The reach of late Republican gerrymandering mastermind Thomas Hofeller may be longer than previously known, according to a review of thousands of documents and emails culled from his hard drives, obtained by The Intercept. While Hofeller was known for drawing maps to give Republicans an advantage and to limit the impact of voters of color in North Carolina, Texas, Missouri, and Virginia, the new documents reveal he also participated in the 2010 redistricting cycle in Alabama, Florida, and West Virginia.
The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against the challengers opposed to partisan gerrymandering, the practice in which the party that controls the state legislature draws voting maps to help elect its candidates. The vote in two cases was 5 to 4, with the court’s more conservative members in the majority. The court appeared to close the door on such claims.
The Trump administration has devised a fundamentally racist policy: adding a question to the 2020 Census that will suppress participation by nonwhite people and, therefore, artificially increase white (and Republican) power in a new round of gerrymandering. To do this, administration officials falsely told the public, the lower courts and the Supreme Court that the disadvantage to nonwhite Americans was statistically questionable and that the Justice Department needed the change to enforce the Voting Rights Act.
House Democrats introduced a sweeping bill on Friday as their first order of legislative business that would expand voting rights and curb the influence of money in politics, signaling their commitment to push back on Republican efforts to undermine the democratic process. The legislation, known as HR 1: The For the People Act, would make it easier to vote, crack down on gerrymandering, and reduce the influence of big money in congressional races.
With anti-gerrymandering efforts heading to the ballot box, Republicans in some states are mobilizing to protect their ability to continue rigging election maps.In late April, a Republican group backed by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce sued to keep a popular redistricting reform measure off the state’s November ballot.
Wisconsin Republicans are going to remarkable lengths to avoid holding a pair of special elections for two vacant seats in the state legislature. After a district court ruled last week that Gov. Scott Walker (R) needed to schedule these races as soon as possible, state leadership called lawmakers back to the Capitol for an extraordinary session April 4 to change the law on how and when Wisconsin’s special elections are held. And Walker said he’d sign the legislation.
The Democratic advantage on the generic congressional ballot has slipped over the last few weeks.But Republicans have gradually lost advantages of their own. Slowly but surely, the considerable structural advantages — like incumbency, geography and gerrymandering — that give the Republicans a chance to survive a so-called wave election are fading, giving Democrats a clearer path to a House majority in November.
North Carolina is perhaps the ultimate swing state in 2016: It’s the only one with truly competitive races for president, Senate, and governor. Remarkably, though, not a single seat is expected to change hands in the state’s House delegation, where Republicans hold a lopsided 10-to-3 advantage over Democrats.
Democrats are daring to dream. But as strong as Hillary Clinton looks against Donald Trump four months before Election Day – earlier this month, data whiz Nate Silver gave Trump only a 19 percent shot at beating the former secretary of state – 2016 is not looking like a Democratic wave year. Continue reading