Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Don't Go There

Kay Brooks, writing about the newly Republican majority in the Tennessee legislature, notes that they are not constitutionally prevented from redrawing legislative districts prior to the 2010 census.

This is an example of the fact that not everything that can be done should be. When Texas Republicans performed a similar act earlier in this decade, it created a political circus and a loss of political good will, both inside and outside of legislative chambers. Even though Democrats had been guilty of gerrymandering for as long as they had held power, Republicans were blamed for an unprecedented attempt to grab power.

What would be better -- both as public policy and as principled politics -- would be a move toward eliminating gerrymandering by removing the drawing of political lines to an independent commission. Hopefully, their districts would include a lot of straight lines on maps, not the squirrelly looking districts designed to protect incumbents and the majority party.


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