The oddest part is Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine acting as though he’s somehow powerless and had no choice when he voted to rig Ohio elections with partisan, gerrymandered maps for the next four years. After all, he’s only the governor.
It’s an absurd position. Maps were proposed to the commission that actually represent the 54-46 Republican to Democratic political split of Ohioans, as averaged over 16 partisan statewide elections, directly mirroring the 1.9 million to 1.6 million Republican to Democratic registered voter split of Ohioans. The majority of registered voters, 4.5 million, are unaffiliated.
GOP leaders instead awarded themselves more supermajorities, with a House breakdown of 62 seats to 37 Dems, and 23 to 10 in the Senate, according to their own figures. Dave’s Redistricting App projects a 65-seat GOP supermajority in the House. This is called cheating.
As one of the seven members on the 5-2 Republican to Democratic Ohio Redistricting Commission, DeWine had a vote. As did fellow Republicans Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Ohio Auditor Keith Faber, Senate President Matt Huffman, and House Speaker Bob Cupp, and two Democrats, their House Leader Emilia Sykes and state Sen. Vernon Sykes.
Huffman and Cupp on the board were tasked with drawing the districts of the very caucuses they lead, something of a conflict when it comes to them desiring accurately bipartisan fairness in representation.
Their personal and professional interests are maintaining their leadership and the supermajority strength of their caucuses — essentially their political power — and not drawing mortar fire from their members who’ve been enjoying the fat steak of gerrymander-rigged elections for many years and would rather not give up their seats to the ideal of a truly representational Republic.
Essentially, as much as it’s an utter ethical failure for both of them (and sad such a failure can be so easily anticipated), Huffman and Cupp could never really be counted on to follow the wishes for bipartisanship of more than 71% of Ohio voters who amended the state constitution for Statehouse redistricting reform in 2015.
And remember that a majority of the commission — Huffman, LaRose, Faber and Vernon Sykes (and DeWine’s Lt. Gov. Jon Husted) — were all co-creators of the plan that was eventually passed by voters, making the hand-wringing over “the process” fairly tedious.
It was the plan they made, the plan they sold, and the plan they got passed.
The Ohio Democrats’ political interest is in fair maps, even if those fair maps keep them the minority caucus, as they gain accurate representation of Democratic voters: They win more seats and break the rigged-in-place GOP supermajority, extremist as ever thanks in no small part to gerrymandering.
Gerrymandering is an original poison and all gerrymandering is despicable, toxic, anti-democratic and un-American, whether it’s Ohio Republicans doing it or Maryland Democrats.
Having a narrower partisan split creates more opportunities for political compromise, as does maximizing the number of competitive districts. These things bring politicians toward more bipartisan and thoughtful policy solutions as more of the elected officials must compete to win general elections, instead of only facing real challenges in partisan primaries that push them to the fringes.
As all politics is about coalition-building and compromise (nobody should ever get everything they want all the time), advocates want fair districts because they want to see our elected representatives actually reflecting and representing our collective wishes and interests, which is a bedrock ideal of the American Republic: in Abraham Lincoln’s construction, “A government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
Gerrymandering pushes and incentivizes government officials to represent only the extreme end of one political party.
DeWine and LaRose could’ve voted for and gotten representative maps, but they gave Ohio voters more rigged maps.
Their actions scream so much louder than their hollow words.
— Ohio Capital Journal