Monday, October 25, 2010

The Pelosicrats Are At It Again

California Democrats were ticked off enough when two years ago the voters of the State of California approved an initiative which took mandatory redistricting out of the hands of self-serving politicians and put it in the hands of a civilian panel comprised of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four unaffiliated voters. But the law applied only to State districts. This year, the same thing was put together for Congressional elections.

For the Democrats (and a few "safe" Republicans) that was going a bridge too far. So we now have dueling Propositions on the November 2 ballot. Prop. 20 was done by initiative. In the initiative process, private citizens outside the government put together a proposed law, get enough signatures, and it is placed on the ballot. Prop. 27 was put together by the Democrat-controlled legislature with the assistance of the Congressional delegation led by Nancy Pelosi (largely because they want California to remain a "blue" state). In order for it not to look like a pure political ploy, the legislators used the initiative process by getting non-elected consultants and "concerned citizens" to put it on the ballot. Prop. 20 expands the citizen redistricting panel to Congressional elections. Prop. 27 not only keeps that from happening, but eliminates the citizens panel entirely and returns both state and federal redistricting to the hands of the pols.

Having two Propositions on the ballot which conflict with each other is the intent of the Democrats. They want confusion to reign on the distinct chance that voters will vote more heavily for Prop. 27 than for Prop. 20. It wasn't enough that the Democrats wanted to continue to control federal redistricting, but they figured while they were at it, they might as well get rid of any popular type of redistricting. Quite simply put, when two Propositions conflict, the one with the most votes becomes the law.

I've mentioned to you before that California is not nearly as blue as the MSM would have it, nor as blue as the district maps show. The heavy Democrat control of the legislature is largely the result of gerrymandered districts. In the wake of the 2000 Census, the Democrats controlled both the legislature and the governorship and thus had complete control over redistricting under the old system. They gerrymandered the districts so well that in the ten years since, only 5 of the 692 state and federal legislative seats have changed political hands. In the current election, even with the tremendous surge in Republican and Independent ire, it is likely that only 13 California Assembly and Senate seats (out of a total of 100) could even conceivably change party hands. As for Congress, only 4 out of 53 Congressional seats are up for grabs.

But that is under the old plan. If Prop. 20 passes, this would all change by the time of the 2012 general elections. Both state and federal districts would be more evenly drawn, disparities between size, shape and population of districts would be more evenly and compactly distributed. California has never been under any consent decrees resulting from the Voting Rights Act, so racial demographics would play a much smaller part. If any ethnic groups are affected directly by that, it would most likely mean an increase in Hispanic representation and a decrease in African-American representation, but even that is not a sure thing. In other words, to the extent humans are capable of reason, the districts would be drawn reasonably.

The concept of the people having any control over their voting districts is anathema to Democrats. A few Republicans are lukewarmly supporting Prop. 27 because they are in safe Republican districts. That lack of principle is disgusting. However, in most cases, a redistricting along fair and impartial lines would be far more damaging to Democrats and far more advantageous to Republicans. Democrat donors, and particularly the unions, have poured considerable resources into defeating Prop. 20 and passing Prop. 27.

It is estimated by several respectable authorities of both political parties that passage of Prop. 20 would add at least 10 more Congressional seats and 10 to 12 state seats into competition above the few that are already competitive. In no way does that guarantee Republican victories or even Republican control, but at least it somewhat levels the playing field.

Here's how the execrable Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez describes how desirable a return to the old system is: "Paying $20,000 is nothing to keep your seat. I spend $2 million campaigning every year. If my colleagues are smart, they'll pay their $20,000 and Democratic Consultant Michael Berman will draw the district they can win in. Those who refuse to pay? God help them."

Nancy Pelosi played a major part in drafting and foisting Prop.27 on the California voters. Her district is safe, no matter what. But since she will undoubtedly lose her position as Speaker of the House in November, she would at least like to have as many California Democrats as possible there with her in the minority party House caucus.


StanH said...

Wow! …and the hits keep coming. Incredible arrogance displayed by these politicians, too use scientific terminology, really pisses me off! I pray to goodness, many of these political bastards are put back on their heels on 11/2 and corrections can be made. We have much work to do folks…sheesh!

Unknown said...

Stan: The issues between Brown/Whitman and Boxer/Fiorina are clear. The question that really concerns me is how many people who have a clear idea of which candidate they are going to vote for have any idea what the ballot measures mean. The way the ballot measures are placed on the official voter pamphlets is skewed. The Attorney General parses the legal language and makes modifications as he deems necessary and the final version must be certified by the Secretary of State. This year, they are both Democrats, and one of them is running for governor.

By the time voters have gotten past the innocuous "summaries" and the actual wording, most voters are too exhausted to read the discussion by the Legislative Analyst. If they had been titled "Non-Partisan Commission Determination of Voting Districts" (Prop 20) and "Partisan Politicians Determination of Voting Districts" (Prop 27), the choice would have been clear and easy. Needless to say, that is not the way they are headlined.

StanH said...

Yeah Lawhawk, my wife was reading all of the tax proposals, addendums, etc. on the ballot. She said where do I vote for English as opposed to legalese.

Tennessee Jed said...

Of course this is not really surprising. Sadly, because it involves California, I always fear the wrong result. Hope not, but that is what I expect.

Unknown said...

Stan: The sad part is that legal language is necessarily stilted and often repetitive. Plain English is very poor at properly laying out legal documents. But that doesn't mean lawyers aren't very good at purposely obfuscating the words in order to mislead. The average American is the one who suffers from it. If politicians would do their job properly (most of them are lawyers anyway), citizens wouldn't have to wade through all these highly-technical legal documents just to correct the bad legislation which those elected officials have passed.

Unknown said...

Tennessee: I hope you're wrong, but I fear you're not. If you were simply to walk up to twenty average citizens and ask: "Do you prefer a neutral panel to set the voting districts, or do you prefer career politicians whose jobs are on the line to do it?" nearly all would choose the former. Just try gleaning that simple difference from the actual ballot measures.

The only hope I hold out is that I have seen twelve honest but untrained jurors sort through complicated facts and arcane law and come up with the right answer. This is just a much larger jury.

rlaWTX said...

I have a question that is related to this post only in that it could mention California.

Dear Commentarama Gurus of Knowledge,
Beyond the fact that he is a liberal icon, and by definition they are corrupt, give me reason for my distaste for Cesar Chavez. I don't like him, but I am not sure why. My lib relatives (in an otherwise apolotical game) named him, in reverent tones, a "revolutionary". While this deepens my antipathy; it does not give me reasons for it.

Thank you for your insight.

Most Sincerely,

chas7007 said...

Yep! God she's ugly. I mean Geeezz....I have to rush to the beloved channel flipper to get her off my screen. "Today in Washington Nancy Pelosi AAAAwwww FLIP FLIP FLIP!" If anything, vote opposite anything that pure politician touches. Save some money, make her ride Greyhound to Washington instead of private jets. Put that on a ballot. She's the same one interviewed "hours" before its signature "Is there any pork items in this stimulus bill!" She flat out "LIED" on national TV and said "Absolutely not". It was "loaded" with pork. Good work on nailing this ploy. She's is always up to some destructive act. I remember her. I hope CA voters will see to be very careful who they put in charge of redistricting. Keep it as neutral as can be or more pain will come down the pike. That's an old trick the double ballot move and I commend you LawHawk for bringing it to the readers. Good job. Good old Nancy, Lots of tricks with no treats.

AndrewPrice said...

I think they should pass a constitutional amendment requiring that all districts have to be squares, except where they touch upon state borders. That would make it really, really hard to gerrymander.

Unknown said...

rlaWTX: You dislike Cesar Chavez because he was friendly with communists (the hardcore type). He forced unionism on the farm workers whether they wanted it or not. There is strong evidence that his thugs routinely terrorized non-compliant farm workers, and his goons may very well have killed a few. He used the bleeding-hearts in the press with true abandon, and if he could have gotten away with it, he would have been the Mao Tse Tung of California. Other than that, he was a pretty nice guy.

I additionally dislike him because the lefties renamed the venerable old Army Street to Cesar Chavez Blvd in San Francisco, thus proving that a union thug is to be honored over brave soldiers fighting for their country.

Even though I was still a liberal Democrat during his reign of terror, I went out of my way to buy non-union lettuce and non-union grapes and wine. Without his fine leadership, unionized farm workers have been kicking the union out for over fifteen years now.

Unknown said...

Chas7007: Every time I see her, I'm reminded of Elsa Lanchester with her eyes wide open and her face frozen in horror when she first sees her future husband, the monster, in The Bride of Frankenstein. The only difference is that Lanchester had a better hair-do.

Unknown said...

Andrew: That solution would make more sense than anything I've heard the politicians come up with. The only thing I would add is that the squares would be different sizes to account for the differences in population density, but each square, regardless of size, would contain the same number of people.

rlaWTX said...

Thank you! That is exactly what I couldn't dredge up out of the memory banks!

I knew my faith in Commentaram was not misplaced! :-)

Tehachapi Tom said...

Some sense must be applied to redistricting. You Hawk, in Caliente, and I, here in Tehachapi, live in one of the most bizarre districts in California. Our district area here in Kern County connects by way of a 100 foot wide corridor to Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County. That is over 2 hours by car from one end to the other. What has happened to contiguous districts with common socio-economic interests What sort of loony tune group of clowns dreamed that one up?

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