Corporate power in state legislatures produces a gerrymandered Congress
"The power of corporate money helps explain why so many “purple” states whose population is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats and that are therefore tossups in presidential elections— including Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida— nevertheless are governed by radical right-wing legislatures. Once winning power, the corporate lobbies have pursued a radical agenda of defunding public services, destroying both public and private sector unions, cutting minimum wage, and making it harder to sue over race or sex discrimination. And they’ve used their power in state legislatures to restrict local democracy, prohibiting cities’ right to establish their own minimum wage, right to sick leave, or mechanism for recovering wages stolen by one’s employer. But the corporate investment in politics has paid dividends at the federal level as well as in the states. A recent study from the Brennan Center for Justice reports that when state legislators redrew the lines for Congressional Districts, they engaged in such severe gerrymandering that the GOP now holds 17 seats that would have been won by Democrats if the district boundaries were fairly drawn. In the current Congress, Democrats would need to win a total of twenty-four Republican-held seats in order to regain the majority. But most of this gap is the product of gerrymandering; if the districts were impartial, Democrats would be only seven seats away from a majority. Unsurprisingly, a majority of the gerrymandered seats in Congress come from states targeted by Project RedMap. The three most intensely gerrymandered states—Michigan, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, which together gave the GOP 7 extra seats in Congress—were all prime targets of corporate funders. Next time you wonder why the Congress is voting to take away people’s health insurance in order to fund tax cuts for the rich, here’s a big part of the answer."