In his commentary during the Presidential Inauguration, Chris Mathews spoke with Rachel Maddow and other MSNBC panelists about how the Republican Party has finally come to the realization that their demographics are in trouble, and that in order to win swing states going forward, they’ll have to begin using some of Paul Ryan’s math to get the numbers they need to win. Matthews said, “And what I see them doing is saying, ‘Okay, we know we’re never going to be popular again, so we’re going to have to rig it.” Think it can’t happen? Think again – it already has.
During the President’s Inauguration, the Virginia Republican Party took control of the state’s Senate while Democratic Senator Henry Marsh – Democrat and civil rights crusader – was out of state attending the ceremonies in Washington, D.C. In his absence, Republicans had a 20-19 majority and could basically push through whatever lopsided legislation they saw fit (and they did). TPM reported on Monday:
With Marsh’s absence, Senate Republicans in Richmond had one more vote than Senate Democrats and could push the measure through. The new redistricting map revises the districts created under the 2011 map and would take effect before the next state Senate elections in Virginia and would redraw district lines to maximize the number of safe GOP seats.
The move was a surprise to just about everyone, including Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell who has not yet pledged to endorse the new district lines, which must now go through the GOP-controlled House of Delegates and finally across McDonnell’s desk before final approval.
Some of the sparse details from the AP: After the measure was sprung on unsuspecting Democrats, its sponsor, Republican Sen. John Watkins of Powhatan, defended it as an effort to create another majority black Senate district. What he didn’t say is that it would create even more GOP-dominant districts.
Democrats are outraged.
Virginia isn’t alone; similar legislation has been introduced in several states. such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Don’t mistake this as a lone gunman effort by a handful of rogue Republicans to try to win back the country for conservatism; this has become a coordinated effort across key swing states to “rig” the next Presidential election one gerrymandered district at a time. It’s not a worst case scenario either – their strategy is already working. Just look at the House – the only reason the GOP retained control was due to gerrymandered districts in key states/districts. And that’s by their own admission:
Farther down-ballot, aggregated numbers show voters pulled the lever for Republicans only 49 percent of the time in congressional races, suggesting that 2012 could have been a repeat of 2008, when voters gave control of the White House and both chambers of Congress to Democrats.
But, as we see today, that was not the case. Instead, Republicans enjoy a 33-seat margin in the U.S. House seated yesterday in the 113th Congress, having endured Democratic successes atop the ticket and over one million more votes cast for Democratic House candidates than Republicans. The only analogous election in recent political history in which this aberration has taken place was immediately after reapportionment in 1972, when Democrats held a 50 seat majority in the U.S. House of Representatives while losing the presidency and the popular congressional vote by 2.6 million votes.
It looks like the new Republican slogan for the next elections will now be, “If you can’t beat’em – cheat’em!“
The Chris Matthews video segment is below the fold > > > >
Tim Peacock is the Managing Editor and founder of Peacock Panache and has worked as a civil rights advocate for over twenty years. During that time he's worn several hats including leading on campus LGBT advocacy in the University of Missouri campus system, interning with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, and volunteering at advocacy organizations. You can learn more about him at his personal website.