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Republicans' New Court-Blessed Election Maps Turn North Carolina Into Mississippi, Goddamn!
This ain't democracy.
You might wonder how Republicans can possibly maintain their already slim House majority when they are so incompetent they can’t even elect a speaker. Well, that’s easy. They just plan to cheat. Republicans long ago abandoned functional democracy and are now manufacturing the illusion of consent. They’ll let (some of) you vote for all the good it’ll do.
Last week, Republican legislators in North Carolina released their proposed redistricting map that would likely wipe out four Democratic-held seats in the US House. Democrats Jeff Jackson from Charlotte, Wiley Nickel in Raleigh, and Kathy Manning from the Greensboro area would all suddenly find themselves in “almost impossible to win” districts, according to Chris Cooper, a political science professor and redistricting expert at Western Carolina University.
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North Carolina Supreme Court's New GOP Majority Calls 'Do Over' On Past Voting Rights Rulings GOP Lost
Just before 5 p.m. last Wednesday, I got a phone call from my chief of staff. He cut to the chase: “You just got nuked.” He was right. The new congressional maps had been released and a quick glance revealed that my time in Congress now had a firm expiration date.
The Republican-controlled North Carolina Senate, after careful review and rounds of diabolical laughter, advanced the maps on Monday. One of the most extreme partisan gerrymanders, the new map replaces the previous court-drawn one that went right down the middle in 2022 (seven Republicans to seven Democrats). That breakdown more suitably represents what is technically a swing state. Instead, the new map produces 10 safely Republican seats, three (!) Democratic seats, and just one “swing” seat in a district that’s trending Republican.
Those 10 solid Republicans are especially frightening, as the only “election” that will matter is the primary and the representatives will march in lockstep to MAGA. These partisan gerrymanders don’t simply create easy seats for “almost respectable” Republicans. No, they’re sending more Marjorie Taylor Greenes and James Comers to the House, which will in turn grow more radicalized and dysfunctional. Democrats can’t keep Congress’s pants up by themselves.
North Carolina Republicans are also neutralizing the political power of people who live in cities. Jackson, Nickel, and Manning currently represent three of the most populous cities in the state. This map advances permanent minority rule in open defiance of the people’s will. Donald Trump carried North Carolina in 2020 by 1.35 percent, while incumbent Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper won re-election by a four-point margin. Democrat Cheri Beasley lost the 2022 US Senate race — during a midterm election that was promoted as a “red wave” — by less than three percentage points. Republicans are politically terraforming the state into South Carolina.
Unfortunately, Democrats will find it harder to win statewide if Democrats have few opportunities to win local elected office. Turncoat Democrat Tricia Cotham’s recent party switch is far less mysterious now. (Just wait for her to run for one of those “safe” Republican House seats.)
Republicans flipped control of the North Carolina Supreme Court last November and it’s now effectively a rubber stamp for the Republican-controlled Legislature. The new court reversed the previous court’s ruling rejecting gerrymandered, anti-democratic maps, so there’s no stopping this monstrosity.
Cooper, the Western Carolina University political scientist, perhaps inadvertently describes the contempt that Republicans hold for democracy:
“The Republicans have the power to draw the lines,” he said. “They feel emboldened because they have a Republican majority in the state Supreme Court, and these maps — at least at this early stage — seem to reflect that.”
Democrats win elections and advance policies that they believe will help everyone. Republicans win elections and make sure that no one can ever remove them from power again.
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