Federal judges in Richmond deciding school board districts in Wake County sounds odd but in another way it’s a bit of time-honored Americana.
Make no mistake: Redistricting is raw politics. It isn’t a fight between right and wrong. Or two philosophies. It’s a power grab. And every chance they get both parties grab for all they’re worth.
When the Republicans, at last, held the power in the General Assembly in 2010 they drew districts to elect Republicans. It wasn’t pretty. But it wasn’t new either. The Democrats had done the same thing for a century.
But then, perhaps feeling their oats, Republicans went a step further and began drawing districts to elect Republican county commissioners and school board members whether the counties wanted the new districts or not.
For awhile the Republicans were on top of the world. They were remapping the state’s politics to elect more Republicans. And it was perfectly legal. It looked like nothing could stop them.
But, then, a hard reality reared its head: The Republicans ran head-on into two Democrats in Richmond wearing federal judges’ robes who had the power to un-draw all nine of the Republicans’ Wake County School Board districts – and did.
When the smoke cleared it was a mess. Republicans had grabbed for power. Democrats had grabbed back. And the power grabs had ended in gridlock. Four months before the election there were no Wake County school board districts.
But you have to admit one thing.