By Michael Bryan
The 2018 midterms have set the table pretty well for the Democratic Party to roll back the GOP’s 2010 gerrymandering spree, and a path to ending the practice is now apparent. Most of the West, New England, much of the Piedmont, and the upper Mid-West are now largely immune to further gerrymandering after 2020 due to Democratic control, divided government, or independent commission control.
However the GOP continues to control a the organs of government needed to continue or deepen the gerrymandering of a plurality of Congressional districts, including the vital and highly populous states of Texas, Florida and Ohio.
Gerrymandering remains a serious problem, even in states where Democrats have made significant gains, the results still bear the hallmarks of the 2010 gerrymander.
We still have the 2020 election to push back further against gerrymandering before redistricting begins in 2021, and we now have in place powerful tools to end gerrymandering: legal opinions and mathematical tools to prove the presence of gerrymandering and end it, a powerful political effort under former President Obama and former Attorney General Holder to end the practice (not to mention the likely Presidential campaign of AG Holder in 2019 in which he is very likely make voting rights and gerrymandering major features of his platform), increased power in state governments to oppose gerrymandered redistricting, and a growing trend of voter support for direct democratic elimination of political control of redistricting through bi-partisan independent redistricting commissions.
Gerrymandering will likely never be an active wedge issue in our elections, but increasingly we are seeing that both elected officials and voters are recognizing that the practice is anti-democratic and pernicious to our system of governance. Democrats have an opportunity to minimize the influence of gerrymandering on our elections moving forward through 2020. You, the grassroots of our party, have a vital role to play in ensuring that momentum continues, and that awareness that the Democratic Party stands for ending the practice grows.