Republicans Discover the Horror of Gerrymandering

Russell Berman in The Atlantic:

The wails of protest began almost immediately after the lopsided votes concluded in the New York legislature earlier this month. Lawmakers in Albany had redrawn the state’s congressional map to create what instantly became perhaps the nation’s most brutal gerrymander. The “most brazen and outrageous attempt at rigging the election,” a party chair cried. “Egregious, unfair, and unconstitutional,” a senior member of Congress proclaimed. “It’s the voters who should be choosing their representatives, not the other way around,” declared another lawmaker who had been targeted for defeat in the reshuffling.

Voters are surely familiar with these complaints; Democrats have been making them—verbatim, in many cases—for years, accusing Republicans of using extreme partisan gerrymandering to tilt elections in their favor and entrench themselves in the majority. This time, however, Republicans were the victims of a supposed power grab, and they were the ones grousing about it.

The Democrats who control New York politics had drawn maps that could essentially wipe out half of the GOP’s eight congressional seats in the state before a single vote is cast. “It is wrong, and it is illegal,” Representative Elise Stefanik, the upstate New Yorker who serves as chair of the House Republican Conference, told me last week. She is supporting a lawsuit that Republicans nationally and in New York have filed against the Democratic-drawn map, alleging that it violates a prohibition in the state’s constitution against partisan gerrymandering.

More here.