The fallout from the newly drawn district maps continues as Democrats scramble to get their affairs in order should the worst happen.
But that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped fighting the good fight.
Last week, the AmNews reported that Special Master and Carnegie Mellon University Fellow Jonathan Cervas redrew Congressional districts in a way that could help the GOP take over the House in Washington.
Cervas, who was appointed by the New York State Supreme Court after it rejected the Democrats’ proposal for a district that heavily favored the party, redrew districts to make it even with close to 777,000 people per congressional seat (as mandated by law). However, this map splits 15 counties in the state as opposed to the 34 splits proposed in the Democrats’ map.
Last month, the New York Court of Appeals ruled the map unconstitutional.
The newly drawn version of the map makes 15 Dem-leaning districts and three GOP-leaning districts more competitive. The Democrats are this close to losing their grip on the House of Representatives.
The map also cuts Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in half. It leaves current Black Congressmembers Hakeem Jeffries and Yvette Clarke in the same district.
Clarke believes that this new redistricting map spells tragedy for the Black vote in national politics.
“The State of New York has been clear about its mission to keep communities of interest together through the redistricting process and the newly proposed map disregards that objective entirely,” Clarke stated. “Article III, section 5 of the constitution of the State of New York clearly states that ‘districts shall not be drawn to have the purpose of, nor shall they result in, the denial or abridgement of racial or language minority voting rights’ and that ‘maintenance of cores of existing districts…including communities of interest’ must be considered.”
When the AmNews contacted Rep. Jeffries’ people, we didn’t get an answer, but were directed to a statement he made last week about the matter in which he said, “The draft map released by a judicial overseer in Steuben County and unelected, out-of-town special master, both of whom happen to be white men, is part of a vicious national pattern targeting districts represented by members of the Congressional Black Caucus…
“This draft map dilutes the Black population in the 8th and 9th congressional districts in a manner wildly inconsistent with the constitutional mandate that communities of color should be put into position to elect the candidate of their choice,” continued Jeffries. “The Court, shockingly, uses a sledgehammer to break into pieces the majority Black and historic neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, once represented by the legendary Shirley Chisholm.”
Manhattan Democratic Leader Keith Wright didn’t mince words when he spoke with the AmNews.
“It’s horrible,” said Wright. “Two major voices representing urban communities, especially the Black Agenda, fighting against each other or fighting for the same territory. It’s horrible. It’s not good for the community, representatives. It’s not good for the nation.
“When you get a special magistrate or special master, drawing these lines, they don’t care,” Wright continued. “They don’t understand the negative effects that they have with their pen and pencil. And somebody from upstate New York doesn’t know anything, nor do they care, you know? They’re being very political about what we do. And when they do, it has a devastating effect on the voting rights of certain communities, especially the Black community.”
But they’re not the only duo of Democrats who are potential victims of the newly drawn maps. Congressmembers Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler would be battling for the new version of the 12th congressional district seat.
To add to the “signal vs. the noise” state of the Democratic Party, former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he’s running for New York’s 10th congressional seat in Brooklyn (and parts of lower Manhattan; neighborhoods that, like the rest of the city, had residents that were tired of him.)
Around this time last year, according to a poll conducted by Spectrum News NY1/Ipsos, de Blasio’s approval rating was 37 %. It’s only been six months since he left an administration that was riddled with controversy.
Why is he doing this now?
“Each candidate running for office is a very personal decision,” Wright said. “You know what I mean? I mean, you have to get putting yourself up to massive, massive public scrutiny. And you have to come to terms with that.”
The former mayor has been involved in numerous campaign donation scandals (through the nonprofit Campaign for One New York), including a possible campaign violation through a nonprofit in 2013 (which led to the indictments of two people), as de Blasio underwent a three-year investigation by the Joint Commission of Public Ethics (JCOPE) to determine if donations made to Campaign for One New York were illegal gifts to the mayor. This led to a $40,000 settlement between James Capalino (a de Blasio ally) and JCOPE. He admitted no wrongdoing.
When you go to de Blasio’s campaign page and click on the Menu section, it heads straight to his “donation” page.
Throughout all of the noise, one thing is clear: the map leaves 15 Dem-leaning districts and three GOP-leaning districts. The Democrats are this close to losing their grip on the House of Representatives.