RTD calls out House Republicans on gerrymandering.

The RTD editorializes against House Republicans today, using some pretty strong language:

The House Privileges and Elections Committee has killed a bill to create a bipartisan redistricting commission. The vote ranks as the most deplorable of the session.


What is the principled argument for gerrymandering? There is none.

Four Republicans on the committee killed the bill: John Cosgrove, Chris Jones, Steven Landes, and Jeff Frederick — who also is chairman of the state GOP. […] [F]or the sake of petty partisan gain they stuck a knife in representative democracy’s back.

It’s never a good sign for Republicans when the Times-Dispatch’s conservative editorial page comes out against them.

Speaking of Del. Frederick’s dual roles, here’s a thinker—if it’s wrong for Gov. Tim Kaine to be the head of the DNC, isn’t it equally wrong for Frederick to be head of the RPV? (And the inverse, of course?)

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

12 replies on “RTD calls out House Republicans on gerrymandering.”

  1. I never realized how similar those two acronyms are! (Or how terribly confusing it could be to mix them up.) I’ve fixed it in the headline, but left it in the URL slug (rpv-gerrymandering), since otherwise I’ll break any links to this blog entry, RSS feeds, etc. My apologies for what looks like a sensationalist headline—would that it were true!

    Thanks, Mark.

  2. I don’t understand your point, Will. Surely often the party in control of redistricting produces gerrymandered districts in order to pack voters of the other party into a smaller number of districts and improve its own share of the seats. Republicans are general fine with those majority-black districts that are super-safe seats for Democrats, because it means the other districts in the state are more Republican. There’s a tradeoff for a party between safeness of seats and number of seats.

  3. Does anyone know how many bipartisan redistricting bills were passed when the Democrats were in the majority? I can’t seem to find any reference to such using the googlethingie.

  4. You need to stop looking backward, IPub, and embrace the Brave New World ushered in by the election of The One.

  5. Which ‘one’ is that you are talking about, Will?

    If it’s Obama, then I am not sure what that has to do with bipartisan redistricting in Virginia.

    Maybe I missed part of your mantra.

  6. That’s exactly the excuse that results in this yo-yoing of dumb-ass districts across the nation. Democrats get in control and draw stupid districts, Republicans get in control and draw stupid districts, and voters suffer terribly along the way. “That’s just how it’s done” is about the most pathetic excuse available for this practice of allowing legislators to pick their constituents, rather than vice versa.

    Republicans are about to lose power. They were presented with a choice. They could opt for a fair system, under which they have the same shot as Democrats at winning. Or they could opt for an unfair system, on the off chance that they hold onto the House and regain the Senate and the governor’s mansion; if they lose that bet, they’ll plummet to below 30 seats if (when) Democrats don’t follow through on their promises. In a breathtakingly stupid move, they choose the latter. No doubt Democrats wish that they’d chosen to institute nonpartisan redistricting a decade ago.

    Payback is no excuse for running a lousy democracy.

  7. I don’t have much hope for either party to support nonpartisan redistricting when they’re firmly in control. The time when it seems most likely would be something like now, when either one of the parties could have a fair amount of control by next year, with governor and House of Delegates up in the air, and Democratic control of the state senate looking shaky. Unfortunately, it requires that both sides accept that they might not end up on top and therefore ought to look for something that’s a better deal than being on the bottom.

  8. No doubt Democrats wish that they’d chosen to institute nonpartisan redistricting a decade ago.

    Perhaps. If that’s true, we’ll see them institute it the next time they’re the majority. Personally, I won’t hold my breath.

  9. Of course an elected state official shouldn’t be Chairman of a state political party. Even if the man has the judgment of Solomon, he can’t avoid appearances that he uses one position to influence the other. Frederick, by the way, does not possess the judgment of Solomon.

    But, on the specific issue, the problem is even more acute. The position he took on this issue as a delegate reflects a chronic fear of the electorate that poisons much of what the Virginia GOP says and does these days. A party chairman trying to construct a viable vehicle for bringing capable candidates to the political marketplace would be doing everything possible to reach out to the entire electorate, not looking for ways to barricade the party into a tiny corner.

  10. I don’t have a problem with Del. Frederick or Gov. Kaine holding party posts, but I do have a problem with Del. Frederick’s assignment to P&E and especially the elections subcommittee. The primary purpose of a party chair is to win elections, so is that not a huge conflict of interest for him to serve on that committee and subcommittee? Should it go as far to necessitate him voting R69 on any election related bill?

    I’m also not trying to let Kaine off the hook because their are instances when he has/will have conflict of interests. However, I think it is less clear-cut than the example of Chairman/Delegate Frederick.

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