Democrats gerrymandered too
When N.C. Democrats were in charge they blatantly gerrymandered state legislative and congressional districts to minimize the number of Republicans and blacks elected. North Carolina’s Constitution provided for multi-member state Senate districts and forbade splitting counties. When the latter provision was voided by the courts, Democrats used multi-member districts for racial gerrymandering, by “diluting” mostly-black Democratic city precincts with suburban and rural precincts from other counties, to create districts which were “safe” for white Democrats. It was outrageous, and racist, and terribly unjust.
Additionally, they drew Republican districts with more voters than Democrat districts. It wasn’t just because Republican constituencies are more engaged and informed, and more likely to register and vote. Democrats designed the districts that way, to minimize the number of Republican legislators. They “padded” Democrat districts with precincts containing lots of “census bodies” but few voters, like prisons, and military bases, to draw more majority-Democrat districts with few voters, and fewer majority-Republican districts with lots of voters. Forget “one man one vote.”
So it takes a lot of chutzpah for those same white Democrats to complain about Republican-drawn districts, now.
Never miss a local story.
David A. Burton
‘No maps can fix’ Democratic losses
As the General Assembly moves forward with creating new court-mandated legislative districts, there are some things to keep in mind. In 2011 the General Assembly created congressional and legislative maps that complied with all existing laws and court precedents at the time. The Obama Justice Department believed these maps were lawful and approved them. Only after the courts redefined existing requirements were the maps considered out of compliance.
While we disagree with the court’s new interpretation of law, and vigorously object to the changing of rules “after the game has been completed and the score recorded,” Republicans will once again follow the letter of the law as it currently stands. That is all we can legally be expected to do.
However, it is not the job of the legislative majority to correct for the severe weakness of the minority, both politically and geographically. Democrats in North Carolina have lost nine out of 10 presidential elections, three straight U.S. Senate elections, and 14 out of the last 18 partisan statewide contests.
Since 2009, Republicans have gained significantly in partisan voter registration, while Democrats have plummeted. Republicans gained 125,000 registered voters, but Democrats lost approximately the same amount. Although the number of unaffiliated voters has been growing fast, Republicans have been winning a majority of those voters as well.
Nonetheless, we do not have a parliamentary system, and statewide elections results do not and should not forecast an exact percentage of legislative seats won. President Trump won 76 of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Republicans won legislative supermajorities despite only 38 out of 120 state house districts and 15 of 50 senate districts having a majority of registered Republican voters.
Adopting tax-and-spend policies, connecting themselves to President Obama and adopting social policies that only attract the most liberal voters in densely-populated urban areas has destroyed the North Carolina Democratic Party in vast areas of North Carolina. You can’t win the legislature while losing North Carolina’s small and medium cities, as well as almost all of the rural areas. No maps can fix this for Democrats. Only better policies can.
Chairman, North Carolina Republican Party
Executive Director, North Carolina Republican Party
The letter length limit was waived to allow for a fuller response.
Fix districts by the deadline
Regarding “No special NC elections this year; judges order quick drawing of maps to correct unconstitutional gerrymanders” (July 31): Last August (2016), a three-judge panel decision ordered the North Carolina General Assembly to redraw district maps because the current ones were found to be drawn with “surgical precision” related to race. In November of 2016, the legislature filed a suit saying this could not be done in time for special elections in 2017. This spring, Gov. Roy Cooper attempted to have the General Assembly hold a special session with the purpose of complying with this court order. The legislature refused this directive.
The same three-judge panel reviewed the General Assembly’s lack of progress with their order, with Judge Eagles saying “you don’t seem serious.” The General Assembly was given a new deadline of Sept. 1 to comply with the court order. Republican lawmakers has just announced (Aug. 2)that the August session will not address redistricting and therefore no special elections would be held in 2017.
On Sept. 2, if the legislature has done nothing related to the court order, perhaps it is time to hold Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore in contempt of court.
‘Expect more’ from NC leaders
Regarding “No special NC elections this year; judges order quick drawing of maps to correct unconstitutional gerrymanders” (July 31): So North Carolinians live in a state where racial gerrymandering has occurred and the elected lawmakers from these racially-formed districts are responsible for redistricting. As a voting state resident, I not only expect more from our leaders, I demand more from these illegally-elected leaders.
It doesn’t take much to see the true colors of this state, and they happen to be both white and male. As a white male, these “leaders” have brought disgrace and dishonor to myself and to all others of this state.