‘Weirdly Optimistic’ Chuck Todd Cheers for Dems in Redistricting Battle

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Over the past couple of days, MSNBC hosts have been fretting over Republicans having an advantage in the redrawing of congressional districts in response to the 2020 census. On the day after Ayman Mohyeldin devoted a segment to letting Kansas Democratic Congresswoman Sharice Davids complain about Republican plans to target her, Chuck Todd on Wednesday had Texas Democratic Congressman Marc Veasey on to discuss the redrawing of congressional boundaries.

Todd ended up declaring that he was “weirdly optimistic” that Republicans could be pressured into not drawing districts that aggressively hurt Democrats.

On his Tuesday afternoon show, Mohyeldin related: “Republicans won a supermajority in the state legislature, and have begun planning to eliminate the state’s only Democratic congressional district.”

 

 

After playing a clip of a Republican state legislator talking up the likelihood that Congresswoman Davids’s Kansas City-based district could be changed to replace her with a Republican, he then brought Davids on as a guest and began by cuing her up to complain: “Your state is one of the ones that is neither gaining nor losing a seat this year due to population changes, yet you could be drawn out of your district as we just heard there. Do voters realize what is being done to essentially defeat you before an election is even held?”

Even though Democrats make similar moves when they are in power, Congresswoman Davids accused Republicans of cheating:

You can call me old-fashioned if you want, but I’ve always thought that the voters should decide who’s representing them, and not the other way around. So it’s certainly an important topic — it’s something that we’re actually also seeing across the country. And, you know, I think that frankly it’s insulting to the voters in our state that we’ve got the Kansas Republican Party just coming out and saying, I mean, literally, they’re saying, “If you can’t beat them, cheat them.”

On Wednesday’s MTP Daily, Todd joined Congressman Veasey in talking up the push by Democrats to enact federal laws to interfere with states running elections:

 

 

CONGRESSMAN MARC VEASEY (D-TX): They already have these maps drawn, and they’re going to try to push them through as quickly as possible so they can get these maps into place, and have — and hold elections before we’re able to act on H.R. 4. And so I would say passing H.R. 4 right now is hugely important and that time is actually of the essence.

CHUCK TODD: What’s the role of the Vice President? You know, she’s being tasked with this as her focus. I know it’s something she wanted this on her portfolio. How can she be best used here in advancing either H.R. 1 or 4?

After Veasey portrayed redistricting as a racial issue, Todd concluded by declaring that he was hopeful that Republicans could be thwarted:

I have to tell you, I’m weirdly optimistic on the mapmaking this year because so many average citizens have the tools to make their own maps. I do think voters will be able to see how easy it is to gerrymander in a more public way this time than ever before. Maybe that sunlight has an impact. I say maybe, but I hope a lot of citizen activists make your own map — show people how it can be done the right way.

Wednesday’s MTP Daily was sponsored in part by Nervive. Their contact information is linked.

Transcripts follow. Click “expand” to read more. 

MSNBC

MTP Daily

June 2, 2021

1:30 p.m. Eastern

CONGRESSMAN MARC VEASEY (D-TX): They already have these maps drawn, and they’re going to try to push them through as quickly as possible so they can get these maps into place, and have — and hold elections before we’re able to act on H.R. 4. And so I would say passing H.R. 4 right now is hugely important and that time is actually of the essence.

CHUCK TODD: What’s the role of the Vice President? You know, she’s being tasked with this as her focus. I know it’s something she wanted this on her portfolio. How can she be best used here in advancing either H.R. 1 or 4?

VEASEY: Yeah, obviously the Vice President knows her way around the Senate where she was a member, and I think that she can be very helpful in going and talking to Senators and just reminding them about the importance of this — of H.R. 4 from a bipartisan standpoint. I think, when she’s speaking to Democrats, that she should remind Democrats that it is the black community that is the heart and soul of the Democratic party — that with the exception of maybe a few states like New Hampshire and Maine that if you look at all of those Senate Democrats, that are in their seats, it’s because of the black community, then it is essential and important that we not let the black community down and that we get this passed.

TODD: Congressman Marc Veasey, the founder of the Voting Rights Caucus. I have to tell you, I’m weirdly optimistic on the mapmaking this year because so many average citizens have the tools to make their own maps. I do think voters will be able to see how easy it is to gerrymander in a more public way this time than ever before. Maybe that sunlight has an impact. I say maybe, but I hope a lot of citizen activists make your own map — show people how it can be done the right way.

(…)

MSNBC

Ayman Mohyeldin Reports

June 1, 2021

3:40 p.m. Eastern

AYMAN MOHYELDIN: Now that the 2020 census data has been released, states across the country are beginning to redistrict their congressional maps. And in states where a single party has complete control, they’re using it to stack the odds against their opponents. In Kansas, Republicans won a supermajority in the state legislature, and have begun planning to eliminate the state’s only Democratic congressional district — a plan that the then-Kansas state senator, senate president, described back in September. Watch.

SUSAN WAGLE, FORMER KANSAS SENATE PRESIDENT: A Republican bill that gives us four Republican congressmen, that takes out Sharice Davids in the third — we can do that. I guarantee you, we can draw four Republican congressional maps.

MOHYELDIN: All right. Joining me now is Congresswoman Sharice Davids, the only Democrat representing Kansas on Capitol Hill. Thank you so much for your time. Your state is one of the ones that is neither gaining nor losing a seat this year due to population changes, yet you could be drawn out of your district as we just heard there. Do voters realize what is being done to essentially defeat you before an election is even held?

CONGRESSWOMAN SHARICE DAVIDS (D-KS): Well, I’m so glad we’re actually having this conversation, and it’s a very stark reminder to watch that clip play because I think that, you know, you can call me old-fashioned if you want, but I’ve always thought that the voters should decide who’s representing them, and not the other way around. So it’s certainly an important topic — it’s something that we’re actually also seeing across the country. And, you know, I think that frankly it’s insulting to the voters in our state that we’ve got the Kansas Republican Party just coming out and saying, I mean, literally, they’re saying, “If you can’t beat them, cheat them.”

MOHYELDIN: So what do you see as your job in all of this? I mean, is there a role for the federal government in preventing overt partisanship in drawing congressional districts? What should be done?

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