Friday, July 19, 2019

The Shape of Things: LA-05

Republican Ralph Abraham backed up President Trump's xenophobic attacks. Here's how gerrymandering allowed him to win office in the first place.
All On The Line
The Shape Of Things: Louisiana's 5th District.

Louisiana's gerrymandered 5th Congressional District.

The district:
Louisiana's gerrymandered 5th Congressional District.

Who represents LA-05?
Republican Ralph Abraham. On Monday, he backed up President Trump's xenophobic attacks against Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib:

Ralph Abraham's tweet in support of President Trump.
It's an embarrassing defense of racism that should make us ask: How has our political system incentivized representatives to defend extreme rhetoric like the president's terrible comments?

Gerrymandering has perpetuated a system where Abraham can score political points from hateful tweets -- and if we want to get extreme representatives like him out of office, we need fair maps. Support All On The Line today by adopting LA-05 for a small monthly donation.

How did Louisiana get a representative like this?
In 2011, the year state maps were redrawn for this entire decade, Louisiana Republicans held a "trifecta." They controlled the state House, the state Senate, and the governor's mansion.

They divided the state for maximum Republican gain, shoehorning together Louisiana's two biggest cities and Democratic strongholds -- New Orleans and Baton Rouge -- into the same district: LA-02. By doing so, they manipulated the maps so that the remaining five districts would all rate as "usually Republican," according to FiveThirtyEight. As a result, a Republican running in LA-05 has a 99.0% chance of winning.

Abraham did just that in 2014, winning the general election in LA-05 easily.

What does that mean for the people of LA-05?
A politician like Ralph Abraham knows he doesn't have to worry about how his rhetoric would affect his chances at re-election. He doesn't need to find common ground or listen to his constituents. In fact, he's probably far more concerned by a primary challenger to his right than a general election challenger.

That's a big reason why he panders to the extreme with comments like his tweet from Monday. It's also why he supports far-right positions like these:
  • Repealing Obamacare, which would strip millions of affordable health care
  • Curbing Medicaid expansion in states that desperately need it
  • Going against common-sense gun safety measures, like universal background checks
This is how gerrymandering hurts all of us. It gives us representatives like Ralph Abraham -- and encourages them to cater to the extremes of their party.

All On The Line is fighting to un-rig districts like LA-05 nationwide. Adopt LA-05 with a small monthly donation today to support our work:

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All On The Line is the grassroots advocacy campaign supported by the National Redistricting Action Fund.

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