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Politics: Illinois Dems embrace gerrymandering in fight for US House

'Prison-based gerrymandering' inflates political power, shifts influence in Wisconsin

  'Prison-based gerrymandering' inflates political power, shifts influence in Wisconsin A practice known as "prison gerrymandering" is easy to see in Wisconsin's last political maps. And likely to play a role in the new ones.Jackson, 54, lives in Milwaukee. The last time census workers had come around, a decade earlier, he was 200 miles from home, serving a prison sentence in Black River Falls, Wisconsin. That’s where the census counted him as a resident the next 10 years.

CHICAGO (AP) — In the neck-and-neck fight to keep control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats need help from the few places where state lawmakers can make 2022 difficult for Republicans.

FILE - In this July 27, 2021 file photo, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. In the fight to keep control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats need help from the few places where state lawmakers can make 2022 difficult for Republicans. Illinois Democrats are delivering, using their dominance in state government to advance new congressional district maps on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, intended to eliminate two Republican-held districts and send more Democrats to Washington. (Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this July 27, 2021 file photo, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. In the fight to keep control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats need help from the few places where state lawmakers can make 2022 difficult for Republicans. Illinois Democrats are delivering, using their dominance in state government to advance new congressional district maps on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, intended to eliminate two Republican-held districts and send more Democrats to Washington. (Chip Somodevilla/Pool via AP File)

Illinois Democrats delivered Thursday, using their dominance in state government to advance new congressional district maps intended to eliminate two Republican-held districts and send more Democrats to Washington.

GOP gerrymandering will backfire on Republicans

  GOP gerrymandering will backfire on Republicans Gerrymandering doesn't just hurt Democrats — it also speeds up the Republican race to the bottom . GOP gerrymandering empowers an ever-larger cast of idiots, conspiracy theorists, con artists, and open white nationalists to win national office. The situation is bad now, with Congress home to characters like Taylor Green, Boebert and Florida's Rep. Matt Gaetz, currently under federal investigation for sex trafficking of minors. But it's about to get much worse. Very soon the clown car will unload its passengers into primary campaigns for all of these newly safe Republican seats created by gerrymandering.

To do it, Illinois Democrats have embraced gerrymandering, the practice of drawing district boundaries for political benefit that party leaders including former President Barack Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder have railed against as “rigging” elections. The new map is a collection of odd shapes resembling abstract art and, critics say, a symbol of Democrats' hypocrisy.

“This is a desperate map from a desperate party,” said Adam Kincaid, executive director of the National Republican Redistricting Trust, which coordinates redistricting for the GOP. He called it “America’s most extreme gerrymander.”

Both parties use gerrymandering, though Democrats more actively opposed it after the GOP used the practice in 2011 to create huge advantages for the next decade. Obama traveled to the Illinois Capitol where he once served as a state senator to deliver a speech about America's broken political system, saying gerrymandering — packing a party’s supporters into one district or dispersing the other party’s voters for political advantage — was the reason nothing could get done in Congress.

Dems Have to Choose on Gerrymandering: the High Road or More Seats

  Dems Have to Choose on Gerrymandering: the High Road or More Seats As states begin to cement their congressional maps for the next decade, Democrats have a choice. They can take the high road, operate as if their gerrymandering reforms had passed Congress, and try to draw fair lines that would accurately represent a state’s political composition. Or, with Republicans aiming to draw the most aggressively GOP-favorable maps possible in order to take back the House of Representatives, Democrats can play the same game.

FILE - In this April 23, 2020, file image from video, Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., speaks at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Illinois Democrats are delivering, using their dominance in state government to advance new congressional district maps on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, intended to eliminate two Republican-held districts and send more Democrats to Washington. Republican Rep. Davis, who said he may challenge Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker next year depending on the final map, was drawn into a safe GOP district that meanders from one side of the state to the other. (House Television via AP, File) © Provided by Associated Press FILE - In this April 23, 2020, file image from video, Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., speaks at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Illinois Democrats are delivering, using their dominance in state government to advance new congressional district maps on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, intended to eliminate two Republican-held districts and send more Democrats to Washington. Republican Rep. Davis, who said he may challenge Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker next year depending on the final map, was drawn into a safe GOP district that meanders from one side of the state to the other. (House Television via AP, File)

Democrats in some states even gave up their own power by pushing for independent commissions to draw boundaries. And Holder became chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which has backed legal challenges to GOP-drawn maps in places like North Carolina and Virginia.

Illinois Dems embrace gerrymandering in fight for US House

  Illinois Dems embrace gerrymandering in fight for US House CHICAGO (AP) — In the neck-and-neck fight to keep control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats need help from the few places where state lawmakers can make 2022 difficult for Republicans. Illinois Democrats delivered Thursday, using their dominance in state government to advance new congressional district maps intended to eliminate two Republican-held districts and send more Democrats to Washington. To do it, Illinois Democrats have embraced gerrymandering, the practice of drawing district boundaries for political benefit that party leaders including former President Barack Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder have railed against as “rigging” ele

Democrats in Illinois, meanwhile, have done all they can to exert control and ensure it benefits their candidates for elections through 2030. Even with Illinois losing a seat due to population loss, the map was drawn to create a congressional delegation of 14 Democrats and three Republicans starting in 2022, a change from the current 13-5 split. The Princeton Gerrymandering Project, a nonpartisan group that evaluates maps, gave Illinois' maps an “F” grade, saying they give Democrats a significant advantage and are “very uncompetitive.”

The maps — along with maps in other Democrat-controlled states like New York — could be pivotal as Democrats try to hold their narrow majority in next year’s midterms, when the party in the White House has historically performed poorly. Republicans are in charge of the mapmaking known as redistricting in more than twice the number of states as Democrats, including large, growing states like Texas and Florida.

Illinois Democrats defended the maps they released late Thursday and passed a short time later, saying they ensure minorities and other Illinois residents have an equal voice in government.

'Prison gerrymandering' endures in Nevada, despite law

  'Prison gerrymandering' endures in Nevada, despite law CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Incomplete demographic information that Nevada prison officials provided lawmakers preparing to redraw the state's political maps is prompting questions and frustration two years after the Legislature passed a law to count incarcerated residents in their home communities during the once-in-a-decade redistricting process. The data gap suggests Nevada's efforts to end so-called “prison gerrymandering” are far from complete as lawmakers prepare to implement a recently passed ban of the practice for the first time later this year. “Here we are, in 2021, with half of the people that we aren’t being able to identify.

“I'm proud of this map,” said Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, a sponsor of the redistricting legislation. “This is a fair map and it reflects the diversity of the state of Illinois.” He also said lawmakers chose to unite communities “that shared political philosophies and policy objectives.”

Democrats added a second predominantly Latino district, after census data showed Illinois' Latino population grew over the past decade. They also maintained three predominantly Black districts.

GOP Reps. Adam Kinzinger, one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach former President Donald Trump, and Darin LaHood were put into the same heavily Republican district, as were GOP Reps. Mike Bost and Mary Miller.

Republican Rep. Rodney Davis, who said he may challenge Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker next year depending on the final map, was drawn into a safe GOP district that meanders from one side of the state to the other. It surrounds another Democrat-leaning district that was carved as a narrow squiggle stretching nearly 200 miles (322 kilometers) from the home of the University of Illinois to Democrat-friendly communities east of St. Louis. A former aide to Pritzker who worked in the Biden administration, Democrat Nikki Budzinski, is running for the seat.

On The Money — Presented by Citi — Dems edge closer to deal on Biden agenda

  On The Money — Presented by Citi — Dems edge closer to deal on Biden agenda Happy Election Day and welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Today's Big Deal: Democrats may actually be able to get their massive economic bill together. We'll also look at haggling over government funding and updates on President Biden's Fed picks.But first, some indecent exposure on the sidelines of COP26.And a quick reminder: You can follow all of the latest news from the biggest elections around the U.S. at TheHill.com all night.For The Hill, I'm Sylvan Lane. Write me at [email protected] or @SylvanLane.

Not all Democrats are happy. First-term Democratic Rep. Marie Newman was drawn into the same majority-Latino district as Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, a late-in-the-game move that Newman said was done “to appease one person and a small handful of affluent insiders at the expense of workers and working families” in her current district.

Democrats say that move — sacrificing one of their own party — proves the new maps are fair and should survive expected court challenges.

The Illinois Senate approved the maps late Thursday, with all Republicans voting no, and it later passed the House.

Democrats' aggressive mapmaking started earlier this year, when they insisted on approving new state legislative maps — which will strengthen their hold on the state House and Senate for another decade — using population estimates rather than census bureau data, making Illinois the only state in the nation to do so. Legislative leaders said they faced a deadline set by the state constitution, but that deadline was only for Democrats to have total control of the process, rather than a bipartisan commission.

Lawmakers had to redo those maps after census data showed they were unconstitutional because the districts varied dramatically in population. Lawsuits seeking to have the new maps thrown out are pending.

Pritzker signed both the first set of legislative maps and the do-over maps, despite pledging during his 2018 campaign that he would veto any legislative maps drawn by politicians. He is expected to sign Democrats' congressional maps as well.

Formerly convicted ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich sues for right to seek elected office again .
Former Illinois governor and felon Rod Blagojevich filed a lawsuit against the state, demanding that his right to run for elected office get reinstated. © Terrence Antonio James/AP Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich holds a press conference outside the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. Blagojevich reportedly was at the courthouse to file a lawsuit challenging the Illinois General Assembly’s disqualifying resolution that prohibits him from running for any state or local office in Illinois.

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