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EDITORIAL: Democrats now embrace gerrymandering

Today we offer a lesson in civics, progressive style. When Republicans redraw electoral maps to their advantage, the very fabric of American civilization hangs by a thread, and the survival of our democratic republic is in grave doubt. But when Democrats engage in precisely the same behavior … move along people, nothing to see here.

On Tuesday, Nevada’s legislative Democrats unveiled their plan for new congressional and legislative districts. Democrats run the show in Carson City, so they’re in charge of redistricting, which occurs every 10 years based on census data. Lawmakers will meet for a special session in the coming days to tweak and pass the proposal.

“Throughout the state, we’ve proposed compact districts that keep local communities together, including maintaining representation for rural and Northern Nevada and undoing the prior map’s splitting of tribal communities,” Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson and Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro said in a statement.

Isn’t that special? Left out of their self-serving homage is the fact that the new maps heavily favor the Democratic Party and are intended to ensure that the GOP remains in the legislative minority for as long as possible, while also attempting to solidify three of the state’s four congressional districts for the party.

As it now stands, each party has one safe congressional seat — a GOP seat in rural Nevada and a Democratic seat in urban Las Vegas — while the other two districts, largely in Clark County, lean Democratic but have been competitive. The new maps leave Republicans a safe rural seat but lock in large Democratic advantages in the three other districts.

A similar dynamic is at work in the redrawn legislative boundaries. The new map is an obvious attempt to keep Republicans in the minority for the next decade.

When GOP lawmakers in states such as Texas or North Carolina have drawn districts to maximize their political advantage, Democrats have mewled about voter suppression or “Putin-style democracy,” as one progressive activist described it. After the inevitable lawsuits, they demand to change the rules through the creation of “nonpartisan” commissions that are supposed to remove the politics from the process.

Funny thing, though. When the Nevada League of Women Voters in 2019 proposed a ballot initiative to place redistricting in the hands of an appointed independent panel, state Democrats mobilized to quash the reform. Probably a coincidence.

Elections have consequences, as they say, and Nevada Republicans are now reduced to throwing Hail Marys to the courts once Democrats in Carson City approve the maps. But if this exercise reveals anything, it’s that Democratic hyperventilating over gerrymandering is a whole lot of festering malarkey.

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