Sen. John McCain has taken another surprising stance, partnering with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), to call on the Supreme Court to strike down Wisconsin’s partisan redistricting. The senators did not mince words in calling for the Supreme Court to affirm previous rulings:
In an amicus brief filed in Gill v. Whitford on Tuesday, McCain and Whitehouse argue that the redistricting map is the result of excessive partisan redistricting.
“Americans do not like gerrymandering,” McCain and Whitehouse wrote in the brief, first highlighted by The Huffington Post. “They see its mischief, and absent a legal remedy, their sense of powerlessness and discouragement has increased, deepening the crisis of confidence in our democracy."
"We share this perspective," they continued. "From our vantage point, we see wasted votes and silenced voices. We see hidden power. And we see a correctable problem.”
Wow! Sen. McCain and Sen. Whitehouse correctly calling partisan redistricting exactly what it is: “wasted votes, silenced voices” and hidden power.
Gerrymandering and partisan redistricting are the key to Republican control of the House. From the Associated Press analysis of the the 2016 election:
The analysis found four times as many states with Republican-skewed state House or Assembly districts than Democratic ones. Among the two dozen most populated states that determine the vast majority of Congress, there were nearly three times as many with Republican-tilted U.S. House districts.
Traditional battlegrounds such as Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida and Virginia were among those with significant Republican advantages in their U.S. or state House races. All had districts drawn by Republicans after the last Census in 2010.
The AP analysis also found that Republicans won as many as 22 additional U.S. House seats over what would have been expected based on the average vote share in congressional districts across the country. That helped provide the GOP with a comfortable majority over Democrats instead of a narrow one.
Even if Democrats turned out at full strength, gerrymandering would limit their chances in key districts:
Yet the data suggest that even if Democrats had turned out in larger numbers, their chances of substantial legislative gains were limited by gerrymandering.
“The outcome was already cooked in, if you will, because of the way the districts were drawn,” said John McGlennon, a longtime professor of government and public policy at the College of William & Mary in Virginia who ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Democrat in the 1980s.
That has got to change. Kudos to Sen. McCain and Sen. Whitehouse for publicly asking the Supreme Court to strike down Wisconsin’s partisan redistricting.