New York Times podcast 'The Daily' frame gerrymandering from Democrats as creating fair maps

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The New York Times podcast “The Daily” framed how Democrats in blue states gerrymandering their congressional maps created the “fairest” maps in a generation.

Thursday’s episode titled “How Democrats Evened the Congressional Map” framed the extensive gerrymandering efforts by Democrats in states like New York, Oregon, and Illinois in a favorable light.

“After years of partisan gerrymandering, America’s congressional map has heavily favored Republicans over Democrats until now,” host Michael Barbaro began, calling the current map the “fairest in a generation.”

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Signs direct voters into a polling station during the 2020 presidential election in Durham, North Carolina, Nov. 3, 2020.

Signs direct voters into a polling station during the 2020 presidential election in Durham, North Carolina, Nov. 3, 2020.
(REUTERS/Jonathan Drake/File Photo)

New York Times’ Upshot correspondent Nate Cohn described the process of gerrymandering and how Republicans utilized it after the 2010 midterm election. 

“In recent decades, the Republicans have done really well in this process. They have controlled the redistricting process in more states than Democrats, and they’ve used that power to draw more Republican-leaning districts than Democrats,” Cohn said.

In addition, he added that this form of Republican gerrymandering has been used to “build a significant structural advantage in the House of Representatives, one that gives them the ability to win the House of Representatives even though they may not always win the most votes.”

Barbaro commented that this “in a lowercase-d democrat sense is not how the system is supposed to work,” 

Election officials help check in voters at a polling location in Raritan, New Jersey, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. New Jersey voters lean Democratic, but frustration over high taxes has kept Democrats from winning second terms as governor for more than four decades.

Election officials help check in voters at a polling location in Raritan, New Jersey, U.S., on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. New Jersey voters lean Democratic, but frustration over high taxes has kept Democrats from winning second terms as governor for more than four decades.
(Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

While Barbaro and Cohn recognized that Democrats have gerrymandered to the benefit of themselves, the New York Times reporters complimented multiple times the “strangely balanced” map that has emerged from their efforts.

“What it tells us, though, the fight for the House is going to be pretty fair, so the party that wins the most votes is probably going to win control of the House of Representatives,” Cohn said. 

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Cohn added the “partisan fairness” has still been achieved with more Biden-leaning districts.

“That basic partisan fairness has been accomplished here. In fact, this map is more fair than the typical map that’s drawn by a non-partisan commission in a lot of states.,” he said. 

The office of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York is pictured in New York, New York, U.S.

The office of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York is pictured in New York, New York, U.S.
(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

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On Thursday, a New York judge tossed out the Democrat drawn state legislature and congressional maps. Acting state Supreme Court Justice Patrick F. McAllister of the Steuben County Supreme Court ruled that “the court finds by clear evidence and beyond a reasonable doubt that the congressional map was unconstitutionally drawn with political bias.” Democrats redrew the map to give them an advantage in 22 of the 26 congressional seats. 

Jon Brown contributed to this report. 

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