Report says new documents show years-long Republican Party scheme to “gerrymander America” and undermine Democracy
February 07, 2018
Chronicle news & opinion
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(NATIONAL) – Something happened in 2009 in Nashville that changed the face of American politics and how and when and where your vote matters.
On Monday, June 8th of that year at a Republican Legislative Campaign Committee’s national meeting, a man named Thomas Hofeller “unveiled the audacious strategy that would soon transform American politics,” according to a new report by Salon.com.
The report says Hofeller, the “master GOP mapmaker...delivered a presentation called “Redistricting 2010: Preparing for Success.”
And what he presented that day, for the first time before Republican state legislators, explains, says the story, “Why the Republican Party now dominates all levels of American politics despite a polarized and closely divided electorate that generally tends to favor Democrats. It was the GOP strategy to reinvent the gerrymander.”
Items from the report:
…….The Republican gerrymandering scheme has been so successful that for there to be a “blue wave” in the 2018 mid term elections, that wave will have to overcome “a red seawall that was exactingly designed beginning a decade ago and has proven impermeable in state after state ever since.” For example: even in Virginia last November, Democrats won nearly a quarter of a million more votes than Republicans — and it still wasn’t enough to overcome “district lines rigged to guarantee the GOP a built-in advantage.”
…….In Alabama, where Doug Jones recently became the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate in decades, disgraced GOP candidate Roy Moore still carried six of the state’s seven gerrymandered congressional districts.
…….Those kinds of results — Democrats winning more votes, Republicans holding more seats — have become almost commonplace this decade and it is not, says the report, a coincidence.
…….The “visionaries” at that Republican State Leadership Committee, who designed the strategy called REDMAP, short for Redistricting Majority Project, designed “an audacious and revolutionary plan to wield the gerrymander as a tool to lock in conservative governance of state legislatures and Congress.”
…….How successful has it been? Republicans held the U.S. House in 2012, despite earning 1.4 million fewer votes than Democratic congressional candidates, and won large GOP majorities in the Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina state legislatures even when more voters backed Democrats.
…….The report says new court documents, previously unrevealed emails “and once-secret internal documents — most revealed here for the first time — uncover how early the Republican planning began, how comprehensive the redistricting strategy was and how determined conservative operatives were to dye America red from the ground up. It’s the story of how strategists wooed deep-pocketed donors to contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars (often in untraceable dark money) and convinced them that winning state legislative seats offered the best opportunity for enduring GOP control at a bargain-basement price.”
If you want to understand what’s been happening under the noses of most American voters, and why in many states your vote may not matter much anymore because of a scheme that has thrown a monkey-wrench into the American democratic process, this report here may be the most important political story you’ll read this year.