to give themselves a lot more power in the redistricting process, but feverish outcry from activists put the kibosh on the scheme.

Better yet, it wasn’t conservatives – who almost certainly would be the real losers of that plan – who did the thwarting. Instead it was progressives who petitioned, protested and otherwise sounded the alarm on what they viewed as future election theft. Their outrage was sufficient to get the Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin to abandon their plans.

Before we get any further, let’s look at how the redistricting process is currently handled. New Jersey is in the (smart) minority of states that doesn’t give legislators the power to draw its own legislative maps. Rather, Dems and Republicans each select five representatives apiece to serve on the committee, and the Supreme Court appoints a nonpartisan individual to break ties as necessary… and it’s pretty much always necessary.

Admittedly, the existing system is “imperfect” because, as Slate describes, typically each party presents a map favorable to its own interests and the nonpartisan tiebreaker chooses whichever map seems less unfair. At least that setup stops either party from going overboard knowing it’s more likely a map with only slight biases will get approved.

The Democrats wanted to move committee appointment power directly to members of the NJ Senate, Assembly speaker and minority leaders (two picks apiece.) By getting legislators’ direct friends and allies involved in the process, that’s a recipe for not just partisan redistricting, but to specifically carve out safe districts for incumbents.

Further, the proposed redistricting amendment would have established that half of the state’s districts be “competitive,” which might sound good if not for the very loose definition of the word competitive. Districts with even up to a 61/39 percent partisan split (considered a safe seat by nearly any other standard) would still qualify as competitive and Dems would have the ability to rig a map that could safely give them a supermajority in the legislatures.

It could also blow up in Democrats’s faces. They may have power now, but this country alternates between red waves and blues waves, so if conservatives happened to regain seats in New Jersey right around map-making time, this same system could potentially be used to make it easy for Republicans to hold on to power indefinitely.

Honestly, the Democrats in charge of the legislatures, Sweeney and Coughlin, are pretty shady. Previously, they supported a progressive minimum wage bill, but now that they have a governor in power who will actually support it, they’ve backtracked and resolved to water it down in favor of corporate interests. You definitely don’t want these guys being able to choose who draws the maps.

So good on the state’s progressives for making a fuss and getting the majority leaders to ditch their gerrymandering amendment. It’s further proof that liberals are sincere in their beliefs, and candidates that compromise their values are going to catch heat for not representing them. Liberal voters hold themselves to higher standards and hypocritical Democratic politicians better learn that lesson quick before it costs them any elections.

47 comments

Louise A
Louise A26 days ago

Thank you for sharing

SEND
Emma L
Emma Labout a month ago

thank you for posting

SEND
Kevin B
Kevin B1 months ago

tyfs

SEND
Lisa M
Lisa M2 months ago

Thanks.

SEND
Lisa M
Lisa M2 months ago

Thanks.

SEND
Lisa M
Lisa M2 months ago

Thanks.

SEND
Lisa M
Lisa M2 months ago

Thanks.

SEND
Chad A
Chad Anderson2 months ago

Thank you.

SEND
Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E2 months ago

brian f
Speaking of trolls !!
The difference IS, brian, that I don't profess to be more intelligent than those you mention. Unlike YOU, I am free thinking and don't need to rely on others to make my point.
You just went down in credibility AGAIN and really look desperate !!

SEND
Brian F
Brian F2 months ago

Rhoberta E Every major progressive like Noam Chomsky, Jimmy Dore, Glenn Greenwald, Abby Martin, Jarmarl Thomas, Kyle Kylinski and many others agree with me. These people are clearly more intelligent than a troll like you.

SEND