It came as no surprise when GOP leadership in the NC General Assembly submitted new district maps for state Senate and House and the US Congress. They’ve been talking openly about it since the federal government had to come in and redraw the tilted maps they wanted to use in 2022. Instead we got an evenly divided Congressional delegation — seven seats each to Republicans and Democrats — and a more fairly divided legislature.
This was before a new, conservative NC Supreme Court was elected, before NC Rep. Tricia Cotham switched parties shortly after being elected to give the Republicans a supermajority in the NC House, before the NC Legislature exempted themselves from public records law so we couldn’t get the documents that outlined their intentions.
The new maps skew so heavily in favor of Republicans, with large swaths of BIPOC voters cracked and packed into rural, white districts, that they make a mockery of the notion of representative democracy.
One new Congressional map — there are two — pulls most of rural Guilford County into District 9 with Alamance, Randolph, Monroe and Hoke, as well as western Chatham Counties. The other configuration pairs rural Guilford in District 6 with Davidson, Rowan and a corner of Cabarrus counties, packing Greensboro into District 5 with Rockingham, Stokes, Surry and the mountain counties of Alleghany, Ashe, Watauga, Caldwell, Alexander and Wilkes.
In Forsyth Cunty, one map excises Winston-Salem to District 10 with Davie, Iredell, Catawba and Lincoln counties. The other neatly encompasses Black folks in eastern Forsyth and southwest Guilford into District 6. All of them put current Triad Rep Kathy Manning (D-Guilford) into a district that, statistically speaking, she cannot win.
If either of these maps go through, The Triad will be sending Republicans to the US House, which is currently held by Republicans in a razor-thin 221-212 margin. And we should add that they will likely not be local — the whole point of packing our left-leaning cities into rural districts is to marginalize our votes.
And this is how you know that the current crop of Republicans in the NC Legislature have no respect for the tenets of representative democracy, resist the implementation of free and fair elections and generally don’t give a damn about anything except creating a permanent majority for themselves.
Next week we’ll look at the NC Senate and House maps, which are just as egregious.
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