Thursday, June 23, 2005

I know there are some Dems who are quite in favor of redistricting, but I've mentioned previously, that there is research to put that into question. Via Altercation, Mother Jone's has an article that we should all pause to think about before rushing to join the Schwarzenegger redistrcting plan:
It turns out that there is a fundamental anti-urban (and thus anti-Democratic) bias with single-seat districts. The urban vote is more concentrated, and so it's easier to pack Democratic voters into fewer districts. As Democratic redistricting strategist Sam Hirsch has noted, nice square districts are in effect a Republican gerrymander because they "combine a decade-old (but previously unnoticed) Republican bias" that along with a newly heightened degree of incumbent protection "has brought us one step closer to government under a United States House of Unrepresentatives."

Here's the best-known recent example of this dynamic. Even though Al Gore won a half million more votes nationwide than George Bush in 2000, Bush beat Gore in 47 more of the 2002 congressional districts. And that's up from a previous 19-seat edge, showing that trends are tilting Republican. The winner-take-all system distorts representation and the edge clearly gives Republicans an advantage, allowing them to win more than their fair share of seats. So the current Republican margin in the House of 232 to 203 -- only 29 seats -- actually is a decent showing for the Democrats. It will be exceedingly difficult for Democrats to improve on this.
Any wonder why Schwarzenegger and his GOP oil men funders are pushing the redistricting ballot initiative?


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