By: Brenden Boudreau
Every ten years, after the government conducts the national census, the process of reapportionment and the drawing of new legislative maps begins.
In most states, this process is handled by the state legislatures. Now, however, there is a growing movement supported and funded by the political left to dramatically change how legislative districts are drawn.
The left claims reforming the redistricting procedure by creating “nonpartisan” redistricting commissions must be done in the name of “fairness” and “transparency” to rid the map-drawing process of “partisanship” and “gerrymandering.”
The truth of the matter is, though, that this latest proposal is just another attempt by the left to rig the rules in their favor. All one has to do is look at California to understand why this new scheme is a threat to our liberty, and especially to our gun rights.
California’s Road to Ruin
At the time when California adopted its “independent” and “nonpartisan” redistricting commission, the Republican Party was declining in the state. While much of the GOP’s weakening in California has had to do with demographics, the party’s influence was further gutted when the Democratic Party of California duped many Republicans, including then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, into supporting the ballot measure that eventually co-opted the system for the left’s own political gain.
Plaguing Other States
Once the left finds success in one state, it typically begins infecting others with its destructive policies. States with citizen-initiated ballot initiatives with low signature thresholds, and those with activist judges on the state Supreme Court, are most in danger of being put in the crosshairs of this latest ploy.
(For more on the threats ballot initiatives present to our gun rights, read my previous article here.)
My home state of Michigan has become the latest battlefield, though there are other states – namely, Colorado, Missouri, and Utah – that are going through similar changes by different means.
Sneaky Schemes in Michigan
Judicial activism by the Michigan Supreme Court has brought the complex “Proposal 2” to the midterm election ballot this fall. Proposal 2, if passed, would significantly alter the state Constitution, so that instead of the Michigan Legislature drawing the legislative maps, a so-called “independent” and “nonpartisan” commission of “voters” would instead be in charge of drawing them.
The commission is appointed by the Secretary of State (SOS) through a random selection process. The Secretary is a partisan position elected statewide in Michigan. In theory, the SOS is to select four Republicans, four Democrats, and five Independents to serve on the redistricting commission. Michigan does not have party registration, so it is unclear exactly how this requirement will be enforced.
The vagueness and the overall complexity of Proposal 2 is where the political left is able to thrive. All they would have to do is sneak a few “phantom” independent members onto the commission, who are not really independent at all, but who support the leftist agenda and will significantly alter the outcome of the maps.
So essentially, the maps will still be partisan, but they’ll be drawn under the ruse of “nonpartisanship.”
“Voters Not Politicians,” the main group supporting Proposal 2, is currently running catchy TV ads in Michigan about restoring power to the voters. In reality, Proposal 2 actually strips power from the voters by removing the authority from their elected representatives to draw maps and giving it instead to an unelected and unaccountable commission appointed by the Secretary of State.
And guess where Voters Not Politicians gets its money? It should come as no surprise to anyone that the group recently received a $250,000 contribution from a group run by anti-gun activist and former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
What’s more, anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg has thrown $500,000 behind Amendments Y and Z in Colorado, a similar proposal that was sent to the ballot with bipartisan support by the state legislature.
With this sort of money coming from openly liberal and anti-gun activists and politicians, warning bells should be going off in the minds of every gun-owning American with these proposals on their ballots this fall.
Guns Rights Gone
Control of the legislative maps gives the left control of the legislature, all but guaranteeing the liberal elite passage of their radical agenda, including gun control in the same vein that’s been passed in the California General Assembly.
Many naïve voters may believe these redistricting commissions are a step toward restoring more power to the people. Professional political actors are skilled at duping the public, however, and will always find a way to manipulate the system to their favor.
If you are a gun owner living in a state with a ballot measure creating independent redistricting commissions for the redrawing of legislative districts, do your homework to find out who is supporting the measure and ask yourself, “What would it benefit them if this measure were to pass?”
Brenden Boudreau is the Director of Field Operations for the National Association for Gun Rights, writing from Michigan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Disclosure: In addition to his work with the National Association for Gun Rights, the author is also Executive Director of Great Lakes Gun Rights.