Categories: world

New Jersey Democratic Partisan Revocation Amendment is Dead. Progressive activists killed it.

December 17, 2018 US 3 Views New Jersey Democrats' repatriation proposal is dead-killed not by Republican backlash, but by near-universal opposition from grassroots progressive activists who bucked the Democratic Party to defend voting rights.         Democratic leaders in New Jersey hoped to push through the constitutional amendment with record speed. By approving it in December and January, legislators would have put the plan on the ballot in 2019. If passed, the amendment would have given politicians substantially more control over the redistricting process. It would also require mapmakers to prioritize political considerations, allowing them to create a partisan advantage for Democrats.         The exact intention and impact of the amendment sparked a lively debate among political scientists. Redistricting expert Michael McDonald argued that it would not necessarily give Democrats an unearned edge. Sam Wang of the Princeton Gerry Mandering Project noted that it was poorly designed, as it could transform a moderate Republican wave into huge GOP gains in the legislature. McDonald and Wang asserted that the amendment reflected an intraparty squabble between Democratic legislators and Gov. Phil Murphy. Under the current rules, John Currie, the state Democratic Party chair and a progressive Murphy ally, picks Democratic members of the state's redistricting commission. Democratic legislative leaders, who are more conservative than Murphy, feared the next map would diminish their power. Deres plan ville få dem til å udpege flere medlemmer til kommisjonen, og bidra til å forankre de incumbencies av corporate-friendly machine Democrats.         Regardless of the amendment's purpose, its consequences would not…

New Jersey Democrats’ repatriation proposal is dead-killed not by Republican backlash, but by near-universal opposition from grassroots progressive activists who bucked the Democratic Party to defend voting rights.

Democratic leaders in New Jersey hoped to push through the constitutional amendment with record speed. By approving it in December and January, legislators would have put the plan on the ballot in 2019. If passed, the amendment would have given politicians substantially more control over the redistricting process. It would also require mapmakers to prioritize political considerations, allowing them to create a partisan advantage for Democrats.

The exact intention and impact of the amendment sparked a lively debate among political scientists. Redistricting expert Michael McDonald argued that it would not necessarily give Democrats an unearned edge. Sam Wang of the Princeton Gerry Mandering Project noted that it was poorly designed, as it could transform a moderate Republican wave into huge GOP gains in the legislature. McDonald and Wang asserted that the amendment reflected an intraparty squabble between Democratic legislators and Gov. Phil Murphy. Under the current rules, John Currie, the state Democratic Party chair and a progressive Murphy ally, picks Democratic members of the state’s redistricting commission. Democratic legislative leaders, who are more conservative than Murphy, feared the next map would diminish their power. Deres plan ville få dem til å udpege flere medlemmer til kommisjonen, og bidra til å forankre de incumbencies av corporate-friendly machine Democrats.

Regardless of the amendment’s purpose, its consequences would not have been healthy for democracy. As the Brennan Center for Justice pointed out, the proposal would have obliged mapmakers to emphasize partisan outcomes, arguably allowing Democrats to manipulate district lines to their advantage. Det kunne have fortyndet de stemmerende kraftene i samfunnets farger, “pakker” dem inn i et par distrikter eller “cracking” dem gjennom andre for å produsere mer demokratiske seter. The amendment’s formula actually incentivized this unseemly strategy.

Most importantly, the New Jersey proposal did exactly what voting rights advocates almost universally oppose: It gave politicians more control over the redistricting process. Any plan that hands legislators influence on redistricting will almost certainly result in a more politicized map. Det er derfor den gylne standard for gerrymanderreformen er en selvstændig redistrictingkommission som maksimerer konkurrencedistriktene.

As Democratic legislators barreled towards a December vote, New Jersey’s progressive community rallied against the proposal. A enorme coalitie van grassroots activisten, unionsleiders, stemrecht advocaten, en raciale rechtvaardigheidsprevanten bezwaar tegen de wijziging. More than 100 activists and academics-representing a wide range of organizations, including the New Jersey Working Families Alliance and the League of Women Voters-testified against the amendment. They held press conferences and protests two shame Democratic leaders and demand real reform. It worked: On Saturday, Democratic legislators backed away from the amendment, canceling a Monday vote and effectively killing it.

There are two lessons in this debacle. Den første er at den demokratiske basen virkelig synes at være værd at stemme rettigheder som et spørgsmål om princippet, ikke bekvemmelighed. Even when a gerrymander might have helped their party, progressively defended fair maps and resisted partisan manipulation of district lines. Den demokratiske partiet kan ikke præsentere sig selv som det parti af stemmerettigheder, og så er det støtte til fri og lige valg når de gør det, det kan hjelpe dem med å få flere pladser. Liberal voters will not stand for it.

The second, related lesson is that Democrats can not back away from their support for citizen-led independent redistricting commissions. Fair Districts New Jersey, a project by the state’s League of Women Voters, is currently pushing for this reform, which recently passed in Michigan and Colorado. These commissions create competitive elections where Democrats can win on an even playing field; California’s current map was drawn by an independent commission, and Democrats swept the state’s elections in November.

When GOP legislatures in Wisconsin, Michigan, and North Carolina stripped power from incoming Democratic governors, we did not see Republican activists marching at their capitols in opposition. Beide partijen kunnen gerymander, maar beide partijen van het politieke spectrum zijn niet gelijk aan de schuld van de huidige, sorry state of voting rights. For years, the Democratic Party has promised its base that it will vigorously protect the franchise. The calamity in New Jersey demonstrates that progressives expect Democratic lawmakers to keep their word.

Share
Published by
Faela