David Daley speaks to DAUK on September 21 2017

back to Voting Rights Events



David Daley, former editor-in chief of Salon, and currently  the Communications Director for Fair Vote spoke to Democrats Abroad UK members on the evening of September 21, 2017. 



About David Daley and his book Ratf**ked 

David Daley is the author of the 2016 American best-seller Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind The. Secret Plan To Steal America’s Democracy. A paperback edition is now available as Ratf**ked: Why your vote doesn't count with a new epilogue.   
He is  one of the nation's leading authorities on gerrymandering and redistricting. He is the former editor in chief of Salon, and his work has appeared in The Washington PostThe Atlantic, the Boston GlobeNew York magazine and is forthcoming in The New Yorker. He is a digital media fellow at the University of Georgia's Grady School of Journalism, and has appeared as a guest on NPR's Fresh Air and on CNN. He lives in western Massachusetts.
This book is the explosive account of how Republican legislators and political operatives fundamentally rigged our American democracy through redistricting. 
After Barack Obama’s historic election in 2008, pundits proclaimed the Republicans as dead as the Whigs of yesteryear. Yet even as Democrats swooned, a small cadre of Republican operatives, including Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie, and Chris Jankowski, began plotting their comeback with a simple yet ingenious plan. These men had devised a way to take a tradition of dirty tricks—known to political insiders as “ratf**king”—to a whole new, unprecedented level. Flooding state races with a gold rush of dark money made possible by Citizens United, the Republicans reshaped state legislatures, where the power to redistrict is held.  Daley examines the far-reaching effects of this so-called REDMAP program, which has radically altered America’s electoral map and created a firewall in the House, insulating the party and its wealthy donors from popular democracy. Ratf**ked pulls back the curtain on one of the greatest heists in American political history.


“Daley’s book provides a blow-by-blow account of how this happened. He draws on investigative reports, interviews and court documents to give readers an eye-opening tour of a process that many Americans never see….What Daley makes clear is that ruthless partisan gerrymandering is not good for democracy and makes it that much more difficult to wrestle control of the House away from the GOP. Democrats should read this book.” - Julian E. Zelizer, Washington Post
“The way dark money was translated into congressional majorities is one of the great, sinister stories of our time. But in David Daley the shadow figures have finally met their match.” - Thomas Frank, author of What’s the Matter with Kansas


Prochnow, Jordan. "Author says gerrymadering endangers U.S. Future" The Daily Iowan. August 2017

NPR interview audio and transcript  "Understanding Congressional Gerrymandering: It's Moneyball applied to Politics"  June 15, 2016 



Drew, Elizabeth.  "American Democracy Betrayed". New York Review of Books. August 18, 2016. 

Kirkus Review. A short review. 
Kolbert, Elizabeth. "Drawing the Line: How redistricting turned America from blue to red". New Yorker. June 27 2016 

The focus of Daley's work and talk is biased redistricting - gerrymandering - that has had a significant impact in ensuring Republican Party control of state legislatures and the House of Representatives.  For sources on all voting rights issues, go to our homepage

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee:  

An initiative led by President Obama and chaired by former Attorney General Eric Holder.  "The most important turning point for the future of the Democratic Party will take place in 2021:  when states redraw their Congressional and state legislative lines...the NDRC is building a targeted, state-by-state strategy that ensures that Democrats can fight back and produce fairer maps in the 2012 redistricting process.

The Republican State Leadership Committee  set up REDMAP The Red State Majority Project in 2010

as a "program dedicated to  winnng state legislative seats that will have a critical impact on congressional redistricting  in 2011. ..Republicans have an opportunity to create 20 -25 new Republican Congressional Districts through the redistricting process over the next five election cycles, solidifying a Republican House majority".   

 While this website has not been updated since January 2012, it is very instructive to read the 2010 and 2012 reports and their strategies for specific states. 


Bonsall, Evan and Agbafe, Victor.  "Redrawing America: Why Gerrymandering Matters".  Harvard Political Review. May 24, 2016 

To find out more about  the Policy Network groups, including Voting Rights,  email policynetwork@democratsabroad.org.uk.  

To join the Voter Registration team email gotv@democratsabroad.org.uk.


Disclaimer:  The information provided here  is intended as an educational resource.     The inclusion of content does not constitute an endorsement or representation of any views by DAUK, Democrats Abroad or the Democratic Party.  Links to other organizations or publications imply neither endorsement of them nor any association with the Democratic Party or Democrats Abroad UK.