Did Colorado Democrats Give Up Too Much With Redistribution?
Colorado Democrats who signed and voted for the Y and Z Amendments in 2018 – ordering the formation of independent redistribution commissions – did the right thing by relinquishing their power to draw their own legislative and legislative lines for the decade to come?
The answer is yes, but maybe not a wholehearted yes, and even though some Democrats lament their decision. As a lawmaker from a Democratic state said to Jesse Paul of The Sun a few months ago, “We are idiots (expletives).”
It was the right thing even as the Republicans pass voter suppression laws in states across the country.
It was the right thing even though gerrymandering proliferates in predominantly red states but also in some very blue states.
It was fair – but barely – given that Senate Democrats (thanks, Joe Manchin) will likely be unable to pass a electoral reform law that would bring the rest of the country more in line with Colorado. Senate Democrats, who have 50 votes and Kamala Harris’ tiebreaker, would need, at a minimum, to carve out a voting exception to the filibuster rule in order to pass a bill on electoral reform which would deal with the suppression / discrimination of voters, liberalize access to the vote and make gerrymandering much more difficult. It has already been voted once in the Senate, with the expected results.
But as we know, West Virginia Manchin insists he won’t touch filibuster, regardless of whether failing to pass electoral reform could doom his party in 2022. And the senator from the Arizona Kyrsten Sinema doesn’t say it exactly.
In boxing, they call it throwing in the towel, unless, of course, you want to go all over Trump and insist the fight has been arranged. (Funny / sad note from Virginia, where Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin slightly edged Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the polls in Tuesday’s election. As I write this Tuesday morning, some Republicans are gearing up. even now invoke electoral fraud if Youngkin, who is backed by Donald Trump, loses.)
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And so Colorado, with a clear Democratic advantage these days – in 2020, Biden beat Trump by 13 points and John Hickenlooper beat Cory Gardner by 11, while the Democrats won convincing majorities in both houses. the legislature – gets a card that, with an extra seat due to population growth, could leave the state with a possible 4-4 district split, although I wouldn’t be surprised if after next November the Democrats had a advantage of 5-3. The worst thing about the card is that it ultimately protected all Seven Holders, with the only tossup in the newly established 8th Congressional District.
But the point is, the only way to make progress in areas like the right to vote is for the party in power to cede some of that power. Would Republicans do the same? They have not done so in almost all of the states they control. And I doubt they would if they were in power in Colorado. I’ll quote longtime GOP pol Greg Brophy, who said Republicans did not deserve the commission card.
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And you could argue, as some Latino groups have done in the state’s Supreme Court, that the redistribution cards have altered Latin American influence in the state, which could be interpreted as discriminatory. I thought Latino advocacy groups had a strong case, but I wasn’t surprised when the Supreme Court rejected it.
Of course, Colorado’s redistribution isn’t just about the Coloradans. In our never-ending election cycle, the focus has long been on 2022, during which Democrats may well lose their slim majority in the US Senate and House. The ruling party almost always loses seats in the mid-term, and Democrats can hardly bear to lose any. You may remember Barack Obama’s famous mid-term bombing. Will 2022 be a repeat?
Democrats believe – or at least hope – 2022 could be a different year due to the Trump factor. Most of the old presidents are disappearing. Trump is obviously not like most former presidents or, for that matter, like any former president.
He may be the most controversial politician in the country, but he already seems to be running strong, it seems, for another term in 2024. And I see far too early predictions showing how he could well be reelected.
All of that is subject to change, of course, but what must depress Democrats in Virginia – where Joe Biden beat Trump by 10 points last year – is that Trump’s toxic presence and constant revelations about the Jan. 6 insurgency appears to have little impact on the governor’s race. It’s not just a governor’s race, it will also be seen as a key indicator for mid-terms and which just a few months ago seemed as if McAuliffe would win easily.
You can attribute some of McAuliffe’s problems to those of Joe Biden Crater voter approval numbers. You can attribute some of this to the success Youngkin had in making race theory – an obscure subject until 2021, an advanced academic subject not taught in Virginia public schools or, as far as I know, in all. public schools – the most critical issue in the tossup contest.
You can also attribute part of it to Manchin and Sinema, who could have given McAuliffe a huge boost had they agreed to pass Biden’s $ 1.75 trillion climate change protection program in time for it. make a difference in the election. And you can put it down to the fact that Democrats don’t seem to have convinced enough voters that Trump’s big lie, now accepted orthodoxy within the Republican Party, is a real threat to American democracy.
And so, in response, Colorado took a responsible step forward. And if the congressional map drawn by the committee isn’t all Democrats were hoping for, it was at least a vote for fairness. And is it really (expletive) silly? I guess it depends if the voters even notice it.
Mike Littwin has been a columnist for too many years to be counted. He’s covered Dr. J, four presidential nominations, six national conventions, and countless mind-numbing speeches in the snow of New Hampshire and Iowa.
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