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View Diary: Open thread for night owls: Guns and marijuana—some folks would like to keep us in the dark (102 comments)

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  •  notice that Dems don't have any objections to (7+ / 0-)

    gerrymandering when THEY are the ones in power . . . .

    And THAT is why nothing ever gets changed.

    •  To a large extent, yes. But... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JekyllnHyde, Jeff Y, cpresley

      ...sometimes Dems gerrymander for really good and noble reasons! creating a better chance for a minority candidate to be elected from a given area, is one example.

      Well...ya know...that's really the only good reason/example I can think of.

      "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

      by Marjmar on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 08:25:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  it's the reality of politics (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JekyllnHyde, Marjmar, JeffW, cpresley

        Both parties want to be in power.  Both parties use the same methods to get in power.  Neither party wants to give that up. But both parties want to badmouth the other party for doing the same thing.

        That's why neither party will ever make any serious changes in the way congressional districts are drawn, or in campaign finance, or anything else that decides elections. Neither party WANTS to--all their hypocritical mouthing aside.

        •  Actually, California just DID change the method... (13+ / 0-)

 how districts are drawn. Not the whole enchilada, to be sure, but an improvement.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 08:49:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  yeah but California isn't really part of the US (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Marjmar, LilithGardener, JeffW, Naniboujou

            tee hee hee


            But yeah, I'll take the improvements as they come.

          •  CA and a few other places, I believe (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            so, it can be done.

          •  WA State does it in a fair manner that keeps the (4+ / 0-)

            politics to a minimum.

            About the Commission

            Every 10 years, the bipartisan Washington State Redistricting Commission is established for the purpose of redrawing legislative and congressional district boundaries. Four commissioners are appointed by the Legislature. The Commissioners appoint a fifth, non-voting, non-partisan chairperson. During the Commission’s tenure, members typically meet every second Tuesday of the month in Olympia.
            When redistricting is complete—no later than June 2012—the Commission will close its doors. In 2021, a new commission will be appointed to ensure that Washington residents are fairly represented in Congress and the state Legislature.

            "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization" -- me

            by Angie in WA State on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:45:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  gerrymandering, reapportioning, redistricting... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LinSea, Angie in WA State

              I haven't read a good theoretical analysis of what the optimal criteria should be for defining or evaluating district boundaries. It seems like a very mushy swamp. Cave, hic dragones.

              Should CDs be as contiguous as possible? Should large cities be in one district, when possible, or divided up? Should districts be representative of some (pre-defined) demographics? (Wealth? Race/ethnicity? Previous voting patterns? Religion? Urban vs suburban vs rural? Other?) Should there be (at least) one "minority majority" district? But when is this 'packing' (concentrating certain voters to weaken their impact elsewhere)? Or should they be as balanced as possible among some (pre-defined) demographics? But when is this 'cracking' (spreading out certain voters to weaken their bloc)? Designed to encourage safe seats? Designed to encourage turnover? How much privilege given to historical boundaries, versus redrawing as demographics change? Or even further, is change in boundaries good, e.g. to shake up vested patronage systems? Whose interests are we looking to maximize? District sub-groups (minorities, the poor, the disenfranchised, the weak; the rich and powerful; or etc?)? The districts? The state? The entire USA's democratic system? Other?

              Until there's some consensus (or persuasive analysis) on what optimal district-making criteria should be, it strikes me as challenging to be critical of the outcome.

              Fwiw, five other states use a bipartisan commission: Arizona (since Prop 106 passed in 2000, though heavily politicized by Gov Jan Brewer and GOP), California, Hawaii, Idaho, and New Jersey.

              In Washington State, these are the five criteria used, according to "state and federal law":
              *    Encompass, as nearly as practicable, equal numbers of people.
              *    Comply with the Voting Rights Act to ensure that minorities have an equal opportunity to elect representatives of their choice.
              *    Make sure that parts of a district are not physically separated.
              *    Make sure that, to the extent possible, boundaries of cities, counties, neighborhoods and communities that have common interests† are respected, and their division minimized.
              *    Make sure they do not favor or discriminate against any incumbent, candidate, or political party.
              "Communities of interest are groups of people defined by geography, transportation and commerce, common issues, local economies, and political boundaries such as counties, cities, port and school districts or voting precincts." Uh, ok...

              Even in the new WA CDs, incumbents reign; in the newly-redrawn 1st CD, Suzan DelBene (D) swept, with 60.4% vs 39.6% for the Republican.

              In Arizona, the 6 criteria in order of importance are:
               * compliance with the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act;
              * roughly equal in population;
              * appear compact and contiguous
              * respect communities of interest;
              * incorporate visible geographic features; city, town, and county boundaries; and undivided census tracts;
              * electorally competitive (after the above are considered).

              I'm not sure where this leaves us. :-)  Politics = sausage-making, as ever?

              •  keep in mind DelBene won in a year which saw (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Voter Initiatives legalize both Cannabis & Marriage Equality.

                Maybe the Evergreen State is trending more blue again, following a decade of war and republican insanity, and it wasn't merely gerrymandering at work.

                "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization" -- me

                by Angie in WA State on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 07:35:40 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  part of gerrymandering has been to keep (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          a2nite, Naniboujou

          parties in power but it has also served to keep individuals re-elected - so there is truth to that.
          They need to suck it up and argue that every state needs to adopt policies to prevent gerrymandering.

    •  Same with the filibuster. (0+ / 0-)

      Even though Republicans threatened to abolish the filibuster when they were in power, and a Democratic minority was blocking only the worst of Bush's appointments, Reid and the Senate Democrats want that tool when they are back in the minority. Sadly, there is almost no difference between Republicans and Democrats in office when you are talking about the privileges of office.

      Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your shackles. It is by the picket line and direct action that true freedom will be won, not by electing people who promise to screw us less than the other guy.

      by rhonan on Tue Feb 26, 2013 at 10:00:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Re: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Naniboujou, JeffW

      Both ends of the spectrum may redistrict to their benefit, but only one side has a strong movement for redistricting reform.  

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