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State of the States: The GOP's Bad Romance with Gerrymandering

State of the States: The GOP's Bad Romance with Gerrymandering

There’s a lot going on, so every Wednesday, the DLCC is sending a roundup of the state legislative stories you might have missed. It's October 14th and here is the state of the states.

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  • Last week, the DLCC unveiled its slate of Spotlight candidates in California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington, where Democrats are well-positioned to make gains in their blue legislatures.
  • Since the beginning of the pandemic, Michigan Republicans have vilified Governor Whitmer’s public health measures and claimed she feels she’s “above the law.” It should come as no surprise to the GOP that extremists took their word for it: a right-wing domestic terrorist group reportedly conspired to kidnap and overthrow Governor Whitmer. In May, Republican leadership attended a rally alongside militia members and used inflammatory rhetoric against the governor. After the news broke, they still attended a rally protesting her and refuse to ban guns at the state capitol.
  • The Michigan House GOP pulled their support from Republican state House candidate Paul Smith’s campaign after he defended the domestic terrorists accused of plotting to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer. In a Facebook post, Smith claimed that the scheme and its uncovering by the FBI was a “totally bogus sham,” and said, “these citizens never did anything illegal.” He doubled down during an interview, saying it’s “not a proven plot.” Before you applaud the House GOP, they still supported Smith when he said he was proud of being investigated by the Secret Service after he called for President Obama to be publicly executed and advocated violence towards other Democratic elected officials.
  • If you ever need a reminder of how important these elections are, listen to Republican lawmakers shamelessly admit to their gerrymandering schemes. Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle talked about how the GOP must keep their legislative supermajority to gerrymander district maps. North Carolina Senator Bob Steinburg doubled down on gerrymandering to “maintain control and drive the agenda.”

GOP Fail

  • Videos surfaced showing Pennsylvania Republican Representative Aaron Bernstine encouraging a child to smoke a cigar and play an inappropriate sexually-themed game. Bernstine has to resign — full stop.
  • Arizona GOP Representative Mark Finchem shared a tweet from a fellow lawmaker blasting the “diabolical” extension of the state’s voter registration deadline, claiming that’s “how elections are stolen.” Seems like the GOP is finally admitting that the only way they win elections is by suppressing voters.
  • Republican candidate for the Arizona Senate Wendy Rogers ran a Facebook ad promising legislation to allow Arizonans to hit protestors with their cars along with tougher penalties for protestors. No one who wants to make Charlottesville tactics legal belongs in office.
  • During a candidate debate, Minnesota GOP Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen said “We shouldn't even be talking about this, people...I don’t believe that there is racial discrimination going on. I absolutely don’t.” Take it from Bill, an older white man.
  • Iowa GOP Representative Ann Meyer falsely insisted that the state legislature has “no control” over covering pre-existing conditions. Sounds like someone’s trying to skip out on some work that would literally save lives.
  • Arizona House Republican candidate Jake Hoffman was permanently suspended from Twitter for his firm’s involvement in a troll farm that recruited youth to create fake accounts to amplify GOP messaging.
  • North Carolina Republican candidate for state Senate Larry Norman answered a questionnaire saying that he supports the “sterilization” of women as an alternative to abortion (which no surprise, he opposes). Anti-abortion proponents’ obsession with controlling other people’s bodies truly has no limits. 
  • Remember Michigan’s Paul Smith from above? He also restated his support for a 2010 email where he called for the murder of hundreds of thousands of Muslims by constructing a mosque on Ground Zero and then destroying it with a “radio-controlled 747” — saying “that would serve them right.”
  • California Republicans are so desperate, they started placing illegal ballot boxes at GOP headquarters, gas stations, and gun stores. And they’re the ones ringing the alarm about unproven election fraud.

Demcoratic Leadership

  • Democrats in Florida introduced a bill designed to improve the state’s unemployment system by raising benefits, expanding eligibility, and streamlining the system. Democratic Representative Anna Eskamani said this will create a system “that wants to help versus a system that looks for reasons to reject you.”
  • New York Democrats are aiming for a supermajority in the legislature this year — and they have the funds and work ethic to make it happen. After dramatically outspending the GOP in key races, Democrats’ hopes are high going into the last few weeks.

What's Next

  • With the election coming to a close, the GOP is suppressing the vote to maintain its grip on power in legislatures and its ability to gerrymander congressional and legislative districts for the next decade in 2021. Republicans are admitting the quiet part out loud by blatantly sharing their scheme to gerrymander districts at all costs — but Democrats are fired up to stop them.