Report on the Georgia hearing; what’s next?

Washington Post summarizes. Given the Republican non-participation, this doesn’t sound like an effective strategy to overcome a filibuster. USA Today reports that Senate Democrats, essentially abandoning S1, will turn instead to VRA reform “this autumn”; if true, this presumably means giving up any attempt to curtail partisan gerrymandering before new maps are drawn for the 2022 midterms. It is astonishing to me that Democrats would cede the issue of partisan gerrymandering before the midterms; if Republicans win the House solely because of partisan gerrymandering, as some of them brazenly are hoping, Democrats will have no one but themselves to blame as a a result of how they’ve mishandled the issue of electoral reform since January 6. In my view, if Democrats were to act consistently with their professed belief that American democracy is facing an existential crisis (as President Biden argued in his speech last week), Democrats would be prioritizing the need for Congress to enact a measure to prevent partisan gerrymandering from distorting the maps to be drawn for the 2022 midterms. (I wholeheartedly agree with Dave Wasserman, who tweeted last week that gerrymandering rather than voting restrictions of the kind legislated in Georgia, or under consideration in Texas, is much more likely to determine which party prevails in the midterms.)

For those of us looking ahead to January 6, 2025, and the possibility that Congress will repudiate the result of a presidential election in a way that was attempted this past January 6 but did not succeed (this time), a House controlled by one political party solely because of partisan gerrymandering could make all the difference between the survival or death of American democracy. When one considers that there’s time before November 2022 to worry about voting rights (in terms of casting and counting ballots), but there’s almost no time left to address the problem of partisan gerrymandering before new maps will be drawn based on census data soon too be released, I would have thought that congressional hearings now should focus on ways to tackle partisan gerrymandering, rather than today’s field trip to Georgia.

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