It’s official. We’ve reached the point in time when not only was the New Jersey Blue Wave a success, but the bickering has started about who deserves credit. Take this editorial about Norcross’ influence on mail-in ballots, and the response from Action Together NJ that says not so fast. But the Blue Wave wasn’t just about electing Democrats. For progressives, it was important to elect Democrats and hold those Democrats to progressive values. As New Jersey turns its attention to redistricting, progressives are holding Democrats accountable. And it’s starting to show.
If you want to understand the gerrymandering controversy, check this out. Here’s my take: it would be a mistake to replace our current system — which is one of the best models in the country — with a more political system solely as a power grab.
I’m not the only one saying it. Progressive organizations are loud and clear that this is bad policy, and Democrats risk undermining their position as the party of good governance if they play politics with redistricting.
And now, elected officials are starting to echo that message. Yesterday, newly elected Democratic Congressman Tom Malinowksi wrote:
From coast to coast, we’re fighting the GOP over partisan gerrymandering. Whatever NJ’s legislature does on redistricting, I hope it takes into account the necessity of Democrats keeping moral high ground in this national fight. https://t.co/qnm1VuUrlo via @WNYC
— Tom Malinowski (@Malinowski) December 10, 2018
This is how it should work, whether it’s redistricting, or making sure the minimum wage bill does what it’s supposed to. Progressives work hard to get good candidates elected (often Democrats). Then progressives keep the wave going by shining a light on what can be done better. Too many times in the past, bad policy such as the redistricting effort has happened behind closed doors. It leads to cynicism. It’s bad strategy. And when progressives shine a light on it, they save a party from its own worse inclinations.