You called the GOP’s 2010 gerrymandering plan “the most audacious political heist of modern times.” Did the Democrats ever really recover from it?
No. The GOP’s gerrymandering plan (called REDMAP) has shaped our politics for the last decade.
There are 59 million Americans right now that live in a state in which one or both chambers of the state legislature are controlled by the party that won fewer votes in 2018. Fifty-nine million of those people live in a state where Democrats won more votes and Republicans won more seats.
That’s the end result of this redistricting cycle, and these maps have held that strong in all of these state legislatures. So there’s no question that Democrats haven’t recovered from this, and it’s hard to appreciate how much this distorted our politics.
There’s a ton to say about this, but I want to pivot to what’s happening right now. We’re having this conversation just days after the Supreme Court handed a major defeat to Democrats in Wisconsin who tried to make it easier for people to vote during the coronavirus pandemic. The Republican gambit failed in the end, but is this a sign of what’s to come in November?
Wisconsin was a dress rehearsal for what we’re going to see in November. I think it’s entirely likely that in many states, in many cities, it’s going to be absolutely impossible to conduct the kind of traditional in-person voting that this country has gotten used to. We’re going to need to expand the vote-by-mail options for more people.
What happened in Wisconsin is that 1.2 million people applied for absentee ballots. It overwhelmed these underfunded election boards in the state, and they weren’t able to handle it effectively.
The post office this week still had ballots in envelopes stacked up in many places across Wisconsin. And what you saw was that the governor, a Democratic governor in this case, stepped up and said, rightly, that it’s not safe to ask people to vote [in person] in the middle of this [coronavirus] crisis. And Republicans forced the matter into the courts.
Can you imagine a similar situation in November? I can, and it’s horrifying. This is how a public health crisis turns into a constitutional crisis.