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Tipsheet

Friendly Reminder: Democrats Care About Their Own Power, Not 'Democracy' or Norms

I posted a short Twitter thread over the weekend that went somewhat viral, so I figured I'd amplify and expand upon it here, for good measure.  There are plenty of causes for alarm regarding Republicans' commitment to the rule of law and the country's constitutional order these days -- not the least of which is how Donald Trump's big lie about the 2020 election has apparently become a litmus test for a majority of GOP voters.  Then there's the former president's full and deepening embrace of the crackpot theory that his Vice President could have unilaterally "overturned" the election during the formal count.  If Republican voters decide that they'd like to endlessly re-litigate their side's last electoral loss as a central issue in 2024, turning what could be a relatively clean referendum on the Biden administration's atrocious stewardship of the country into a brawl over 2020 "fraud" and January 6th, that's their business.  It would seem as though the smarter move would be to put away the past and move forward with someone new who can advance the conservative-populist blend of Trumpism without being saddled with the array of risky baggage and wide unpopularity of Trump himself.  Perhaps more and more right-leaning voters are, in fact, coming around to this same conclusion.  But that's a conversation for another day.

On the other side of the aisle, we have the Democrats, who have spent the last five years positioning themselves as good-government, selfless guardians of truth, justice and the American way.  They've fancied themselves the defenders of norms and institutions.  They've lectured us about fealty to democracy and rejection of election lies.  They've demanded that "patriotic" Republicans place the interests of the country above the interests of the party.  Alas, it's all a self-righteous charade.  The Democrats are the party of Stacey Abrams' big lie, which is morphing into an even bigger and more insidious lie about the legitimacy of upcoming US elections.  This isn't mere fringe kookery either; it's been served up in various forms by President Biden, Vice President Harris, and senior members of Congressional Democratic leadership:

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As we've written before, the Left has made a show of wrapping itself in the flag of institutions and norms as an anti-Trump posture, yet progressives inevitably assail every norm and institution that they perceive as an obstacle to their power and agenda.  They've attacked the Supreme Court, the electoral college, and the US Senate, among others.  They've shamelessly reversed or quietly discarded any number of ostensible "principles" out of pure, unadulterated political expediency.  They've railed against what they see as GOP advantages as bad for democracy...up until the nanosecond that they perceive a shift in the advantage, at which point bad for democracy abuses become, well, acceptable.  Possibly Good. Vital, even.  Two glaring examples of this:


Red money in politics is billionaires buying and polluting our elections.  Blue money in politics is civic engagement, advocacy, and accountability.  Gerrymandering is a terrible scheme used by Republicans to harm Democrats and people of color -- except when it can be wielded by the forces of good and light to help Democrats maintain power, that is:

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Newly proposed congressional maps drawn by Democrats could cut New York’s current Republican delegation by half — eliminating at least one upstate seat and jeopardizing three others. The Democrat-controlled state Legislature unveiled plans Sunday to shrink the GOP’s eight seats to just four, according to a proposed redistricting map...New York’s new 1st District held by GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin of Suffolk) — who is vacating his seat to run for governor against Gov. Kathy Hochul — would trend further blue, thus “creating an exceptional Dem pickup opportunity,” tweeted Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report, the national nonpartisan group that analyzes elections. The district would change from Trump plus 4 to Biden plus 11.  “Unlike Dems’ Illinois gerrymander, which was thrown together pretty sloppily at the last minute, I can only find a few isolated places where this NY gerrymander ‘strands’ Dem votes in GOP districts – and even then, we’re talking fractions of points. It’s a brutal map for Rs,” he added.

...State Republican Party Chairman Nick Langworthy slammed the plans as a “brazen and outrageous attempt at rigging the election to keep Nancy Pelosi as speaker.” “Democrats are circumventing the will of the people,” he said in a statement. “For all of their phony protestations about transparency and fairness in elections, what they’re doing is textbook filthy, partisan gerrymandering that is clearly in violation of the New York State Constitution. We are reviewing all of our legal options to protect the voices of millions of New Yorkers.” ... The maps could be voted on by lawmakers as early as Wednesday. Democrats in the Legislature gained control of the map-drawing process following a breakdown in bipartisan negotiations earlier this month within an independent redistricting commission that was mandated by a 2014 voter referendum to redraw the lines.
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So the independent redistricting commission created by the will of New York's voters got bogged down in negotiations, so majority Democrats took over the process and are trying to eliminate half of the GOP-held seats in the state.  This is very on-brand for these frauds:  


So much democracy.  Again, I can't really object to a political party using the redistricting system to its own advantage.  It's the phony posturing and empty sanctimony of the Democrats -- angrily opposing gerrymandering, ostensibly supporting less political processes, etc -- that is both laughable and intolerable.  Over in New Jersey, the "independent" process has been strikingly opaque corrupt (as it was in Illinois), which is just fine by Democrats because it benefits them and their ambitions:  

Democrats and Republicans who participated in in four days of meetings at a Cherry Hill hotel last month confirmed that the Princeton Gerrymandering Project would not show their work, claiming that the formulas they were using were proprietary to them. “We asked them to show us the algorithm they used to make their calculations,” the individual told the New Jersey Globe.  “They told us no, that it was propriety.” Instead, neither party was able to fully understand the metrics that ultimately helped Wallace make his decision...Some Democrats admitted that they received some extra help from two Princeton Gerrymandering Project staffers who were working forWallace, Hannah Wheelan and Helen Brewer. “I got the sense that they really wanted us to win,” said a Democrat who was part of the Cherry Hill meetings.  “The only reason I’m not mad is because we won.” Staffers from the Princeton Gerrymandering Project quietly gave Democrats some valuable feedback that would ultimately play into their final map submission...

By doing that, the Princeton staffer appears to have broken a promise confidentiality that Wallace had offered both parties. Republicans said they received no similar intelligence, although both sides received feedback from Wallace and his team during individual sessions in Cherry Hill...A report by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School flagged the Wallace map as a partisan gerrymander, and FiveThirtyEight’s Nathaniel Rakich labeled the new congressional map as having a “strong pro-Democratic bias.” “The process was acrimonious and did not produce a fair map,” said Rakich of New Jersey’s redistricting commission, which has six Democrats, six Republicans, and a tiebreaker that was recommended to the Supreme Court by the Democrats.
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Republicans do similarly sketchy things when they control the decisions, of course.  And they're loudly decried as threats to the republic across the public square.  Just spare me Democrats' holier-than-thou act.  My thread concluded with these points (content warning for a little spicy language):


Unlike the partisans responsible for rigging New Jersey's gerrymandering scheme, I'll show my work on these assertions, including regarding the media's overt agitation on behalf of left-wing power grabs, as opposed to their truth-to-power, klaxon-blaring coverage when the ideological roles are reversed.  Yup:

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