So here’s a question: why is no one talking about Common Cause v Lewis? This case, already litigated in North Carolina case may be one of the most important since the Supreme Court punted on gerrymandering.
It could also be the map for how democrats win in 2020 and beyond.
We do a bit of a deep dive into the case in this blog, but in the podcast, we discuss some of the factors that could lead to a democratic defeat or win against Donald Trump.
I believe “other factors”, like those outlined by Allan Lichtman a professor at American University, can help predict who will win the next election.
We’ve discussed Mr. Lichtman and his book the 13 keys to the White House in a previous blog/podcast. Properly calculating these thirteen keys or statements,the professor has been able to predicted the outcome of every election since 1980 (he notes with Bush V Gore that the election was stolen).
So unlike what the liberal media or fivethirtyeight.com podcast would like you to believe, monitoring the polling is not what determines the outcome of an election.
Our podcast is not going to check off the 13 keys (we may do that some other time), but instead look at some of the outside factors I think could determine the election.
You can call it TWAILITB’s eight items to watch.
In this episode we begin with everything from infighting between the parties to a new organization trying to empower and get out the African American vote.
In addition, we debate the difference between Warren and Sanders (and how I have come to understand the dislike many democrats have with the senator from Vermont).
So in honor of the 13 keys, we have the 8 items. Let’s begin:
The ninth factor
Ok, so I said there were eight items that we will cover. But in fact there are nine.
That ninth factor is gerrymander/voter suppression. I combine the two because gerrymander, in my opinion is a form of voter suppression.
The US Supreme Court guts the VRA
Remember, section 5 of the voting rights act was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2010 in a case called Shelby County vs Holder. That case is described as follows by the Brennan Center for Justice:
In April 2010, Shelby County, Alabama filed suit asking a federal court in Washington, DC to declare Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. Section 5 is a key part of the Voting Rights Act, requiring certain jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to submit any proposed changes in voting procedures to the U.S. Department of Justice or a federal district court in D.C. – before it goes into effect – to ensure the change would not harm minority voters. In September 2011, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia upheld the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and in May 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed with the district court that Section 5 was constitutional. Shelby County appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court agreed to take the case in November 2012.
On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the coverage formula in Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act — which determines which jurisdictions are covered by Section 5 — is unconstitutional because it is based on an old formula. As a practical matter this means that Section 5 is inoperable until Congress enacts a new coverage formula, which the decision invited Congress to do. The Brennan Center’s statement on the decision is available here.
Since section five was removed from the voting rights act, gerrymandering and voter purges and voter id has spread through the country like wild fire.
Then earlier this year, as we discussed, the Court continued to uphold the crazy gerrymandered lines created by state legislators saying, in effect, the federal government cannot make a determination as to the constitutionality of gerrymandering.
This was a devastating blow to Democrats.
Republicans try to block fair district lines
As a response to the court decision, states have tried to take the power to gerrymander out of the hands of state legislators and Republicans are blocking those efforts.
In New Hampshire, the Republican governor vetoed a bill that would create an independent commission responsible for drawing the district lines after the 2020 census.
According to NBC News:
“The bill would have asked a commission made up of 15 citizens — five Republicans, five Democrats, and five unaffiliated members — to draw the maps used for legislative, congressional, and Executive Council districts. Politicians would still vote to approve those maps, but they wouldn’t be allowed to draw the lines themselves, according to The Union Leader.
While the Granite State doesn’t have the kind of crazy-looking districts that have made headlines elsewhere in the nation, there’s still signs of gerrymandering, something supporters of the measure had hoped the commission would reduce. New Hampshire Public Radio analyzed 30 years of election data, and found consistent Republican advantage in the district maps.
“In the 11 state elections since 1994, Republicans have often come out with 10 to 15 percent more seats in the Senate than a neutral map would have yielded. The imbalance has been particularly stark over the past three elections,” the outlet wrote in their analysis.
Democrats plan a new strategy
Democrats have not given up. Democrats have used ballot initiatives and state courts instead of the federal courts. Why?
Activists and democrats came together in 2018 and got the state courts to look at harsh gerrymandering in Pennsylvania. In that case, the Democrats won and the courts ordered fairer redistricting lines drawn.
When Republicans tried to sue in the U.S. Supreme Court, they were turned away. As Reuters reports:
The justices, with no noted dissents, on Monday rejected the Republican appeal of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling throwing out the previous Republican-drawn map because it violated the state constitution’s requirement that elections be “free and equal” by marginalizing Democratic voters.
The high court previously rejected two Republican requests to block the new district boundaries that the state high court issued to replace the old map, which had been in effect since 2011. Republicans have held 13 of the state’s 18 U.S. House seats since 2011 despite Pennsylvania being a closely divided bellwether state.
Why isn’t anyone talking about Common Cause v Lewis
In perhaps the most important, most watched state court case, Democrats and independent groups, are looking to overturn statewide gerrymandering in North Carolina.
Like in Pennsylvania they are using the state courts. In a case called Common Cause v Lewis, a group called Common cause, along with state voters and Democrats, claim legislators in 2017 drew redistricting lines that favored the GOP and disenfranchised non Republican voters.
Because the lines violate provisions in the NORTH CAROLINA constitution like the Equal Protection Clause; the Free Elections Clause; and the Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly Clauses, Common Cause argues the lines are unconstitutional, and should not be used for the next election and need to be redrawn.
And if the plaintiffs win and lines must be redrawn, expect the same template to be used by democrats against partisan gerrymandering nationwide.
Draining the swamp?
In honor of Common Cause v Lewis, MSNBC’s American Swamp’s recent episode went to North Carolina on Sunday’s episode. Take a look at this clip:
Is the economy good or bad for Trump
Finally, I talk today about the jobs numbers. Revisions in the job numbers, something that is done routinely, look good, but are not the bang up numbers Trump had promised.
According to NPR the economy looks to be slowing down, but the jobs numbers are continuing at a “healthy pace”.
Employers added 164,000 jobs last month, as the unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%, the Labor Department said Friday. The jobless rate remains at a nearly 50-year low.
Analysts had expected about 165,000 jobs to be added in July and the unemployment rate to be 3.6%.
Job gains for the two previous months were revised downward by a total of 41,000. Over the past three months, monthly job growth has averaged about 140,000 — down from 233,000 in the final three months of 2018.