Fair Districts Ohio: How Ohio Voters Forced Politicians Toward Fairness

Hedrick Smith, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, and documentarian shares his "director's cut" video and discusses how voters in Ohio organized, built #FairDistrictsOhio, and won. Americans understand our democracy is vulnerable and being attacked by enemies foreign and domestic. But voters aren't in any mood to complain about problems these days, we're looking for practical solutions that work, like the story of how Fair Districts Ohio won a big battle in The Politicians v. The People.

The battle for the battleground state that Ohio is, and the people’s victory there, may well be instructive after one of the most anti-climactic endings to a Supreme Court term in recent memory, Justice Kennedy’s retirement notwithstanding. As the U.S. Supreme Court closed its 2018 term, a term that held so much promise to finally deal with the stain gerrymandering is on our democracy, the anti-climatic “vacate and remand” or similar decisions in three cases started to feel more like delay than the search for a solution many hoped for. The term started with the Court planning to hear only Gill v. Whitford (Wisconsin), then after oral argument, the justices called up Benisek v. Lamone (Maryland) and then Abbott v. Perez (Texas).

Like the American people, it seemed the Court was on a search for solutions and it was only a matter of time for a decision that would once and for all time, end gerrymandering.

Our own case, Common Cause v. Rucho was also remanded but had not been called up from the district court yet. There it sat with its unanimous decision from a three-judge panel and a blistering 200-page rebuke of the few politicians who thought they knew better than all the North Carolina voters about who should represent the people. But with the Kennedy retirement and President Trump’s promise of a justice his base can be proud of, damn the rule of law, fairness, and blind justice, reminds us that we cannot put our faith in one leader, or our favorite orator or even that five justices will save us.

We must put our faith where the Framers put democracy’s ultimate power, with the people. We are the only power that seems ready and willing to save our democracy. This short video about how the people of Ohio recently beat the politicians at their own game, is instructive if the Court signals any more delay on gerrymandering — the people cannot and will not wait — the time to organize is now!

Hedrick Smith, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, and documentarian takes us on a quick tour of just how in the case of The People v. The Politicians, the people of Ohio won! Smith’s newest documentary is called The People v. The Politicians and it will air on MSNBC this summer. Come back to Democracy Wire regularly to learn more about air dates once they are announced. Democracy Wire will feature Smith’s writing and “director’s cut” videos leading up to the air dates.