Obama will join ex-AG Holder to redraw House district lines

While his post-presidential plans almost certainly include handsome speaking fees and a lucrative book deal detailing his Oval Office years, President Obama intends to devote some of his post-White House career to a new group working toward redrawing U.S. electoral district boundaries for both the House of Representatives and state legislatures.

Created at the end of the summer, the new group, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), is set to be led by former Attorney General Eric Holder, now with corporate law firm, Covington & Burling.

“American voters deserve fair maps that represent our diverse communities — and we need a coordinated strategy to make that happen.  This unprecedented new effort will ensure Democrats have a seat at the table to create fairer maps after 2020,”said Holder.

Incorporated on Aug. 15 as a tax-exempt 527 group, the NDRC is allied with the Democratic Governors Association House Majority PAC.

Describing the president’s role with NDRC, White House political director David Simas responded in a way which described the president functioning similarly to Mr. Obama’s career as a community organizer on Chicago’s south side before entering the Illinois State Senate:

“Where he will be most politically engaged will be at the state legislative level, with an eye on redistricting after 2020,” he said.

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A map showing examples of gerrymandering: Democratic U.S. House districts in N.C., Fla., Pa., Md., Texas (courtesy im-an-economist.blogspot.com)

After the U.S. Census report is published every 10 years, the majority party in Congress has the privilege of redrawing House district lines based on population shifts which sometimes adds or subtracts the amount a representatives each state is allotted.

In 2010, after a wave of new conservatives were swept into the House, Republicans took control of Congress’ lower-chamber and were able to redraw districts based on the 2010 census. Many Democrats, independents and moderate Republicans now complain that the new districts were so badly gerrymandered that the number of competitive congressional races were significantly reduced, resulting in the political polarization that has been a main cause of Washington gridlock that currently exists today.

 

[Politico] [Photo courtesy AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais via Salon]