Former President Obama and other top Democrats are focusing efforts on state-level races and ending the reconfiguring of voting districts through the politically-laden process known as gerrymandering — a combined effort to end “Trump-ism” and help their party regain control of Congress and legislatures across the country.
Obama indicated before leaving the White House last fall that his short-term, post-presidency focus will be on General Assembly races and redistricting after the 2020 Census.
And 2016 presidential candidate former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has become the most recent high-profile Democrat to take up the cause.
“America needs non-partisan redistricting commissions,” O’Malley said at Boston College Law School, where he’s now a visiting professor. “This simple reform … must become the new norm of American democracy. … How can we expect people to vote if their voice has been carved into irrelevance by a political map ahead of time?”
An early test for Democrats trying to win state-level races and stopping the Trump wave arrives this weekend.
Delaware is holding a special election for an open state Senate seat that will decided whether Democrats keep their roughly 40-year hold on the chamber.
“If we lose, a new Republican majority will take power and rubber-stamp every single one of Trump’s hateful policies,” the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee said in a recent fundraising letter. “They’ll grind all our progress to a halt.”
Voting districts are redrawn after a federal Census to reflect the changes in population and other demographic.
Much of the redistricting across the country is done by the political party that controls the state legislature.
However, critics argue the process, known as gerrymandering, has run amok, with the majority party drawing districts in crazy-quilt patterns to help protect incumbents and their party win more races.
“There’s one district in Virginia where you have to take a boat on the James River to get to another part,” Jared Leopold, spokesman for the Democratic National Redistricting Committee, told Fox News.