While the Democrats have held both the Executive Office, House of Representatives and Senate for the past year, times seem to be turning as redistricting and GOP support of local candidates ramp up for them to take the majority in Congress. Recently, the new districts have been drawn for North Carolina’s congressional seats for the House of Representatives. If you thought the last congress map was unconstitutional, this one should be considered a felony.
There are no districts that connect Orange County to Fayetteville via a bridge or following a major highway with low-income housing adjacent to it. It is very obvious that the NC GOP has done what they can to create yet again another gerrymandered and horrifically conservative representative cohort for NC. Splitting the Charlotte area off from the rest of Mecklenburg County, a predominantly liberal part of the state, pushes most of the progressive population together — splitting off the remainder of the democratic voting population to be swallowed up by the rural and conservative voting population. While they don’t look as obviously gerrymandered as the late congressional map, it is still very clear that the conservative state legislature has the goal to minimize democratic voices in the House of Representatives.
Both political parties are at fault for gerrymandering states' congressional maps all across the country. With the most current national election taking Democrats' favor, the GOP has plowed forward and is at the forefront of gerrymandering swing states and cementing the Republican majority. States like Louisiana have seen redistricting of large urban areas, like New Orleans, places in rural districts to minimize democratic votes. Salt Lake City has been split into other rural districts to wipe out the democratic majority in the area.
For those of us who live in Raleigh, there’s predominantly democratic voting throughout Orange County, Durham County and the city of Cary being pushed into one district. These liberal neighborhoods are on the outskirts as the district lines are very jagged and swerve in and out. Raleigh, for the most part, is encompassed in its own district entirely. However, as Wake County ends, so does the district. Those who vote liberally are left to be encompassed by the northern counties of the state which have historically voted in favor of the conservative incumbent.
Not to mention the other cities in our state that are either being split to pieces, like Greensboro, which is being pushed into rural districts thus minimizing the votes for those in the city. The southwest part of Greensboro as well as High Point will be voting on the same ballot as those who live right outside Charlotte — about 1.5 hours from each other. Those in northwest Guilford County/Greensboro will find themselves with the same ballot as those in Ashe County, 2 hours away from Greensboro — if not more. And those in southeast Greensboro will have the same ballot as those in south Cary or south Raleigh.
It is imminently concerning to those of us who understand our state is very diverse in people and in natural disasters. Those in the mountains are not going to have the same worries and struggles as those by the ocean. This district map clearly shows the goals of the GOP this election season — to undermine the voices of the democratic voters. From this map, it is very clear that undermining fair democracy is higher on lawmakers’ ballot than protecting those in our communities.
NC State is centered in the middle of the 5th congressional district — a very affluent and liberal district. While it is promised that a liberal representative will represent us here in Raleigh, it is a given that the majority of the North Carolina population will not be. With radical conservatism on the rise, rejection of higher education, dismissive behavior of basic health care and fear-mongering tactics on voters, it is beyond concerning what will become of our state if this congressional district map is not contested at the highest of courts.