I’m against naked power grabs. How about you? If you’re a career politician, the answer is, “I’m all in favor!”
For example, every ten years in this fair land we take a census to determine population, and we redraw political districts to take the new numbers into account. And who do you think does the redrawing? Sure, politicians. And not just any old politicians: the ones in power. Not exactly a disinterested third party. I’m thinking Florida. I’m thinking oranges, Disneyland and pitched political battles. I’m thinking Republicans on the upswing and turning as many districts as they can into soft pretzels, the better to keep themselves in power.
Bill Jones, a veteran of Florida’s redistricting wars who now lobbies for the League of Women Voters, says that redistricting is “like a card game in Alice In Wonderland where nobody knows the rules, everything seems terribly strange and everyone acts a little weird.” State Senator Steven Geller is a Democrat who sits on a redistricting panel. He says if the Republicans “don’t get too greedy, they can overrun the Democrats, providing they only run over the Democrats just somewhat.” Oh. Geller says if the Republicans are too obvious, the courts, which have to approve the redistricting, might get nervous about things. But the story is the same in almost every state. The ground rules may vary a bit, but the bottom line is the politicians themselves get to decide the shape of the fiefdoms they rule. A naked power grab. Just don’t be too obvious about it, right? Yeah, right. T
his is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.