See below for Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria/Arlington)’s demolition – civilly, using facts and reason, etc. – of Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax)’s absurd argument for the fatally flawed redistricting amendment. How absurd is Plum’s argument? Believe it or not, he actually write, “I do not believe there are flaws!” in the amendment, something that even its most ardent supporters don’t believe (instead, they usually use the formulation, “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” as a way of excusing the amendment’s many flaws). So check out what Del. Levine has to say, and then on November 3 – or whenever you end in your ballot – make sure you vote NO on this thing. (note: bolding added by me to Del. Levine’s post for emphasis)
P.S. For some background on why this amendment needs to be rejected, see: Video: Del. Mark Levine Explains Why He Believes Current Redistricting Amendment “Is Worse Than Current Law”; Video: Virginia House of Delegates Rejects Substitute, Adopts Fatally Flawed Redistricting Amendment…with the Overwhelming Majority of Dems Voting Against; The Proposed Virginia Redistricting Amendment Is a Bad Deal That Needs To Be Rejected.; etc.
Todd Gilbert sees the amendment — which allows Republicans and Republicans alone to draw ALL of Virginia’s district lines with Democrats having NO say in the matter — to be the key to Republican takeover of the Virginia House and Senate. I agree with the Republican Leader that the amendment is key to a permanent Republican takeover of Virginia.
Ken Plum is a good man and he trusts people. He believes that Republicans would never gerrymander Virginia again, as they did in 2011 and 2001. I wish I had the same faith in Republican good faith that he has.
I respect Ken Plum’s dedication to getting rid of gerrymandering. He and I and every Democrat in the House and Senate voted for HB1255, a bill to ban gerrymandering which went into effect on July 1, 2020. I insisted a ban on gerrymandering be in that bill (paragraph 8), and it thankfully was. (My own bill was even stronger and required an objective mathematical proof of no gerrymandering. I still support that)
Unfortunately, this Constitutional Amendment would overturn that law and bring back gerrymandering by giving full power to the minority party (the Republicans) to draw all Virginia’s districts without guardrails. Even its patron George Barker admitted the constitutional amendment allows an unlimited GOP gerrymander. I cannot support that and urge you to vote NO.
I also respectfully disagree with my friend Ken Plum’s choice to overturn four centuries of Virginia law and make Virginia the first state in the nation to give the legislative-appointed judiciary full legislative powers. According to our current constitution, that violates separation of powers. More importantly, it leads to a legislative-judiciary loop that will lead the People of Virginia to lose power forever of their opportunity to elect their own legislative majority again. I believe the People of Virginia should be in charge of their destiny, not the illegally racially-gerrymandered Republican General Assembly of 2011-19.
We have already voted to ban gerrymandering. We can finish the job next year. I’m confident Ken and I and every single Democrat and Republican will join together to support the independent commission. Dems will do it because it’s the right thing to do. (Indeed 71 out of 76 of us voted for it this year.) Repubs will do it next year once this scheme to give them full control of redistricting fails. They would prefer fair districts over Democratically-controlled districts. So even though they all voted for the right to gerrymander, they will have no choice but to fall in line.
Voting NO gives WE THE PEOPLE OF VIRGINIA the power to determine our own destiny. If Democrats were to vote against an independent commission in 2021, you can and should punish us at the polls. Primary us. That will hurt even those of us in deep blue districts.
But none of you have power to get rid of Todd Gilbert if he uses the Amendment as has promised to give Virginia Republicans permanent legislative power (as happened in WI, MI, FL, NC, PA, etc.): if he uses the Amendment to exercise the Republican Veto/Poison Pill and give full power to right-wing Republicans on the Virginia Supreme Court to gerrymandering Virginia.
I respect the urgent need to do “something,” but I think that must always take a back seat to doing the right thing.
Gerrymandering has finally been banned by law. Let’s leave it that way. Don’t overturn the anti-gerrymandering law.
Say No to gerrymandering and No to Amendment 1.