● National Republican Redistricting Trust: Back in January, some of America’s top Democrats unveiled a new group called the National Democratic Redistricting Committee that plans to raise millions of dollars and coordinate the party’s redistricting efforts across the country ahead of the post-2020 congressional and state legislative remapping. On Thursday, the National Republican Redistricting Trust, a GOP organization backed by the Republican National Committee, emerged to oppose it. As demonstrated by the maps at the top of this post, gerrymandering can play a major role in manipulating election outcomes.
As author David Daley previously reported in his 2016 book “Ratf**ked,” Republicans devoted roughly $30 million to the Republican State Legislative Committee’s Redistricting Majority Project, called REDMAP, ahead of the 2010 redistricting cycle. REDMAP spent money on key races the GOP needed to win to flip legislatures and gain control over drawing the lines this decade and benefitted mightily from the 2010 midterm wave. Consequently, a national umbrella organization isn’t quite as big of an innovation for the GOP in 2020 as it is for Democrats, who simply had no equivalent to REDMAP heading into 2010.
However, after years of gerrymandering’s effects locking Democrats out of power in Congress and numerous legislatures, both parties are now acutely aware of the stakes involved at the national level. The Washington Examiner reports that the GOP’s newly formed NRRT is setting an initial budget of $35 million, but that number could easily rise, since super PAC-like groups like NRRT can raise large individual donations from wealthy donors. Indeed, Republican groups have previously indicated that GOP redistricting spending could top $100 million.
Democrats have their work cut out for them if they want to prevent the GOP from using this decade’s ill-gotten gains to lock in their partisan advantage for another decade, which is what would happen if the current partisan control of state governments doesn’t change by 2021. Even nonpartisan groups simply fighting for fairer maps via ballot initiatives and the courts will have to contend with well-funded GOP opposition and the fact that many states don’t allow those measures. Consequently, Democratic legislative gains that result in more shared partisan control of state governments is good for both Democrats and democracy.