By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
When it comes to redistricting, Democrats and Republicans may have different ideas in mind of what the end result looks like. Over the years, both sides have partaken in gerrymandering, which results in one party being favored over the other, but in recent years more and more citizens have spoken up for fair maps.
In 2017, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a strategic hub that aims to create a comprehensive redistricting strategy according to its website, launched. Its intention is to advocate for fair maps by backing litigation, supporting reforms and electing fair-map Democrats.
Eric H. Holder, Jr., the 82nd Attorney General of the United States, is the chair of the organization.
A fundraiser benefiting the National Democratic Redistricting Committee took place on Wednesday, Dec. 8. The event featured House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former President Barack Obama.
During the event, the speakers emphasized that part of the committee’s aim is to save democracy.
“The bottom line is that we have a pressing opportunity and I’d say an urgent obligation to make good on our promise on the core of our nation,” Holder said. “No matter who we are, no matter what you look like or where you come from that you have a place in this country. You got a voice in our democracy.”
He continued, “That’s the idea that fuels our work and the principal that motivates our effort.”
For the National Democratic Redistricting Committee to continue its work, it needs resources. Winning today doesn’t matter when there are battles to be fought tomorrow, Holder said.
Obama noted that Republican legislatures are passing laws designed to prevent people from exercising their rights. This is nothing new, he said, adding that it happened while he was president.
“Redistricting is proper and necessary because our country is changing all the time,” Obama said. “We, under our Constitution, are supposed to redraw our congressional maps every 10 years so that we make sure as the population shifts, every voice is heard, every vote counts.”
When the maps are done fairly, political parties are prevented from being pushed to the extremes, he said. For example, in a competitive district, candidates need to appeal to everybody and put progress ahead of party, he said. But a district that lacks competition may result in an extreme candidate who only cares about firing up their based, he explained.
This is bad for democracy, Obama said, because it leads to less compromise and more voters being ignored.
This should not be a partisan issue, he stressed.
“The goal of the NDRC is not to somehow shift the tilt so that Democrats are favored,” Obama said. “The goal of NDRC is to make fair maps in which everyone is competing under a common set of rules designed to maximize citizen participation.”
To learn more about the National Democratic Redistricting Committee go to https://democraticredistricting.com/.