What They’re Saying: Census Data Will Force Republicans To Draw More Egregious Gerrymanders
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For Immediate Release:
Washington, DC – With the Census Bureau releasing its national population data last week, the rest of the redistricting process will play out state by state. Just a brief glance at the census data shows the United States is increasingly diverse and more people are living in suburban and urban areas than ever before. This dynamic scares the Republican party, which is why they are expected to manipulate the maps and, in their words, ”secure a decade of power” through redistricting, not through the voters.
Republicans know they are out of step with the voters and not in line with where this country is going and growing, which is exactly why they have to gerrymander. That’s why at NDRC we are working hard in the states to make sure people understand what a fair map and fair process should look like.
In case you missed it, here is a look at some of the coverage…
MSNBC: The Rachel Maddow Show
“The numbers that we saw today show that the country is younger. It’s more diverse. It’s more urban. It’s more suburban. It’s less rural. Those numbers should be used in a way that comes up with representative democracy in both our state legislatures as well as the United States House of Representatives. And the way to do that is to ban partisan and racial gerrymandering…” – Attorney General Holder
NowThis: How New Census Data Will Impact the Future of U.S. Politics
“It’s not an exaggeration to say that the next decade of our politics is on the line in this country and the redistricting that we will see happen over the next few months will set the stage for Congress and our state legislative bodies for the next decade. And what we saw with the Republican gerrymandering of the last decade is that when those congressional seats and state legislative chambers are gerrymandered it really does have an impact on the policymaking that we see from our government.” – Kelly Burton, President of NDRC
Politico: Weekly Score
EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN TEXAS — Texas is still in the midst of a tense battle over elections legislation. But the next fight is just around the corner: redistricting. The Lone Star State will gain two congressional seats this cycle. Republicans control the redistricting process, which is handled by the state legislature and governor.
Advocates say the state’s new congressional districts should be in or near Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth due to population growth in those areas.
“There’s simply no way for them to add two more GOP seats in Texas without racially gerrymandering based on this Census Data. They can try it and we will see them in court,” National Democratic Redistricting Committee President Kelly Ward Burton told Score in an email.
The chair of the state redistricting committee and the National Republican Redistricting Trust didn’t respond to requests for comment.
LA Times: U.S. population has become more diverse, 2020 census shows as redistricting frenzy begins
“It’s clearly a favorable situation for Democrats,” said William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, pointing to the growth in urban and suburban areas, which tilt blue, as do people of color, whose numbers are growing. Republicans tend to do best among rural residents and white voters, both of which saw declines.
Axios: Charted: Dem Advantage
Why it matters: The first results of the 2020 census are a balm for Democrats anxious about Republican gerrymandering efforts.
Between the lines: Some of the fastest-growing counties in the last decade are near blue cities in red states — like Hays and Comal counties in Texas and Bryan County, Georgia.
Meanwhile, almost all of the shrinking counties are moving toward Republicans, Claire Low, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee’s targeting and analytics director, told Axios.
“If the maps are fair, Democrats will gain seats,” NDRC president Kelly Burton told Axios.
The trends in Texas, where Republicans control redistricting, “basically makes the gerrymanders uglier and more complex,” Texas Civil Rights Project staff attorney Joaquin Gonzalez told Axios.
POLITICO: Redistricting sprint begins with major census data drop
Any additional Voting Rights Act-protected seats in those states would help grow Democrats’ footprint in the South. The first step for Democratic groups is a pressure campaign to urge those state legislatures to voluntarily create new districts. If that fails, the NDRC plans to make the case in court.
“When a judge wants to move fast, they can,” Ward Burton said. “And judges during redistricting, on net for the most part, want to land the plane.”
NY Times: As Congress Recesses, Democratic Successes Do Not Include Voting Rights
“They are going to try to use the redistricting process to draw themselves into the majority, not only in the House of Representatives but the state legislatures,” said Eric H. Holder Jr., the former attorney general who leads the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.
Mr. Holder said that as long as Congress passed legislation outlawing the practice by the fall, Democrats could probably use the courts to stop the new maps. If not, he suggested Republicans might be correct when they spoke of locking in “a decade of power.”
“That’s what’s at stake,” he said.
NY Times: Let the Gerrymandering (and the Legal Battles) Begin
Mindful of the calendar, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a group founded by former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., has already begun litigating in Louisiana, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.
Kelly Ward Burton, the group’s president, said it was not about to wait. “If and when they gerrymander, which we expect them to, we will be ready to sue them,” she said. “We will use all of the legal tools at our disposal, which is everything from federal litigation to state-based litigation based on state law.”
The Hill: Democrats look to state courts as redistricting battle heats up
Thirty different state constitutions include some form of requirement that elections be “free” or “fair,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“The intent of the law is clear in those states, and the judges should follow them. And we will fight for that,” said Kelly Burton, the president of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which was founded by former Attorney General Eric Holder and has supported redistricting lawsuits.
The power of an effective court strategy bore out in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, where the combined six-seat swing toward Democrats more than accounts for the party’s current five-seat House advantage. But Democrats will be fighting tooth and nail to fight redistricting maneuvers that alone could hand Republicans the majority before even considering existing swing seats.
“It ends up being about a net gain of a dozen or so for Republicans if they take the most aggressive route that is before them, which, given what they’ve done in the 2011 cycle on, and given everything that Republican officials have been saying, I don’t think there’s any sense that they won’t take full advantage of this process everywhere that they can,” Daley said.
Miami Herald: High stakes redistricting process to start. Will Florida redeem bruised reputation?
Florida is expected to gain one additional seat in Congress because of population growth, and a small shift in its 28-member congressional delegation alone could alter the partisan balance in the U.S. House. Democrats have such a narrow majority in Congress that a five-seat shift would give Republicans the majority.
Both parties are watching it carefully, with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, chaired by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, hiring a Florida director to focus on monitoring the process and getting people to realize the role competitive districts have on policy.
“If you get a gerrymandered legislature, you can pass things that are inconsistent to desires of your constituents and not face any political consequences,’’ Holder said in an interview.
Holder said that partisan gerrymandering often takes its greatest toll on communities of color because maps can be drawn to pack communities into a single district, or dividing them substantially, diluting their influence to give the party that controls redistricting an advantage.
Colorado Sun: Colorado’s population grew at twice the national rate between 2010 and 2020. Here’s where the boom was biggest.
Some of the counties that saw significant growth also have significant and growing Latino communities, including Adams at 41.7% and Weld at 29.9%, according to the new numbers.
That’s also where the preliminary draft map places the new 8th Congressional District, said Marco Dorado, Colorado state director for All on the Line, a group affiliated with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.
The growing Latino population in that area is “something that can’t be overlooked, and it’s a consideration that both commissions need to dive deeper into understanding,” Dorado said.
Bridge Michigan: Census losses could squeeze northern Michigan, Detroit as redistricting begins
On Thursday, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, chaired by former Democratic U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, asked the commission to consider nixing a district from the “northern central Michigan.”
“The lost seat should come from this area, allowing the surrounding districts to grow naturally and absorb the lost district,” the group said in a statement, while adding the commission should protect the state’s African-American and Arab-American populations from being all placed in one district to dilute their electoral power.
“Michigan is a competitive state and a fair congressional map will reflect the slight Democratic lean of its voters as a whole,: said Kelly Burton, the president of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. “The map should also reflect the growing number of people of color who call Michigan home.”
The Center Square: Census bureau delivers data, Wisconsin begins process of drawing new political map
The long and likely court-intensive process of drawing Wisconsin’s next political map is underway. Republicans control the Wisconsin legislature and will, for the most part, control the map drawing process. Though there is an expectation Democrats and voting advocates will file lawsuits to challenge the Republican map.
On Thursday, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee warned lawmakers to draw maps that it finds acceptable.
“For too long Wisconsinites have had to reside in one of the most gerrymandered states in the country. With the release of the U.S. Census Data, we now have the opportunity to change that and draw new maps,” NRDC Wisconsin Director Elizabeth Treviño said.