Virginia Democratic Gov. elect Ralph Northam addresses supporters and at the Northam For Governor election night party at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017. Northam defeated Republican Ed Gillespie. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
If you thought Democrats were going to content themselves with complaining about social media ad buys and letting progressive nihilists like Antifa speak for them in an effort to stop Trump, you’ve not been paying attention.
In fact, the recent wins in Virginia — where Democrats effectively turned the state blue — were all part of a calculated plan to gerrymander states that had district maps that favored Republicans. And that effort began quietly two years ago led by none other than former Attorney General Eric Holder.
Holder created The National Democratic Redistricting Committee in 2017 with a plan to begin suing states that they alleged were racially gerrymandered, and flushing those states with cash to win Supreme Court seats that would redraw those district maps in 2020.
And it worked perfectly in Virginia without anyone really commenting much on it at all.
The NDRC claims its efforts are aimed at simple “fairness in the electoral system.” It says it’s working to overturn gerrymanders that “disenfranchise” voters. Don’t be fooled. Mr. Holder’s group has never engaged in blue states where Democrats routinely draw maps to disadvantage Republicans, such as Maryland, Massachusetts or New Jersey.
The NDRC is instead the Democratic version of the GOP’s success of a decade ago, the Redmap Project. Democrats, flush from Barack Obama’s 2008 victory, tuned out the state legislatures. Republicans used their inattention, along with a sweeping cash advantage and a backlash against the Obama presidency, to flip 21 state chambers in 2010, allowing them to dominate map-drawing after that year’s census. That power helped consolidate Republican control of state chambers and the U.S. House. Republicans might be flattered by Mr. Holder’s imitation—if they weren’t so busy getting crushed.
Holder’s “sue to blue” strategy worked in Virginia and is gaining legs in Pennsylvania, and he has other crucial states in his sights such as Georgia, Florida, and Texas.
In Virginia, Democrats spent a reported $54 million. And Virginia’s campaign finance laws allowed for all that “dark money” contributing.
Cash-flush Democratic power players have flooded the commonwealth with upwards of $10 million, according to an analysis of outside spending. Among the top spenders: Everytown for Gun Safety, a Michael Bloomberg-aligned group, with $2.5 million; the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the party’s state-level campaign arm, with $1.3 million; the League of Conservation Voters with $1.5 million; and EMILY’s List with $2.1 million, its single largest investment ever in a state’s legislative races.
Virginia’s unique campaign-finance laws allow these groups, and major liberal donors like George Soros, to contribute unlimited amounts directly to individual campaigns, giving Democrats a formidable financial advantage. They are just two seats away from a majority in the state House of Delegates and one seat away from flipping the state Senate.
The Trump administration has an interest in returning power back to the states — most notably in health care — but if Republicans end up losing those states to progressive candidates, that power will ultimately land right back in the hands of a party that favors centralized governance.
If Republicans hope to defeat Democrats at the state level, they need to quickly end their distraction with defending Trump (he’s pretty good at defending himself), and begin working to elect members of the GOP in their states, or helping them hold onto the seats they already have.