by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Viewers of UNC-TV’s “Front Row with Marc Rotterman” might recognize the headline phrase as a lighthearted description of Democrats’ approach to public policy in North Carolina. The idea is that Democrats will continue to go to court to block policies they don’t like from the Republican-led General Assembly.
The Democrats have a political problem and a geographic problem. This problem goes beyond the number of seats Democrats must gain to control the U.S. House or many statehouses, and surpasses the unfavorable map Democrats face in the Senate. The problem facing the Democrats nationally is that their voting base is tightly clustered into coastal states and large urban areas. To fix this geographic problem, Democrats are not seeking a political solution to try to persuade more American voters to support their principles. Rather, Democrats are seeking to persuade the United States Supreme Court to adopt a wholesale change in how electoral districts are created in this country.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court [heard] the “partisan gerrymandering” case Gill v. Whitford. Essentially, the Democrats’ claim is that the Wisconsin legislature, when drawing their state’s electoral districts, used an “unconstitutional” amount of politics when drawing the district lines. This is a claim that would have been as absurd to our founding fathers as it is today. Even more absurd, Democrats’ efforts to prove that politics played an unconstitutional role have forced them to rely on a strange, unproven, and methodologically unsound mathematical exercise they call the “efficiency gap.”
The so-called efficiency gap seeks to measure the amount of proportional representation a party “should” receive among any number of districts in a two-party race. On its face, the efficiency gap sounds eminently reasonable, but scratch the surface and it becomes apparent that there is no “there” there. The efficiency gap’s flaws are detrimental to American democracy as we know it.