"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.