Friday, October 21, 2005

Talking Points, Schmalking Points

Rep. Zoe Lofgren's website has an interesting report on proposition 77. There is a point that even further supports my argument that incumbency is more important than districting:
An understanding of the level of competitiveness absent redistricting is helpful in attributing fault for the lack of competitiveness. In the US Senate, 90% of incumbents nationwide were reelected from 1990-2000.

...Thus, in an inherently competitive battleground unaffected by redistricting, incumbents are elected 90% of the time. This suggests that the natural state of affairs is that incumbents are reelected according to the will of the people. This understanding explains why redistricting commissions have generally failed to produce reform.
And there is the fact that the 75 congressional districts that were produced by so-called independent commissions resulted in exactly zero incumbent defeats. Not quite as good a talking point as 153, but not a whole lot better.

There is a critic who claimed that it was "nonsensical" to think districts could become less competetive than they currently are. I'll be nice and just point out what's happened in Arizona:
Arizona is emblematic of that failure in that it actually reduced competition. The chart below analyzes elections for the US House of Representatives and the Arizona State Senate over the course of the three biannual elections from 2000, the last year with the legislatively drawn maps, to 2004.
So, yeah, I do think Prop. 77 will make races less competetive and there is even precedent for that outcome. And I'm being asked to put this plan into the constitution? It's ironic that I'm actually more conservative on this than Republicans.


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