Redistricting Idiocy

In his typical, incompetent style, Adam Nagourney addresses redistricting efforts in several different states. The problem? He treats all the redistricting efforts as being neutral, so the Arizona nonpartisan commission (modeled on Iowa, one of the very few redistricting processes that actually works) is the same as the California proposal (which it's not) is the same as the Texas brute-force, mid-decade redistricting (which it's really, really, really not). A sample of the idiocy:
"The self-dealing quality of legislators drawing districts for themselves or for their partisans has basically collapsed the enterprise," said Samuel Issacharoff, a visiting professor at New York University Law School and an expert on redistricting. "There's an increasing sense of revulsion among people at this self-dealing. It is somewhat scandalous that there are no competitive elections anymore."

The 2002 Texas redistricting effort, during which Democratic lawmakers fled the state to stop the Legislature from getting a quorum, lent some spice to what even proponents acknowledge can be an eye-glazing subject. The next year, Republicans tried to do the same thing in Colorado, but the effort was challenged in a lawsuit filed by the Democratic attorney general.

"Some spice" is all he can say - no comment on the fact that the Texas redistricting was exactly the problem Issacharoff is talking about. And "proponents" - is he talking about proponents of more representative redistricting? 'Cause baby, that ain't what Texas was about, and even DeLay would acknowledge that.

Now I know that this is an atrocious use of inference, but does the reader? Unless they followed the Texas case, and remember it - no. And Nagourney makes no effort to educate them.

He does, however, make room for Republican diktat to create the illusion of a permanent and inevitable Republican majority:

"You basically have 400 seats in Congress that are decided long before the general election - and Republicans have a 15- to 20-seat advantage," said Matthew Dowd, who was a senior adviser to President Bush's re-election campaign. "That puts them in a position where it's very hard to lose the House of Representatives."
In a piece about electoral reform, in a country where Republicans dominate govenment at the national and state levels, Nagourney quotes or cites proposals from six Republicans, five nonpartisan experts...and one Democrat, a state senator for Maryland, near the bottom of the article.

Read the whole thing, for an education in just how atrocious coverage of our national political discourse has become. Given a rare chance to address actual substance rather than mere political gamesmanship - indeed, in the case of electoral reform, substance defined as in opposition to political gamesmanship - Nagourney is entirely unequal to the task.

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