The Supreme Court tried to screw over democracy Thursday morning by giving the green light to partisan gerrymandering, but the fight is most emphatically not over. Here are five things progressives can and must do to combat gerrymandering:
- Support ballot initiatives to reform redistricting. A number of states have voted to take redistricting out of the hands of lawmakers and instead give the duty to independent commissions. We most recently saw this just last year in four different states: Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah. This option is open to reformers in a number of other states, including Ohio and Florida.
- Elect Democratic legislatures. We know that if we leave Republicans in charge, they’ll draw brutally unfair maps designed to entrench their own power following the next census in 2020. But 93 of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold elections this year and next, and Democrats have the chance to flip a whole bunch before the next round of redistricting, including in Virginia, Texas, and Pennsylvania.
- Elect Democratic governors. By the same token, 14 governorships are up for election in 2019 and 2020. If we elect Democratic governors wherever we can, we’ll be able to block GOP gerrymandering.
- Elect fair-minded state Supreme Court justices. Many states elect the members of their highest court—races that far too often get overlooked. But progressives need to start focusing on them in a major way. Last year, after Pennsylvania elected a new liberal majority to its state Supreme Court, the justices there overturned the GOP’s congressional gerrymander, and SCOTUS couldn’t touch it. We have the chance to elect more progressive Supreme Court justices next year in states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio.
- Win back the Senate and White House. As its very first priority of the year, the new Democratic House passed HR1, a bill to protect voting rights that also included a major provision that would outlaw gerrymandering of congressional maps. Of course, the Republican Senate refused to take it up, and Donald Trump would never sign such a measure, but if Democrats can win the Senate and the White House, we can pass this bill into law and drive a stake into the heart of gerrymandering.
Now that the Supreme Court has ruled against us, we have to wage a multi-front war against gerrymandering—and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.