Before Russian hacking, there was gerrymandering. It’s a practice that dates back to the early 19th Century and one that Republicans exploited with unprecedented ruthlessness, redrawing district lines after the tea party insurgency of 2010 to give themselves an undemocratic advantage in both federal and state legislative elections.
Undoing the injustice became a central mission of President Barack Obama’s post presidency when he teamed with former Attorney General Eric Holder to launch the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), with the purpose of enacting a “multi-cycle Democratic Party redistricting strategy over the next 5 years and beyond.”
As with any new organization, especially one with a mission that has flown largely below the national radar, the first few months can be tenuous and provide early insight into the group’s long-term viability. For Obama and Holder’s NRDC, that insight has arrived in the form of its July fundraising report
The NRDC raised a whopping $10.8 billion since its formation in mid-January, Politico reports. While the group received a few large contributions from mega-donors Fred Eychaner, Donald Sussman, Jon Stryker, and J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath, the total reflects the support of more than 10,000 Americans.
“The NDRC’s significant fundraising in its first six months will allow us to take on gerrymandering and reform our electoral system,” said Holder who serves as the NRDC’s Chair. “This will be done through our courts, at the ballot box, and through support of ballot initiatives that create non-partisan commissions and other electoral reforms.”
With a new census coming in 2020, the next two election cycles will be key to determining who redraws the next decade’s district lines and whether they will empower the voters to chose our elected officials or if Republicans politicians will again scheme to handpick their voters.
With NRDC, Obama and Holder intend to recruit and help elect progressive candidates who will undo the damage that has been done, ensure Democrats have the legal resources to reject unconstitutional disenfranchisement, and utilize ballot initiative to redraw fairer district lines.
If they are successful, the end result will be legislative bodies that again reflect the will of the people they are supposed to represent. Today’s announcement is a major step toward that reality, thanks to the strong and continued leadership of President Obama and his team.
Learn more about the work of National Democratic Redistricting Committee here.