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View Diary: The cost of gerrymandering (255 comments)

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  •  I wonder what it would look like (15+ / 0-)

    if every state adopted California's new system of a bipartisan panel (actually multi-partisan since there are also 'decline to state' seats on the panel) of citizens who drew our lines this year.

    The system was devised by the Republicans who put it to the ballot as a way to take away the line-drawing from the Democratically controlled legislature. However, it resulted in actually more Democratic seats than our legislature was able to put forward.

    I guess that doesn't say much for our Democratic representatives who should have managed to draw themselves a few more seats, but in any case it has worked very well here. They drew some fair lines that put similar and contiguous areas together. And the end result has been good for the state.

    •  That's one of the few things AZ does right (10+ / 0-)

      Despite Gov. Brewer's pathetic attempts to block the commission, it ended up producing pretty fair districts.

      To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

      by sneakers563 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:38:14 AM PST

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    •  It might be because (9+ / 0-)

      some dems were drawing to protect their own districts in the old system, whereas in a state rapidly shifting democratic, having less partisan seats - more competitive seats - actually gave the dems an advantage.

    •  iowa uses an impartial computer program (3+ / 0-)

      there are ways to do this right.  just not the political will.

      Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die…”

      by jlms qkw on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:55:26 AM PST

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      •  You are right. There are multiple ways to (0+ / 0-)

        redistrict fairly. Any of us here could come with a way to do it. The problem is that you can't get there from here.

        Those who wrote the Constitution did a good job in many respects, but they let us down by not foreseeing the gerrymander problem.

        The only hope I can see is that the judiciary becomes more proactive, and develops judicial guidelines for redistricting. This could be justified on 14th amendment grounds--equal protection.

        It is no secret that gerrymandering takes place. It is no secret that its purpose is to render the votes of many citizens ineffective. Why shouldn't federal courts take judicial notice of these obvious facts? If we are looking for a way out of this dilemma, I think that the courts are our best hope.

        Brown V Board of Education is a good example. "Separate but equal" was the cover story of the segregationists, but the courts finally took notice of the obvious fact that "separate" was not, and could never be, "equal".

        In similar fashion, the courts could invalidate any state system that puts redistricting in the hands of a partisan body.

        Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

        by Tim DeLaney on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 10:11:09 AM PST

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    •  Would be fair (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tim DeLaney

      I would really like to see this. Could this be legislated by Congress? I don't know. Maybe some of you legal scholars could comment. Could Congress pass a law establishing uniform redistricting standards across all states? From my layman's perspective, this would seem to be in line with the 14th Amendment.

      And really, how about a comprehensive package of election standards: redistricting, voter registration, voter access (incl. early and by mail) and vote counting? If we consider our country a nation, all citizens should have equal "protection" ....

      Daves Redistricting: 50 states + DC & PR w/ 2010 data. 46 states + DC w/ election data.

      by dgb on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 02:18:44 PM PST

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      •  No, Congress could not pass such a law. (0+ / 0-)

        The reason is obvious. The very people who benefit from gerrymandering would have to vote to abolish it. This would violate the First Principle of all politicians: Get reelected.

        As I argue upthread, our best hope lies with the judiciary. And, of course, you are right to cite the 14th amendment.

        Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

        by Tim DeLaney on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 10:23:28 AM PST

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