Posts Tagged ‘redistricting’
May 12th, 2011 at 12:42 pm
Top 10 Power Players In Congressional Redistricting

If you like inside baseball tidbits, here’s Roll Call‘s list of the top ten most powerful members of Congress in the legislative redistricting fight unfolding across the nation.  (Note: names are not listed in any specific order)

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA)

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)

Rep. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA)

Rep. Jerry Costello (D-IL)

Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY)

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC)

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH)

Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA)

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)

For summaries of each member’s role in the redistricting process, click here.

May 3rd, 2011 at 2:30 pm
New Congress, Same Kucinich

The Daily Caller confirmed that Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is seriously contemplating a move to Washington State to run for Congress.  Kucinich’s current Cleveland area seat is rumored to be on the chopping block since the 2010 Census revealed Ohio losing two seats due to population decreases.

Interestingly, Kucinich’s communications director says that the anti-war congressman has received requests to move and campaign from groups in twenty states; including Washington which will gain a seat in reapportionment.

Kucinich is already visiting the state to gauge his chances.  If successful, he’ll almost be as far to the left geographically as he is politically.

April 25th, 2011 at 3:02 pm
Pricing a U.S. House Seat

Because the U.S. Census shows it has a lower percentage of population relative to other states, Massachusetts is one of the states losing a U.S. House seat during its redistricting process this year.  But before Bay State cartographers can put pen to paper, they have to solve a simple math problem: what to do with 10 members who want 9 seats?

According to Roll Call, the Democratic Party may be expected to dust off its Joe Sestak file on how (not) to coax a candidate into swapping a campaign for a cushy administration job.  Here’s what one operative had to say about a potential match-up of Democratic incumbents:

“I think that’s unlikely to happen unless there’s some decision made at a higher level that such should be the case,” said Philip Johnston, former chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, who also suggested national party leaders would have to find a soft landing for either of those Members, such as an ambassadorship, in order for them to willingly leave their seats.

If you were a voter, would you want to be represented by someone who’s willing to be bought into retirement instead of fighting for reelection?  Besides, how long would an ambassadorship last if President Barack Obama gets beat in 18 months?  As most of the Massachusetts Democratic Congressional delegation knows, winning a seat in Congress virtually assures one of lifetime tenure.

Trading a long-term job for a short-term payoff isn’t a graceful exit.  It’s an explicit admission that representing a constituency isn’t worth the price of fighting a competitive campaign.

June 10th, 2010 at 1:36 pm
California Commits Plebes-cide

Buried amidst the landslide primary victories of GOP candidates Meg Whiteman (governor) and Carly Fiorina (U.S. Senator) is a far more consequential vote.  The passage of Proposition 14, the ballot measure that abolishes partisan primaries in favor of a top-two run-off in a general election, is not the panacea its supporters claim.  Then again, many of the people who voted for it aren’t sure what it will do anyway.  From the New York Times:

That no one actually knows what the real effect of Proposition 14 will be seems almost beside the point to frustrated voters. What mattered, supporters said, is that something fundamental about politics — anything fundamental — had been changed.

As supporters celebrated, they promised to bring the so-called “top two” system to a state near you, with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger leading the charge — though his second term, plagued by budget meltdowns and plunging popularity, was, analysts said, one of the leading motivators for the measure.

Whether the measure will empower more independent voters — who were already allowed to vote in Democratic or Republican primaries, provided they requested a ballot — remains to be seen. But what did seem certain was that California was again poised to capture the mood of the country, just as it did in 1978 with Proposition 13, which distilled widespread antitax sentiment into a cap on property taxes.

This time, it is the anger of the electorate that Californians have bottled, experts said, even if they are not totally sure what they are doing.

This kind of thoughtless voting was the same motivating factor in passing the Golden State’s term limits measure in 1990s and the electorate’s more recent decision to have an unelected commission draw legislative and congressional districts.  Like Proposition 14, both have the effect of minimizing accountability by shifting power away from publicly elected officials toward staff, lobbyists, and moneyed insiders.

Perhaps the greatest irony of all is that in modern California politics Proposition 14 is likely to have zero effect on which two candidates are selected to run in the general election.  For over a decade the Republican and Democratic nominations have gone to those with high name recognition and/or independent wealth.  Whitman and Fiorina had tremendous advantages as a billionaire and multi-millionaire, respectively, and benefited enormously from establishment support that cut off their opponents’ ability to raise funds.

When Proposition 14 is implemented in 2011, they still will – only this time the decisions will take place not in an open, voter decided forum, but in informal discussions among special interest groups picking their candidates and clearing the field.

So, way to go California!  By voting for less structure you’ll get less control.  Maybe next year someone will qualify a ballot measure to abolish the legislature and let every citizen decide every issue by popular vote.

What could go wrong?

March 19th, 2010 at 9:40 am
Impact of ObamaCare Vote May Reverberate Far Beyond November’s Elections
Posted by Print

The ongoing, excruciating, resource-draining attempt by Democrats to foist ObamaCare upon an unwilling American public (what ever happened to their promise to “focus on jobs” in 2010, anyway?) by any means necessary, legal or illegal, will obviously cause deafening reverberations in November’s Congressional elections.  With each passing day, scientific polling suggests that a Republican takeover is more and more likely.

In a brilliant commentary in today’s Wall Street Journal, however, Michael Solon points out that ObamaCare’s impact may be even more dramatic than Congressional midterms, or even the 1994 Congressional elections that vaulted Republicans to majorities in both houses for the first time since the 1950s.  This is because not only are Nancy Pelosi’s and Harry Reid’s majorities in jeopardy, but so are Democrat seats in governors’ mansions and state legislatures, which control Congressional district realignment following the 2010 census.  As stated by Solon:

Of all the political consequences that could flow from the national healthcare effort in 2010, the potential of the fall elections to shift 2011 redistricting to the Republicans’ advantage may be the most important.  That puts the long-term viability of the president’s healthcare reform in serious jeopardy, no matter the outcome of the 2012 elections.  While the election of 1994 did signal a political realignment, none of that alignment translated into the much more permanent benefit that redistricting could provide in 2010 if the GOP takes over state legislatures across the country…  As Democratic legislators consider their choices, many are missing the impact of an electoral wipeout in 2010 on the redistricting of Congressional seats as well as those in the state legislatures.  The electoral advantage gained from 2011 redistricting would extend the short-term pain of 2010 at least through the redistricting of 2021.”

The late Thomas “Tip” O’Neil once said that “all politics is local.” But the Democrats’ suicide mission in trying to pass ObamaCare may turn O’Neil’s observation on its head and prove that not only are local politics sometimes national, but also enduring.