LOS ANGELES—Barack Obama and Arnold Schwarzenegger agree: Neither thinks Donald Trump has any business being anywhere near the White House, but the main political issue they’re going to focus on for the next two years is redistricting reform.
The clock is ticking. The 2020 census, and the nationwide 2021 redistricting right after, are around the corner. Deadlines for ballot initiatives and legislation are already on the horizon for some states to change their procedures before then. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court could soon take up a case that would gut most of the efforts at redistricting reform that have, over the past 10 years, changed how states draw the maps that determine who runs where for Congress and their own legislatures.
To hear the redistricting-reform advocates tell it, democracy is on the line. But, they say, the attention to the issue that’s exploded since the 2016 election came at the perfect moment to tap into the anger at a broken system and fundamentally change how the country works.
“The people became more and more frustrated. They decided that the system was fixed, there’s nothing they can do about it. So they look for outsiders to save them—outsiders like myself, or like Trump, or like [Representative Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez,” Schwarzenegger said at an event at the University of Southern California last Thursday. “But unless outsiders are willing to take on gerrymandering and truly fight the establishment, the people will find no salvation.”