Our View: Looking at redistricting and the election

Nov. 13, 2012 @ 10:05 AM

It was a rough and tumble election season that has come close to drawing to an end.

Like everyone else, people are examining the results and trying to make sense of what it all means.

One item, related to the election that might be overlooked is that of redistricting.

This past year, North Carolina Republicans set forth to redistrict the state's House and Senate's seats.

Most would be under the impression that Republicans made an attempt to work redistricting in their favor.

And, looking over the political landscape and the election itself, if that was the desired outcome, the work state Republicans put into redistricting was certainly successful in making that happen.

Across the state, Republicans picked up 53 percent of the votes cast in the election, when it came to Senate races. Switching gears, the GOP won 51 percent of the vote in state House elections.

In theory, using those figures, one might assume that most House and Senate races were close in margin. However, that was not really the case.

Republicans picked up 77 of the 120 seats in the House and 31 of the 50 seats in the Senate.

In the Herald-Sun, a professor of political science at Duke University looked over the results and the meaning of the recent redistricting.

Michael Munger said that there was a reason why Democrats once had a stranglehold on the General Assembly in North Carolina.

"The reason we had a Democratic majority for so long is because that's how people voted," Munger said. "Here, [with the new lines] the Democrats could get 51 percent and not get a majority of the Legislature."

Now, before everyone gets in a wrinkle and suggests that North Carolina is the only area where a majority has taken control of redistricting, Munger said to wait a second.

“It’s as if the gloves are off, there are no rules, it’s pure partisan advantage like in the 19th century," Munger said in The Herald Sun. "If you think the legislature should reflect the will of the voters, this thwarts it. But I have little illusion. This is about power, not representation.”

When it comes down to it, it is not about the party, but more about the power. That is the unfortunate reality of which we currently live.

Perhaps now is the time to take a hard look at putting redistricting into the hands of an independent entity, as opposed to letting those in power make all the rules.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board


The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark