When the Republicans took over every branch of Pennsylvania’s government in the 2010 elections they quickly went to work ensuring their party’s hold on power would continue. The Pennsylvania GOP illegally redrew the state’s congressional districts to help Republicans and hurt Democrats. They did it by grouping heavily Democratic areas together to concentrate the Democratic vote in a few areas, diluting the party’s power elsewhere in the state.
The resulting map produced 13 seats that were safe for Republicans and 5 that were safe for Democrats. Twelve of the resulting Republican districts were more Republican than the rest of the country, even though Pennsylvania leans blue.
Taking a look at the map, you can see why it was called “the gerrymander of the decade.” Check out all those oddly shaped districts many spilling across country lines, twisting and turning into unnatural contortions.
And it paid off big time. Democrats in House races ran ahead of Barack Obama in 2012, taking 51% of the vote, but they only won 5 of the 18 districts. More Pennsylvanians voted for Democrats, but more Republicans went to Washington to represent them. The sate supreme court found that the gerrymander was too partisan and ordered a fairer, more compact map.
After several legal battles, the resulting map was released earlier this week.
It doesn’t take a genius to see the new map is much more compact than the old gerrymandered one. In fact, this map STILL benefits the GOP, Trump won 10 of these 18 districts.
But Republicans aren’t happy with a map with that gives them 10 safe seats to the Democrats’ 8 in a state where most people vote Democrat, so the GOP is now threatening to impeach the judges who ordered it. The GOP efforts to fight a fairer, more compact map are a microcosm of the overall party’s tilt toward radical norm-breaking and ignoring the rule of law.
Even so-called “moderate” GOP Senator Pat Toomey joined the chorus calling it a “conversation that has to happen.”
While the president hasn’t joined in the call to impeach the judges (yet), he’s still taking up their cause, thanks to a Saturday afternoon Fox News binge-watching session
During his latest period of “executive time,” when Trump passively consumes Fox News propaganda, he started tweeting about Pennsylvania’s map.
Democrat judges have totally redrawn election lines in the great State of Pennsylvania. @FoxNews. This is very unfair to Republicans and to our country as a whole. Must be appealed to the United States Supreme Court ASAP!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2018
While it’s nice of Trump to tag his favorite state media in the tweet, we actually don’t even need it to know he was watching Fox News:
A little midafternoon visit with the folks at the Wall Street Journal.— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) February 24, 2018
Left, Fox News, 2:40 pm
Right, Trump, 3:16 pm pic.twitter.com/FQtFiwBhas
The segment featured a member of the right-wing Wall Street Journal’s editorial board calling the slightly GOP-tilted map a “coup.” The president is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case to reverse the fairer map while attacking the judges who ordered it as partisan. We’re really through the looking glass here.
Twitter piled on:
The PA court threw out a 13R-5D gerrymander of a 50-50 swing state & replaced it with a fair map. Seems like it's just a matter of time before Trump joins GOP Sen. Toomey & Rep. Costello in floating the insanely undemocratic idea of impeaching state judges https://t.co/5rBsruVbf6 https://t.co/cWf1Su8bzc— Stephen Wolf (@PoliticsWolf) February 24, 2018
OLD MAP - Gerryrigged to be 13-5 GOP for Congress in a state that was 50-50 with voters.— Jesse Ferguson (@JesseFFerguson) February 24, 2018
NEW MAP - Unrigged to be 50-50 for Congress in a state that was 50-50 with voters.
TRUMP - Demands more rigging to protect him. #PartyOverCountry https://t.co/y6xW1MbgPc
As someone pointed out, the U.S. Supreme Court has already refused to take the case:
They already turned it down, dumbass. On Feb 5, 2018 SCOTUS' Sam Alito rejected the Petition. SCOTUS "typically does not review state court decisions based on a state’s constitution, but the Republicans asked the high court to make an exception." Petition denied. https://t.co/Jf6zDlEeIu— Puesto Loco™ (@PuestoLoco) February 24, 2018
So he’s probably out of luck for now, but I guarantee that won’t stop him from joining calls for impeaching judges in the future. It might be the only way to stop his own.