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The Legislature drew a set of maps and adopted them during the Legislative session. A San Antonio Federal Court ruled that those maps were not in compliance with the Voting Rights Act and did not accurately reflect the state’s population. They drew their own set of maps. Now, the Supreme Court will dictate to our state the best way we should be represented.
Redistricting is one of the most complex political processes. The people who are in charge tend to work in their own best interest and not the interest of the overall state. Why would they? Who among us wouldn’t fight to protect or enhance our own political power if we had the opportunity? It is the most base form of raw political politics.
In my humble opinion, it is also the root cause of the divided and dysfunctional governance that dominates our nation. Districts are drawn with such dominant populations of one party or the other that competition becomes moot. Could any Republican truly and legitimately compete against Sheila Jackson Lee? Could any Democrat truly and legitimately compete against John Culberson? The answer to both of these questions is a resounding “NO”!
Sure, they may face opponents in their primary but those folks are going to be as solidly partisan, if not more so, than the ones currently holding office. The fact is that there are very few “swing” districts left in our country. A “swing” district would be defined as one where the voters could legitimately choose between a Democrat or Republican and the voter behavior is not predictable prior to the election.
How could we possibly expect Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and Congressman John Culberson to sit at a table and work together on complex issues? The fact is that both might be punished by the people who elect them for even “cavorting with the enemy”. They have neither incentive nor direction from their constituents to work together. Thus, governing is in gridlock.
Alas, maybe those in charge of drawing the maps now will consider bringing the most core element of democracy back in to the process – competition.
One can only hope.
This entry was originally posted at Nancy Sims' blog, Ponderings.