In case you missed it, one of the best editorials of the weekend appeared in Sunday’s Wilmington Star News. It is entitled “Twists and turns of gerrymandering.”
After explaining how conservative leaders in the General Assembly went beyond the usual excesses of partisan map making to unlawfully pack African-American voters into two congressional districts, the editors say this:
“It’s a shame we didn’t clean this up when we had a chance. In fact, Republicans used to be great foes of gerrymandering — back before 2010, when Democrats did it to them….
Gerrymandering is bad. It insulates incumbents from competition and voter ire; 30 percent of North Carolina legislative races, for example, drew only one candidate since the districts were tailor-made for just one party. The closest congressional race in North Carolina was decided by a 15-percentage point margin.
Gerrymandering also creates inane districts that make sense only to a politico. The 12th congressional district is the worst, but Rep. Walter Jones’s 3rd District runs from the Virginia line to downtown Wilmington. We suspect Rep. Jones seldom has Wilmington on his mind.
By creating single-party districts, gerrymandering promotes partisan extremism, which helps lead to gridlock in Raleigh and Washington. The system seldom promotes centrists and compromisers.
One hopes the high court can clean up this mess. It would have been nice if we could have done this on our own.”