Gerrymandering is so unfair when one party does the exact same thing, according to the press!
It has been a running gag that the media have been exhibiting a bit of duality in regards to the concept of drawing new voting districts in states. Following the 2020 census, states are tasked with reconfiguring how the representative areas are sketched out. Often, the work falls to the party in control of the state legislature, and in the news organizations, they see the nefarious shenanigans taking place – when it concerns the Republican Party.
Once the process began in many states, the bleating from journalists was apparent, and they had the perfect foundation with which to frame things. Coming off of a number of “controversial” new voting laws put into place in states like Georgia – and of course, the ever-present Big Lie – GOP redistricting becomes yet another alleged tool used to violate voting rights. In order to sell this hysteria, of course, we are required to ignore two fundamental facts: Redistricting has always taken place, and it is something BOTH parties engage in.
You would be shocked by those details if you relied upon media coverage. See, anywhere the Republicans are in the process of tracing new borders it is considered concerning news. CNN paints the dire picture:
Thanks to creatively partisan drawing of congressional maps after the 2020 census, the GOP is already poised to flip multiple House seats from blue to red. Republicans are on the road to juicing the historical advantage enjoyed by an out-of-power party in the midterm elections.
I just gasped so loud I scared the dog! At the always sane MSNBC, they also draw up the nightmare scenario. Not only are Republicans using redistricting to their advantage, but there are a few bills in Congress to battle against this nefarious practice, and wouldn’t you know it, these are being threatened by the equally vile filibuster!
And at the New York Times, they also lay out the venality taking place.
Republicans are already poised to flip at least five seats in the closely divided House thanks to redrawn district maps that are more distorted, more disjointed and more gerrymandered than any since the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965.
Those dastardly GOP political cartographers are ruining everything! But what is most revealing is that in selling this fable of democratic doom at the hands of manipulative mapmakers they have to completely bypass that Democrats are currently engaged in the exact same activity. Somehow, those surveyors on the left are not cast in the same negative fashion; Democrats redistricting the states they run are excused from accusations of undermining the republic.
In the Blue-run state of Illinois, they are recutting precincts and in so doing they have managed to eliminate the district of one notable Republican. After more than a year glomming TV lenses to cater to the Democrats Rep. Adam Kinzinger has seen his district eliminated as a reward for his dutiful service. The political ramifications of this are only seen as positive in the press.
In another state, Democrats have been eagerly rearranging the deck chairs but there is a sound reason the press is not covering that energetically. Over in Nevada, the Dems have screwed that process up. First, they are trying to have inmates reassessed in population counts by their address prior to incarceration, a move meant to strengthen certain areas with higher numbers. This has, instead, managed to throw a monkey wrench into the already operating process. Then they redrew maps in such a way that they actually harmed incumbents.
In California, the historically navy blue state is redrawing things for a slightly different reason. So many residents have fled in recent years that the state lost a congressional seat, but they also are looking to boost the Dems’ numbers in Washington, in the face of not only the usual mid-term opposition party gains but what is suspected to be a massive red wave next November. Note how these moves are considered to be “terrific” for Democrats, in glowing prose.
NEW: California's near-final draft map looks terrific for Dems. All 42 Dem incumbents (except retiring Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D), whose Long Beach seat is folded in w/ LA Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D)'s), get strong seats.
Meanwhile, *five* of 11 GOP seats get more vulnerable. pic.twitter.com/EUAtN2SRsI
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) December 20, 2021
The real revelation is that no one is pretending the Democrats are making these adjustments for any reason apart from the same reasons the Republicans are scorched over – strengthening their hold on state power. Here is the best example of the dichotomy in play: In California, they are targeting districts based on ethnic demographics.
The most obvious, overriding aim of this map: create more Latino majority districts. Even though CA is losing a seat for the first time since statehood, there are 18/52 seats w/ 50%+ Latino voting age populations in this draft, up *five* from the 13/53 on the current map.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) December 20, 2021
This move, however, is not condemned. But then we see, according to another New York Times piece by the same two writers on the subject, the GOP making similar moves towards racial representation is reprehensible.
Black elected officials in several states, from Congress down to the counties, have been drawn out of their districts this year or face headwinds to hold onto their seats.
The press cannot even pretend anymore that objectivity is in their job description. When only one party is guilty of unethical behavior enacted by both, you can easily see how most newsrooms in the country are also gerrymandered districts.