Gerrymandering and Redistricting Reform
Redistricting reform is an idea
who's time has come. American democracy is being threatened by
gerrymandered districts that protect incumbents in the House
of Representatives and in state legislatures. It's a scandal that so few seats in
Congress were considered to be "in play."
The calls for reform are finally getting louder. Arnold Schwarzenegger showed why he's a politician to be reckoned with when he announced his support for redistricting reform in a recent speech. He pointed out that 153 congressional and legislative seats were contested in California in the last election, and NOT ONE seat changed party affiliation!
As usual, Arnold is ahead of the curve and the career politicians don't know how to react. Arnold has pledged to take this issue directly to the voters if the legislature does not act.
Along with the initiative in California, the citizens of Ohio are also trying to reform the process of drawing districts. This initiative is being pushed by Democrats. (Updated 10/13/05 by G. Orlando)
In the Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby calls gerrymandering an "incumbent-protection racket" that must be stopped to bring power back to the people. Common Cause is pushing for redistricting reform in Massachusetts.
NewDonkey.com nicely summarizes the arguments in favor of redistricting reform, and explains the Democrats claiming "reform" as a new priority for the party cannot ignore this issue.
Former Congressman and Senator William E. Brock describes how gerrymandering has eroded democracy in America and contributed to the poisoned atmosphere in Washington.
John Fund explains how Arnold may be backing off of some of his reform plan by saying he could wait for it to take effect in 2012. Meanwhile, the initiative is still very popular in the polls.
Steve Chapman argues in favor of the Ohio and California initiatives.
USA Today chimes in and supports redistricting reform, calling the current system an "incumbent-protection racket."
The Santa Cruz Sentinel supports Arnold's plan for redistricting reform in California by having retired judges draw the districts. The politicians in California have drawn "safe" districts for both parties, undermining democracy.
Principled politicians in both parties are working for reform, while many incumbents in both parties are fighting the initiatives. To his credit, Arnold has come out in support of the Ohio initiative, even though that one has been pushed by Democrats. On the other hand, Nancy Pelosi is fighting hard to kill Arnold's reform initiative in California.
DEMS NEED TO BE SERIOUS ABOUT REFORM: Many Democrats have been talking about becoming the "reform" party, but they will never gain credibility on this issue unless they're willing to take the high road on redistricting reform. Instead, some Democrats want to retaliate against Tom Delay's despicable tactics in Texas and other states. They're proposing partisan redistricting efforts in states like New Mexico and Illinois. That's a huge mistake. The better approach is to push reform and draw a contrast with partisan Republicans who are gaming the system.
GOP REPS ALSO WARY OF ARNOLD'S PROPOSED REFORMS: In a sure sign that Arnold Schwarzenegger may be on to something worthwhile, GOP representatives are now also wary of his plan to reform redistricting in California. Career politicians in both parties are concerned they might lose their safe seats. Bloggers and the left AND the right AND in the center need to rally behind Arnold and all other efforts to reform the redistricting process in this country. Also, we should not have to wait until 2010 to do so.
Comments, questions and suggestions can be sent to Gerardo Orlando at email@example.com.
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