Until recently, the state of North Carolina, where I live, was a bastion of political moderation, especially compared to our neighbors in the southeast. Our politics were moderate in part because the Democratic Party remained relatively strong in the state, and to survive in this region of the country had embraced center left, rather than the far left. Our politics were also moderate because of the influx of Northerners, arriving to places like the Raleigh Durham area where I live. As a result of this moderation, we developed high-tech industry corridors, provided excellent funding to our educational system, and became a pretty darn nice place to live.
This past year, Republicans took control of state government, and did not exactly pursue an agenda of political moderation. Moreover, this swing to the right was not justified by the political beliefs of the North Carolina population. Instead, a decent amount of the Republican’s political power resulted from gerrymandering, after the 2010 census. To get a sense of that, take a look at this figure from Mother Jones.
I am not a fan of gerrymandering, no matter what political party this practice benefits. Our elected officials ought to mirror the political allegiance of our population. And as a flaming moderate, politically speaking, I’m especially worried that gerrymandering is contributing to the increasing polarization of our population.
We really ought to give the job of political redistricting to nonpartisan commissions. Our democracy deserves better than this!