Commentary

Gerrymandering: The wall that prevented a true Democratic victory

North Carolina Democrats made a lot of progress last night in winning back seats long held by Republicans, but there was one clear factor that prevented a sizable “blue wave” from truly transforming state politics: partisan gerrymandering. We’ve known for years that Republican majorities in the General Assembly and the state’s congressional delegation have far exceeded the size of their actual support in a closely divided “purple” state, but last night’s results really brought that fact home again.

This was most obvious in the state’s 13 congressional districts where the total vote was almost dead even, despite the presence of nine extremely well-funded Republican incumbents and one race — the third district — in which Democrats didn’t even field a candidate. In the 12 contested races, the vote total thus far shows Republicans winning 1,642,344 votes or about 48.5% while Democrats won 1,747,742 or around 51.5%. Yet, despite this impressive performance, Democrats only won three of the 12 seats.

I’ve yet to add up all of the numbers, but a preliminary glance at legislative races reveals what appears to be a similar pattern: Republicans will still enjoy sizable majorities almost exclusively because of partisan gerrymandering.

The bottom line: Gerrymandering continue to remain a toxic and dangerous plague upon our democracy. Its elimination (and the adoption of a nonpartisan redistricting system) must remain at the top of the policy priority list for all caring and thinking people.

3 Comments


  1. Jonathan Greene

    November 7, 2018 at 11:44 am

    While I agree gerrymandering is disgraceful, even gerrymandering has little effect when you have such low voter turnouts. Being retired from public service, I remember people telling me I better be registered a certain party or I probably wouldn’t be hired. The older employees had lived by that system of changing their party affiliation on paper but not in actual vote. Does that affect gerrymandering?

  2. Mary

    November 8, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Gerrymandering was struck down in the court and appeals court. So, why is it not being changed? Districts still left gerrymandered

  3. george

    November 9, 2018 at 8:09 am

    It wasn’t struck down by the Supreme Court. They had chances last year in Gill v. Whitford (Wisconsin) and Abbott v. Perez (Texas) but they sent Wisconsin back to the lower courts with a lamer standard (ditto North Carolina) and they just let Texas stand because they are conservative bigoted liars. You don’t have to take MY word for that — it was 5-4 so at least 4 esteemed constitutional scholars concur in that judgment.

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