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Thursday, March 31, 2005


Washington Post:

The hardest challenge in the state capital these days is to locate anyone who will defend the way California has drawn its legislative and congressional district lines in the past decade. In this the largest and most influential of the 50 states, there are 173 major political subdivisions: 80 seats in the state Assembly, 40 in the state Senate and 53 in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2002 exactly three of them changed parties. In 2004 none did. This Soviet-style conformity was no accident. It was the result of a carefully negotiated deal between congressional Republicans and the legislature's Democrats to guarantee each side against any political losses. Similar deals have been cut in many other states, which is one reason the House, which was designed by the Constitution to be the most sensitive barometer of short-term changes in the country's political climate, now has become the most rigid and inelastic part of the federal government. ... Democratic Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, perhaps the sharpest of Schwarzenegger's partisan critics, told Post reporter Dan Balz and me, "It is not in the best interests of democracy to have legislators drawing their own districts. We have to move [that power] to some neutral party." ... Despite the remarkable silence of the opposition, the Schwarzenegger plan could still fail. Most of the Republicans in the House delegation have urged the governor to abandon the idea because they are comfortable with their current safe seats and their House seniority. At a meeting in Washington, they told him that their powerful committee chairmanships were assets to the state and worth protecting. He told them to take a hike, but it remains to be seen if the public is as stirred by the issue as Schwarzenegger is. The first polls on an initiative to shift the line-drawing to judges showed only lukewarm support, and similar efforts sponsored by Republicans have failed in this Democratic state. But no governor has campaigned on the issue as Schwarzenegger will. He is convinced that the districting deal has created the polarized legislature and made compromise on budgetary and governance issues all but impossible. Each party now plays only to its hard-core supporters, and the pragmatic center goes unrepresented.
In my opinion California redistricting is the single most import domestic issue happening in politics in the nation. It eclipses social security and a balanced budget easily (not to mention steriods in baseball.) It is our democratic revolution. Hopefully California, and then the rest of our nation, will follow in the footsteps of much of the rest of the world and make our politicians once again accountable to the people.


Blogger honestpartisan said...

So I take it from this post that you disagree with the mid-decade redistricting in Texas?

3/31/2005 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger honestpartisan said...

So I take it from this post that you disagree with the mid-decade redistricting in Texas?

3/31/2005 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

I don't disagree with the mid-decader redistricting in Texas specifically, I disagree with the Gerrymandering system generally.

I honestly haven't followed the debate on Texas enough to judge if it was wrong by the standards of the system in place or not. I know that Democrats are crying loudly that it is and Republicans are crying loudly that it isn't.

Certainly I support a system where the events that took place in Texas would not happen.

3/31/2005 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

If you oppose gerrymandering, then you would support the mid-decade redistricting in Texas, since it undid districts that elected Democrat representatives in disproportionately greater numbers than Democrats in Texas.

4/04/2005 01:53:00 PM  

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