‘Politicians Shouldn’t Pick Their Voters.’ Obama Appears in Anti-Gerrymandering Video
Former President Barack Obama stars in a promotional video for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), released Wednesday. Chaired by former Attorney General Eric Holder, the NDRC aims to battle gerrymandering, or partisan redistricting.
In the nearly 3-minute video, Obama argues for “rethinking the way we draw our congressional districts.” He explains the logistics of gerrymandering, saying, “Today, technology lets the party in power precision-draw the map in a way that packs the other party’s supporters into as few congressional districts as possible. It’s why your district might be shaped like a corkscrew. But it’s also how a party gains more seats while winning fewer votes, which isn’t fair.”
“In America, politicians shouldn’t pick their voters,” Obama continues. “Voters are supposed to pick their politicians.”
The NDRC’s strategy to promote fairer district maps includes fighting for reforms like those that recently passed in Ohio, bolstering candidates who support fair redistricting, and bringing legal challenges to the areas where unfair maps have been drawn.
“Of all the politicians who will redraw our maps in a few years, half will be elected this year,” Obama states in the video, “and if we don’t elect leaders who support fair elections, then we can see a repeat of what happened ten years ago. Republican-controlled legislators all across the country locked in structural advantages that would eventually determine every future election.”
“That’s good for special interests who want to protect tax breaks for the most powerful, or the gun lobby, or environmental polluters,” Obama continues, “but it’s not good for our children. And regardless of our party affiliations, it’s not good for our democracy.”
As the video comes to a close, Obama calls for voters to elect candidates who support fair redistricting, and to join the NDRC in its efforts.
Since the end of his presidency, Obama has decided to focus on amending the redistricting system, primarily through the NDRC. The 527 political group raised more than $10.8 million last year, the Washington Post reports.