Eric Holder is trying to get folks in formation — as the title of Beyoncé’s song said — to stop racist gerrymandering ahead of the 2018 midterms. But what’s gerrymandering?
The practice of partisan and racial gerrymandering focuses on the re-drawing of voting district lines that basically pack Democrats or people of color into certain areas and push them out of others. Racial gerrymandering was fought by the Supreme Court years ago with the creation of majority-minority districts, or areas where the majority of voters are members of a single non-White racial group, The Washington Post reported.
This majority-minority move allowed voters of color to elect their candidates of choice in some districts. However, the concentration of voters of color in those districts led to the loss of representation in several other White-dominated districts. Without representation in those districts, it’s hard for voters of color to pass state-wide legislation to represent their interests.
Republican-led legislatures took advantage by using race to draw majority-minority district lines, experts said to the Post. But Holder, knowing that limiting the representation of Black voters means limiting that of Democrats, has a clap back plan against gerrymandering.
Holder, chair of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), wants to show folks of color that gerrymandered districts “have an impact on their day-to-day lives,” according to the Hill. Then, folks can go out and vote in a way that gets candidates elected that who will advocate for their interests, including the fair redistricting of voting areas without regard to race or political party.
“The thought is to elect people in 2018 who will serve generally four-year terms,” the former Obama administration attorney general said. “These are the people who will be at the table, come ’20, ’21, and who will be responsible for the redistricting that’s [coming] after the 2020 census.”
Experts have said that packing people of color into districts has the same effect as packing Democrats, causing district maps to favor Republicans in the same way that it favors Whites. But if people of color vote in record numbers, things can change.
“At the end of the day, this is all about the American people getting to have their voices heard, their votes count, and their representatives reflect what their desires are,” Holder said.