The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Democratic Governor Pat Quinn signed the Illinois Congressional redistricting plan into law today. Republicans are threatening to sue, backed by some Latino groups

The plan, crafted and passed by the Democrat-controlled legislature, carves up the state to neutralize suburban and rural conservative districts, which could allow the Democrats to pick up five more seats in the House of Representatives. But it’s come under fire from minority advocates worried that the Democrats are sacrificing the solidarity of their communities in order to weaken Republicans.

Under the old maps, inner-city Chicago neighborhoods and the more conservative suburbs of the city were generally in separate districts. But the Democrats decided to redraw many of these districts so they now include parts of the suburbs combined with slices of urban neighborhoods. The idea is that the Democratic voters in the urban communities will slightly outnumber the Republicans in the suburbs, preventing the Republicans from easily winning the suburbs. It’s an ingenious plan. There’s just one problem—it may violate federal law.

The Voting Rights Act of 1964 prohibits states from weakening minority voting rights, and Republicans argue that Democrats are weakening Hispanic voting rights by splitting up Hispanic communities in Chicago. Only one of the new districts has a majority of Hispanic voters, though many in the Hispanic community had hoped Democrats would create a second majority-Hispanic district. Republicans have jumped on this bandwagon, criticizing the Democrats for failing to “fairly represent the significant growth that has occurred in the Hispanic community.”

But Hispanic groups have good reason for wanting only one district for now, and Illinois’ most prominent Hispanic politician, Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez, is not convinced a second majority-Hispanic district would really be in the best interests of Hispanics.” The only ones pushing for a second district are those Republicans “interested in packing as many Democrats into as few Districts as possible out of [their] completely fictitious concern for Latino voters.” Many Democrats echo his view. State Sen. Martin Sandoval, a Chicago Democrat, shares Gutierrez’s suspicions, joking that “I think [Republicans] woke up just the other night realizing that the Latino community is in their districts.”

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Mark Levin

Politico reported Friday that John Eastman, the disgraced ex-law professor who formulated many of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, was also apparently in communication with Fox News host Mark Levin. The story gets even more interesting from there, revealing the shell game that right-wing media personalities engage in while doubling as political operatives.

A legal filing by Eastman’s attorneys reveals that, among the messages Eastman is still attempting to conceal from the House January 6 committee are 12 pieces of correspondence with an individual matching Levin’s description as “a radio talk show host, is also an attorney, former long-time President (and current board chairman) of a public interest law firm, and also a former fellow at The Claremont Institute.” Other details, including a sloppy attempt to redact an email address, also connect to Levin, who did not respond to Politico’s requests for comment.

Keep reading... Show less

Sen. Wendy Rogers

Youtube Screenshot

There have been powerful indicators of the full-bore radicalization of the Republican Party in the past year: the 100-plus extremist candidates it fielded this year, the apparent takeover of the party apparatus in Oregon, the appearance of Republican officials at white nationalist gatherings. All of those are mostly rough gauges or anecdotal evidence, however; it’s been difficult to get a clear picture of just how deeply the extremism has penetrated the party.

Using social media as a kind of proxy for their real-world outreach—a reasonable approach, since there are few politicians now who don’t use social media—the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights decided to get a clearer picture of the reach of extremist influences in official halls of power by examining how many elected officials participate in extremist Facebook groups. What it found was deeply troubling: 875 legislators in all 50 states, constituting nearly 22% of all elected GOP lawmakers, identified as participating members of extremist Facebook groups.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}