Voters Should Pick Their Representatives (or, How the GOP got it backwards)
On June 19th, the Supreme Court announced it would consider a landmark case out of Wisconsin that could curb the Republican gerrymandering that plagues our democracy. It couldn’t come soon enough: The very next day, GOP gerrymandering thwarted Democrats Jon Ossoff and Archie Parnell in their attempts to flip two longstanding Republican congressional districts. The direct connection between statehouses — where these maps are drawn — and the outcomes of our national elections couldn’t be more clear.
While state Democrats have already flipped two seats and overperformed in almost every special election since Trump’s inauguration, congressional Democrats in red states are still facing the devastating aftermath of 2010 redistricting. The Red Wave of 2010 gave Republicans statehouse control in Alabama, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, and maintained their grip on Florida and Texas. What do these states have in common? They’ve all since had their congressional and legislative maps struck down as unconstitutional.
Most of these GOP maps were struck down because they illegally disenfranchised people of color to benefit Republicans, but the Wisconsin case offers SCOTUS an opportunity to restrain Republicans’ use of gerrymandering on partisan grounds. Archie Parnell’s close race for South Carolina’s 5th Congressional district is a direct example of why this attack on democracy must be stopped — the race came down to just three percent but when redrawing the lines in 2011, Republican legislators gifted future GOP candidates with a four percent advantage in South Carolina CD-05.
And that’s the whole point: Voters should pick their representatives, not the other way around. Republicans spent an exorbitant amount of money to rig a decade of elections, and now we need to rebalance the playing field if we’re going to repair our democracy. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) remains committed to expanding Democratic influence in states — we launched Advantage 2020 to provide Democrats with the tools needed to retake statehouse majorities and win the redistricting battle.
SCOTUS will deliberate the Wisconsin case in its next session and a ruling is expected in October. No matter how SCOTUS rules, Democrats nationwide are well-equipped to win at the state level and fight for fair elections.
Jessica Post is the Executive Director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.