Many In TEA Party Tackle Redistricting
As the saying goes, elections have consequences. One of the consequences of the ‘historic’ Democrat destruction of 2010 is that the Republicans gained quite a few seats in the State assemblies/legislatures, and even full control of some they haven’t controlled in quite a long time. Here in North Carolina, its been over 100 years since Republicans controlled both the House and Senate at the same time. Republicans also won quite a few Governors mansions. A second consequence is that Republicans no have greater input, or full control, of the redistricting that will occur due to the 2010 Census. The Politico covers this, and, surprisingly, treats the Tea Party with respect
After making a raucous national debut and helping to power a grass-roots uprising that swept conservatives into office, tea party activists are now taking on a more sophisticated and decidedly insider-oriented electoral frontier: redistricting.
With state legislators across the country set to redraw the congressional landscape, the tea party is attempting to further the political gains it made last fall when a slate of activist conservatives won House and Senate seats.
“They understand that the way districts are drawn impacts our political culture perhaps more than anything else,” said Mark Meckler, co-founder and coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, a national umbrella group. “It’s advancing the gains they made and adding to the places where they aren’t yet competitive.”
But for a movement that generally shuns such inside-the-Beltway instincts, the tea partiers’ involvement in redistricting comes dangerously close to emulating the professional politicians they so often disdain – a sign of the movement’s maturation process and a recognition that it can expand its political power in ways that go beyond the ballot box.
That said, they do not want to see the idiotic type of districts that have been drawn in the past. Take a look at the map of your state (here’s North Carolina’s weirdness. The yellow and purple are awesome), and notice really strange lines, set up to ensure that incumbents do not lose.
To local groups reorganizing to take on redistricting fights, however, there could be nothing more true to the tea party spirit than fighting the sort of tailor-made districts and partisan line-drawing that serve as a once-a-decade incumbent protection plan.
Some groups are jumping in to protect favorite pols or to target long-serving liberals. Others are trying to expand the ranks of tea party officeholders. But also driving the conservative push, activists say, is resistance to gerrymandering – the drawing of near-foolproof districts that allow long-serving members of both parties to burrow into seats where they are immune from competitive reelection bids.
Well, good for the Tea Party. Congressional districts should be drawn as fairly as possible. But, if the Republicans fudge a bit so that some long term Congressional Democrats can’t hold their seats? Bummer. Elections have consequences.