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Unilateral Disarmament Is Not A Plan


I was planning to start the week discussing this baffling post by Kos, but fortunately The Editors save me the trouble:

I agree that this is a great proposition, and I urge the voters of Texas to pass it. Oh, wait. The problem with this proposition, and the reason it was proposed by Republicans and opposed by Democrats, is that it asks the largest Democratic state not to redistrict for partisan gain while Republican states redistrict away, with help from the Republican Congress. Net result: a gain in reps for the Republicans on the national level, and endless headaches of the sort we’ve all come to know and love over the past decade. As far as I’m concerned, 77 and 75 are the two non-negotiable items on the agenda, as they are the most explicit attacks on Democratic political funding and leverage.

Exactly right. It’s like Kos went to sleep thinking Nelson Rockefeller was going to get the Republican nomination in 1964, woke up in 2005, and thinks that the Republicans will happily go along with a Democratic goo-goo initiative even if it’s against their self-interest. In other words, it’s just crazy. If there’s anything that could prevent the hyper-partisan redistricting that happened in Texas, it’s that the Democrats can threaten to do the same in the nation’s largest state. With that off the table, we can certainly expect to see even more mid-decade Republican gerrymandering, further solidifying GOP control of the House, and our ability to retaliate will be severely compromised. But David Broder will write a column praising the Democratic self-abnegation, which I’m sure will make it all worthwhile…

…and apparently it’s worse than that–Brad Plumer points out that “the judges drawing the boundaries will end up packing the majority of urban voters into a few concentrated, ultra-Democratic districts,” because they’re forced to draw the most compact districts possible. (Iowa, which has a similar system, has 1 Democratic district in a state that Gore won and Kerry got 49% of the vote.) Seriously, if you’re a Democrat and willing to vote “Yes” on 77, you’re welcome to any poker game I’m playing in anytime. But if the meeting is about Democratic strategy, please wait outside. (For further comedy, Kos touts the fact that the proposition has the endorsement of CalPIRG. Yep, if there’s anyone I trust to understand the electoral implications of institutional rules, it’s organizations founded by Ralph Nader!)

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