DETROIT — For most politicians and their surrogates, the final days leading up to the midterm elections are all about routine campaign activities, like knocking on doors and making phone pitches to voters. But for Eric Holder, a Democrat and the Attorney General under President Barack Obama, the focus is on a bigger picture.
Last week, Holder became one of almost a dozen high-profile Democrats targeted with a mailed pipe bomb. On Friday, as the alleged mail bomber Cesar Sayoc Jr. was taken into custody, Holder bounced from one event in Detroit to the next, expressing concerns with the integrity of our voting process rather than the apparent assassination attempt.
Since the end of Obama’s second term, Holder and other Democrats see the future of their party — and the future of fair elections — in the fight over the drawing of district lines.
In 2011, Republicans in a number of states redrew district lines to cement Republican majorities, diminishing the power of votes in some Democratic-leaning areas. Holder, now the chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, is leading the organization to resist Republican-led gerrymandering.
On Friday, Holder hung out with activists and autoworkers in Michigan, one of the most awkwardly gerrymandered states in the country, and encouraged them to get out on Nov. 6 and to get educated about Proposal 2.
Michigan’s Proposal 2 would take the power to draw district lines away from partisan politicians in the state’s capital and would install an independent commission of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to do the job. This is just one of 12 states, 10 gubernatorial races, 19 legislative chambers, 3 ballot initiatives, and 6 down-ballot races that the NDRC is eyeing as they try to level the playing field.
“I think history will show that the Shelby County decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act is probably one of the worst decisions that any Supreme Court has ever rendered,” Holder told VICE News.
VICE News sat down with Holder in Detroit to discuss district lines and voting rights.