In recent weeks it was reported that the New Jersey Democratic-controlled legislature was considering adoption of legislation that would provide the Democratic majority with perpetual district dominance by way of a constitutional provision. By any other name, it’s called gerrymandering. The proposed measure made the headlines in a surge of desperate, last-minute tactics by Republicans in Virginia, North Carolina, Michigan, and Wisconsin to salvage control and power in the face of an increasingly potent Democratic resurrection among voters.
In Virginia, the state GOP has steadfastly challenged a federal court’s finding that a 2011 district map contained a number of racially impermissible lines. On behalf of the state, its Attorney General has concluded that appeal of the decision is a futile effort and declined to pursue the matter any further for the state. The GOP’s appeal to SCOTUS, therefore, may be moot on the basis of no standing for the political party. A new map has been prepared at the direction of the federal court in time for the June 2019 primaries.
In North Carolina, it appears a congressional seat will be the subject of a new election campaign as allegations of vote tampering with absentee ballots has come to light. Since the Republican candidate has now admitted to hiring the alleged operative, the state GOP is considering a new candidate.
In Michigan, the GOP-dominated legislature in a lame-duck session adopted legislation to restrict the authority of the three top state executives recently elected. All three are Democratic women.
In Wisconsin, the lame-duck governor, Scott Walker, has already signed legislation approved by the state’s lame-duck and gerrymandered legislature restricting voting measures and some powers of state executives. In addition, some 80 agency appointments were also approved. The governor-elect has said he will appeal.
It’s no longer a verity that absolute power corrupts absolutely. These examples demonstrate that even some power can corrupt absolutely. When political parties behave in this manner, desperately clawing to power, voters are the losing group. The temptation to retain power is understandable but its evil outcomes are not.
BREAKING NEWS: In a moment of conscience, the leadership of the New Jersey legislature announced it would not vote on the gerrymander measures. Reaction from other states and Democratic national redistricting organizations prompted a pause. While the temptation beckoned, the state was able to resist the evil. Would that others would follow.