The gerrymandering midterm election bloodsport has, certainly on the Dem side, been an announcement that the public is going to bounce them no matter what, so all they can do is obscenely rig elections.
That has backfired badly in New York where the judges, mostly Democrats, did their job and noted that the gerrymandering clearly violated New York’s constitution. The legal setback here also deals a blow to Dem efforts to cobble together a narrow majority.
The state’s highest court struck down Democrats’ most effective gerrymander in a shocking ruling Wednesday, scuttling a map that would have likely netted the party 22 of New York’s 26 seats in an election when they desperately needed every one of them.
The decision has incensed Democrats across the country — particularly since it was delivered by judges appointed by their own party’s governors. Not only does it deprive Democrats of one of their best advantages in an ominous midterm cycle, it also takes the map-drawing process out of their hands entirely, perhaps for the next 10 years.
Still, it’s severely weakened morale for Democrats, who have suddenly lost their biggest win of the redistricting battle while facing even stronger headwinds going into November. It’s also the home state of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who leads the House campaign arm and has worked closely with other national Democrats on the party’s redistricting strategy.
Meanwhile, there’s also trouble in neighboring Jersey.
I wrote about Sam Wang and the Princeton Gerrymandering Project a few months ago.
“It seems likely that between one-third and one-half of current Trump supporters meet a reasonable definition of racist. We could look into the data. The rest are okay with racists in their coalition,” Sam Wang ranted.
Twitter has no shortage of unhinged idiots who are happy to explain why everyone they disagree with are evil, but Wang heads the Princeton Gerrymandering Project.
The Princeton Gerrymandering Project is a “nonpartisan” organization that fights “partisan gerrymandering”. “We translate math into law, and law into math,” it humbly boasts.
In New Jersey, the Oracle of Wang consulted the chicken entrails of math, rolled the dice of law, and decided that, in the words of the Republican redistricting commission, that “despite Republicans consistently earning over 40% of the statewide vote… a ‘fair’ map meant 3 Republican seats, or 25% of the delegation, and 9 Democrat seats, or 75% of the delegation.”
The Princeton Gerrymandering Project was brought on board and its data was allegedly used by the state to select the Democrat map which massively disenfranchises Republicans.
David Wildstein of the New Jersey Globe, who had been doing a wonderful job of covering the issue, has unhappy news for Wang and the PGP.
Princeton University has launched an internal investigation of Sam Wang, the controversial head of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, after members of his staff alleged that he was manipulating data to match his personal agenda, and for mistreating people who worked for him.
As a result of the probe, Princeton University directed Wang not to speak directly with his staff during the time he was serving as an advisor to the court-appointed tiebreaker for the legislative redistricting commissions in New Jersey, according to multiple memorandums, letters and emails from the Princeton University Human Resources department obtained by the New Jersey Globe.
In addition to complaints that Wang created a toxic work environment that included retaliatory acts and job threats, and a possible Title IX violation, three individuals directly connected to the Princeton Gerrymandering Project confirmed that the university is also investigating allegations of research misconduct against the neuroscience professor-turned-redistricting activist. The New Jersey Globe is withholding the names of the three individuals, who fear that they could become the target of further retribution by Wang.
How bad does it have to be when your own people are complaining about the partisan bias?
A senior legal strategist on Wang’s team, a graduate of a top law school who had clerked for two federal judges, worked through the night to rewrite sections that were tilted in favor of the Democratic map in a bid to seek the appearance of greater objectivity.
So really bad. Is it enough for a legal challenge though?
The congressional redistricting tiebreaker, former New Jersey Supreme Court Justice John E. Wallace, Jr., said that he relied on Wang’s “evaluation of partisan fairness of the maps” in his amplification of reasons why he voted for the Democratic map.
But Wallace was unaware that Wang was facing a probe at Princeton for research misconduct.
“I have no knowledge of any investigation,” Wallace said in an email to the New Jersey Globe.