A trolling map

Published February 17, 2022

By Thomas Mills

Note: this blog was posted on February 16, 2022

Late last night, North Carolina House Republicans released a new version of Congressional districts. It’s a trolling map. Republicans give Democrats four safe seats and keep one competitive. Republicans will retain nine solidly GOP districts. 

The map puts Orange County in the 9th Congressional District which is represented by Mecklenburg Republican Dan Bishop. It winds about 125 miles through rural North Carolina and ends up in Union County and the suburbs of Charlotte. Orange County and Union County have little in common economically, culturally, or socially. I suspect the point is to have liberal Orange County represented by one of Congress’s most openly and proudly bigoted members. It’s little more than trolling. I don’t think it will fly.

The map also forces Madison Cawthorn to rethink his decision to file in the 10th Congressional District. In the new map, he would face fellow incumbent Patrick McHenry. If the map stays, I suspect he will refile in the 11th, which would be more solidly Republican. House Speaker Tim Moore still doesn’t have a district. 

 The map also trolls the court, showing that GOP mapmakers can continue to draw maps that heavily favor Republicans and heavily discourages competition. Republicans believe that it’s their right draw maps that reflect little of the sentiment of the state. I suspect they are daring the courts to redraw the maps so they can make the new districts a campaign issue in the upcoming Supreme Court races. 

If the courts redraw the districts, they will only stand for one election cycle. After 2022, Republicans will get another shot at locking in even more egregiously gerrymandering districts with a court that agrees that they can do as they please with no checks or balances if Republicans take control of the Supreme Court. That may be the route they prefer. 

What’s obvious about the maps is that the main criteria for drawing them is Republican advantage. They certainly show little respect for the voters. They divide communities of interest and combine ones with little in common. The map puts the worst instincts of politicians on display. Let’s hope the Senate shows a better faith effort.