Texas Liberal

All People Matter

District Lines Are Drawn By People Who Have Earned The Right To Do So By Winning Elections

The question of how to best draw congressional districts provokes many different responses. All the various solutions are subjective. All involve, despite what anyone might say, political judgments of one kind or another.

Many on the left and in the center say Republicans have locked up control of Congress by drawing ironclad lines favoring them. What’s not always mentioned is that Republicans were able to draw these lines because they won elections for governor and state legislatures. 

Here in Texas, district lines are a hot subject. A very partisan redistricting was done for the 2004 election under the direction of former Congressman Tom DeLay.  While drawing lines a second time in a decade is unusual, the lines drawn by DeLay are more representative than what they replaced. 

The previous lines sent more Democrats than Republicans to the U.S House. This did not reflect the views of a majority of Texas voters. Republicans win every statewide election in Texas. The   DeLay gerrymander is closer to how the people of Texas vote. 

As for drawing lines more than once a decade, the expectation seems to be politicians and political parties should not take advantage of favorable political circumstances that give them control of the process. I expect people I vote for to pursue partisan advantage for the sake of the positions I support. 

Some say the current process enhances the power of the conservative wing of the Republican party at the expense of more moderate voters. Conservative Republicans control the process because they organize and vote. Are they supposed to reject power that they have earned? If the situation were reversed, as it has been in the past and may be in the future, I’d want to see as many liberals as possible in Congress.

An argument is sometimes made that so-called “non-partisan” committees or panels should draw district lines. The notion is that such panels would direct the process back towards more moderate politicians in both parties.

That is a silly idea. Politics is partisan by nature. Alleged moderates are politicians as well. Just because someone occupies an imagined “center” does not mean they are not practicing politics. In all likelihood the claim of being in the middle is a ploy in and of itself.

The way to control the process is to win elections for state legislatures and governorships. That is how Democrats did it for 60 years before the disaster of 1994. And it is the only way Democrats will regain long-term power in the United States House of Representatives.

August 7, 2006 - Posted by | Elections, Political History, Politics, Texas

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