Republicans try to defend the indefensible on gerrymandering


Denial is a river in Egypt:

Bell's testimony came Wednesday morning in the eighth day of a trial over the legislative voting district maps the Republican-controlled General Assembly approved two years ago. Common Cause North Carolina alleges that the maps are were drawn illegally into gerrymandered districts that favor GOP candidates.

Trying to maximize GOP seats in the House would dilute Republican strength in many districts and would wind up costing the party seats, he said. That, would cause a revolt in the House Republican caucus, which on the best of days is like trying to manage a wheelbarrow full of frogs, he said.

That little theory comes apart when you look at what actually happened: Republicans gained majorities in both houses after the 2010 (national) GOP Legislative wave, but they didn't achieve their Supermajority until after the maps were gerrymandered. And the Blue Wave of 2018, which flipped control of the U.S. House to a strong Democratic majority, still could not overcome those gerrymandered NC Legislative districts. So you can stick that "it wouldn't make sense for us to do it" argument where the sun don't shine, because we know you did it. And this makes even less sense:

Lewis, Dixon, Cleveland, Szoka and Torbett all won their races last fall by at least 58-42 percent margins. Lambeth and Johnson both won by 53-47 percent margins, while Davis squeaked by in a 49-47 percent race, according to the State Board of Elections.

Bell described many of the districts as socially conservative but insisted that incumbency played a critical role in the GOP holding on to them. He also balked when an attorney for Common Cause pointed out that President Donald Trump, former Gov. Pat McCrory and former presidential nominee Mitt Romney, all Republicans, carried some of the districts by 60-40 margins over Democrats Hillary Clinton, Gov. Roy Cooper and former President Barack Obama, respectively.

"You have to look at people. You have to look at issues. You have to look at the mood [of voters]. You have to look at incumbency. You have to look at what's going on," he said. "You're pulling statistics ... but if I've got a great candidate in that seat, I can win it and maintain it. If I have a horrible candidate in that seat, then we have problems."

You've got several horrible candidates, who still coasted into office. Even after voters became aware of Cody Henson's mistreatment of his wife/ex-wife, he still won his district 57.5% to 42.5%. And of course there's that national embarrassment Larry Pittman, who survived the Blue Wave with a 53% to 47% victory.

But of course the nail in the coffin of this argument is what David Lewis said about Congressional Districts: “I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.”

If you think he would be that strategic with Congressional seats, but the back off on Legislative mapping, I've got a fricking bridge to nowhere I'd like to sell you.



Didn't have a picture of Bell,

and I didn't want to go get one, either. So I gave you a gratuitous photo of Bob Rucho, so you can once more sigh in relief that he's no longer in the General Assembly. You're welcome.