In a piece on the conservative policy blitz that has hit North Carolina this year, Slate‘s Dahlia Lithwick makes a simple observation that is critical to understanding the GOP strategy in that state:

How does the state legislature control an electorate that by all accounts really hates the state’s new legislative initiatives? Simple. Drown them out—by diluting minority/Democratic votes through redistricting, or suppressing the vote.

The pre-2012 gerrymandering of North Carolina was a work of art, or a piece of work, depending on how you look at it. So this provides one layer of insulation for the Republican legislature against popular disgruntlement. Another will be supplied by restricting the franchise in ways that disproportionately affect young and minority voters.

So if what’s happening in North Carolina is the product of a gang of ideologues led and funded by gazillionaire Art Pope who stormed the ramparts of a once-progressive state, they are now making sure to pull up the drawbridge and fortify their new stronghold.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.