If you live in a “swing state” like North Carolina or Texas, or have more than a passing interest in democracy, you are probably aware of how severely Republicans have gerrymandered state and federal electoral districts. Rather than voters being able to pick our representatives, they have drawn lines to pick the voters they want, and packed the rest of us into as few districts as possible. It’s been remarkably effective and has led to passing legislation like HB2 with total impunity since the GOP leaders know their majority can’t be threatened with the current districts, even though our state actually has way more registered Democrats than Republicans.
Don’t believe it? I just looked up the latest stats from the NC state board of elections, and as of 7/29/17 we had 39% Democrats, 30% Republicans, 30% unaffiliated, and less than 1% Libertarian. (Unaffiliated has been growing rapidly, for good reason. Don’t make the mistake of assuming these are centrist voters.) Meanwhile our NC senate is 70% Republican and our house representatives are 60% Republican.
You might also know that The Supreme Court found that NC’s districts are racially gerrymandered and told the state legislature to redraw them and hold a special election ASAP. I was skeptical that Republicans wouldn’t just redraw them in a way that ensured their majorities but didn’t follow racial lines as closely. But in fact, they haven’t even done that. They have been filing appeals and dragging their feet, as explained in the timeline in this very helpful article by NC Policy Watch, “Republicans silent in wake of court order to draw new maps in one month”.
So the NC house and senate redistricting committees are now taking comments at this form, and they are meeting tomorrow so it’s a great time to let them know that you value representative democracy.
Here’s more information and ways to speak out from Democracy NC.
Header and more excellent maps at the districks blog.
They have tried criminalizing dissent in several other states, and now this “economic terrorism” bill filed today in North Carolina shows once again that Republicans value money and power more than civil rights, the Constitution, or democracy itself.
What would the founders say? What would Martin Luther King say?
AN ACT TO CREATE THE CRIMINAL OFFENSE OF ECONOMIC TERRORISM, TO ESTABLISH CIVIL LIABILITY FOR ECONOMIC TERRORISM, TO CREATE A DUTY FOR A RESPONSIBLE PUBLIC OFFICIAL TO TAKE ACTION TO CLEAR TRAFFIC OBSTRUCTIONS RESULTING FROM UNLAWFUL ACTIVITIES, TO INCREASE CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR OBSTRUCTING TRAFFIC WHILE PARTICIPATING IN UNLAWFUL ACTIVITIES, AND TO PROVIDE CIVIL LIABILITY FOR THE COSTS OF RESPONDING TO TRAFFIC OBSTRUCTIONS AND CERTAIN OTHER UNLAWFUL ACTIVITIES.
Read it at http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2017/Bills/House/PDF/H249v0.pdf
So in case you have better things to do than watch #democracy being dismantled by the #NCGOP at unpredictable hours in Raleigh, here is an important #NCpol update:
After closing the emergency #NCGA session for hurricane (and wildfire) relief funding, the Republicans opened a new session in which Democrats are not permitted to submit any bills, and are now proposing surprise legislation to limit the powers of the governor since the people of North Carolina rejected their incompetent leader. They plan to vote TONIGHT.
Please spread the word so they know we see them, and follow these accounts for updates:
Photo credit: Charlotte Observer
Analysis from Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling on how Pat McCrory shoved through unpopular policies (including but very definitely not limited to HB2) and then wasn’t able to hide from the people thanks to the Moral Monday protest movement!
Pushing back hard on McCrory worked. The seeds of his final defeat today were very much planted in the summer of 2013. And it’s a lesson for progressives in dealing with Trump. Push back hard from day one. Be visible. Capture the public’s attention, no matter what you have to do to do it. Don’t count on the media to do it itself because the media will let you down. The protesters in North Carolina, by making news in their own right week after week after week, forced sustained coverage of what was going on in Raleigh. And even though it was certainly a long game, with plenty more frustration in between, those efforts led to change at the polls 42 months after they really started.
Source: Why Pat McCrory Lost and What It Means in Trump’s America – Public Policy Polling