RALEIGH – The saga over ‘gerrymandered’ political maps in North Carolina has been a big mess for a few years now. Democrats hemmed and hawed as soon as they were on the outs on Jones Street, no longer able to control the process they’d dominated for decades. Like water to a low point, they went straight to the courts to reclaim their partisan advantage by unconstitutional diktat arguing they were for fairness and a non-partisan process with a straight face.
The latest chapter in this saga began when a state judicial panel deemed 2017 state legislative maps unconstitutional because they incorporated too much partisan bias. Of Course, the suit was brought by Democrats and the decision marked their victory. Republican leadership accepted it, and set about redrawing the maps to the court’s satisfaction, if only to have this chapter over with already.
As a result of that earnestness, and the demands of the court order, the General Assembly has passed the ‘fairest maps, with the fairest process’ in a lifetime. That’s according to Democrat Sen. Jeff Jackson (D-Mecklenburg).
“These are the fairest maps, and this was the fairest process, in North Carolina in my lifetime,” Jackson said.”
He voted against them.
Indeed, Democrats have already labeled these maps a another GOP failure, with complaints of unfairness and ‘partisan advantage’ streaming in. One implication of this, as noted in the editorial linked above, is that legislative map making is inherently political — it always has been and will always be so, by it’s very nature. The leap most media and Democrats fail to make, then, is that should naturally be handled by the legislature.
That’s why the constitution says so, and why the courts should have no business in drawing maps. Elections have consequences, and therefore we the people get to deliver consequences every two years if necessary.
Yet, it’s the Democrats’ tune is also confirmation that Democrats will never be satisfied with Republican drawn maps. Not because the maps or the process are actually unfair or unreasonable, but precisely because they are drawn by Republicans. This has never been about a sudden ‘Come to Jesus’ moment for Democrats on the issue of gerrymandering, as much as they wanted everyone to think Republicans were the Devil. This was always a ‘Sue til Blue’ last ditch effort by Democrats to advance politically without having to win elections.
Senator Jeff Jackson followed his comments about the quality of fairness in those most recent map-making process by quipping that, “Independent redistricting would look just like the process we just went through, except it wouldn’t be politicians doing it.”
Notice he didn’t say, “…it wouldn’t be partisans doing it.” That’s because as much as everyone would like to imagine that honestly independent mapmakers will be convened in whatever independent redistricting body and produce maps absolutely free of partisan interest, that is a fantasy. Democrats know all too well that “independent” means to their advantage.
When it comes down to it, it means independent of the voters across North Carolina. It is they who have repeatedly elected Republican majorities to the General Assembly, their influence on the mapmaking process coming with the territory. It’s not as if Republicans have gone unchallenged, either, losing their super-majorities and dampening their domination. Elections have consequences. It only goes to show that voters do have the ultimate control of holding politicians accountable, and that’s why redistricting remaining in the legislature is as close to the people’s will as you’re going to get.
Democrats are only accountable to their dogma, though, and it dictates that they oppose Republicans no matter what and bar no holds in advancing their agenda.