Karl Rove does not believe that protecting democracy is at the forefront of former President Obama’s redistricting idea.
The former White House deputy chief of staff criticized Obama and his former attorney general, Eric Holder, who have taken up the cause of congressional redistricting.
In an op-ed published by Fox News, Rove called out Obama who “has lashed out at Republicans for supposedly gerrymandering themselves into control of the House of Representatives,” referring to the practice of manipulating district boundaries to favor a certain political party.
The former president, who claimed that “protecting” democracy requires “rethinking the way we draw our congressional districts,” has focused his post-presidential political activity on the issue, joining forces with Holder who chairs the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.
Obama appeared in a video for the organization back in the summer, arguing that Republicans would gain an advantage if districts were not redrawn.
Rove blasted Obama for his assertion that the GOP “moves our debate from the rational, reasonable middle, where most Americans are, to the extremes. And that makes commonsense policies that most Americans support less likely.”
According to Rove:
Then in a burst of typical self-righteous sanctimony, Obama argues that Republican dominance in redistricting is “not good for our children and regardless of our party affiliations, it’s not good for our democracy.” The former president asserts each party should get representation roughly equal to its share of the congressional popular vote.
To achieve this, Obama and Holder argue, Americans should elect more Democrats (how remarkably convenient) to state legislatures and create appointed states commissions to handle redistricting.
Midterm elections led states such as Colorado, Michigan, Missouri and Utah to approve these state commissions and in California and Iowa, they already are in place.
“There are more problems with this than just the typical, stale attack on Republicans as ‘not good for our children’ and ‘not good for our democracy,'” Rove wrote. “The results of the November midterms show that the former president and his attorney general are inaccurately describing the role of Republicans in redistricting.”
Democrats should have 231 House seats, and Republicans 204, according to Obama’s line of thinking as 53 percent of the total midterm popular vote went to Democratic U.S. House candidates, Rove wrote, citing Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman.
The new incoming House has 233 Democrats to 199 Republicans, as of Tuesday night, with three undecided seats, according to Fox News.
“That doesn’t mean that gerrymandering isn’t a factor. But if the measure of gerrymandering is one party getting a much bigger share of seats than its share of the popular vote, then it’s Democrats in California and Iowa who are getting more seats than they deserve,” Rove explained.
“And – irony of ironies – both states have supposedly nonpartisan commissions that draw their congressional district boundaries,” he added.
Rove expounded on how in California congressional races, although Democrats received 65 percent of the popular vote and Republicans received 34 percent, Democrats came away with 87 percent of the state’s U.S. House seats – winning 45 of the state’s 53 congressional seats.
“But rather than splitting the delegation between 46 Democrats and seven Republicans (assuming Democrats win the one seat still undecided), President Obama’s popular vote standard would point to split of 35 Democrats and 18 Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation – more than twice the number of Republicans who were elected,” Rove wrote.
He showed how a similar scenario unfolded in Iowa, another state with a redistricting commission.
“Here’s a good-faith test for Obama and Holder: Will they now strongly denounce the gerrymandering of California’s congressional seats and urge reforms that lead to Republicans gaining a proper share of the state’s congressional delegations?” Rove asked.
“If not, Americans can assume that the former president and his attorney general aren’t really trying to improve our democracy – they’re trying to advance the interests of the Democratic Party,” he suggested. “Should we be surprised?”