Two days after the legislature confirmed that Governor DeSantis, can continue to play god, by ceding its authority to draw the state’s Congressional Districts, the Governor produced a map which would push the GOP’s partisan advantage to 20-8 if each seat went according to form. It would also wipe out at least two majority-minority access districts, but may have inadvertently created a new minority-opportunity district in the Tampa Bay area.
While his map will face serious legal scrutiny given the way most courts have interpreted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and its amendments in the 1980’s, the Governor’s legal team plans to argue their defense on 14th Amendment grounds of equal protection. On this, two cases stand out, Reynolds v Simms and more recently, Cooper v Harris.
I was inclined to take a closer look at these 14th Amendment cases and whether the Governor had drawn a map, that despite its clear GOP partisan advantage is purely about compactness and communities of interest (I even tweeted that the Governor *may* have a legal point even though I strongly object to how he’s gone about this). I will admit, despite being a liberal Democrat, I abhor the lack of compactness and logic often employed in drawing maps. I don’t like how Governor DeSantis behaves, as a budding autocrat of the Viktor Orbán school, but thought *maybe* (again, it was always maybe, not yes he’s right) he had a legitimate point here.
But then I looked closely at CD-14 in the Tampa Bay Area, the district where we presume Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D-Tampa) will run for reelection. This district is the very DEFINITION of a gerrymander, connecting disparate communities, packing racial minorities in a single district that crosses the bay and intentionally linking the most Democratic parts of both Hillsborough and Pinellas. The idea behind this evidently is to flip Charlie Crist’s previously Dem-lean CD-13 and make the new CD-15 solidly Republican. But by doing this, DeSantis her erred badly. To me, it defeats whatever other arguments he may make about compactness, equal protection and communities of interest.
We will have much more on the proposed map in the next few days.