The Triad newspaper twins (the Greensboro News & Record and Winston-Salem Journal) featured almost identical editorials over the weekend about the state’s newly-approve congressional map. Their shared assessment: the map might be a little better than the old one, but it’s still fatally flawed.
As the Journal put it on Saturday:
The redrawn districts are a slight improvement, but they won’t be as competitive as they should be. Republicans and Democrats are roughly equal in number in North Carolina, but there will still be a Republican advantage, thanks to the party’s success in gerrymandering over the last decade. Ten of the 13 House seats belonged to solid Republican districts before the map was redrawn. Political analysts say the new map is likely to shift the outcome to eight solid Republican and five solid Democrat districts, with the 2nd and 6th districts flipping blue.
After exploring the various impacts the new set-up will have on certain races and the all-too-telling explanation from a spokesperson for Congressman Mark Walker for his boss’s decision not to run in the redrawn 6th District (“Rep. Walker is going to run where his constituents are”), the editorial put it this way:
Fair and transparent elections should be a nonpartisan issue. A new congressional map will be drawn in 2022 after the U.S. Census, but before then, all of our legislators, Democrat, Republican and independent, should work together to authorize an independent commission to draw the lines. The results may not be perfect, but they will be better than allowing legislators to continue choosing their voters.
Residents who want to work for fair elections may resolve, in 2020, to support good-government groups like Common Cause N.C., with donations and volunteer efforts. We shouldn’t have to become activists to ensure fair elections, but with legislators who keep seeking unfair advantages, it may be the only way.
The N&R editorial ended this way:
The results under such a system might not be perfect, but they would be a vast improvement.
Legislators should not be able to handpick their voters in tailor-made safe districts.
In other words, gerrymandering remains a plague on our democracy and needs to come to an end.