Monday, August 08, 2011

Whine And Roses

California did an interesting thing a while back. Via the initiative process, voters took the responsibility for redistricting away from the state legislature and vested it instead in a citizen's commission. After decades of gerrymandering to suit the incumbents, Californians had had enough. The results are now pretty much out, and while the commission did a remarkably good job with the complex issues, some politicians are not happy.

From the Sacramento Bee:

The California Republican Party endorsed the two initiatives that brought about the Citizens Redistricting Commission, Propositions 20 and 11.

Oddly, some party leaders, including Chairman Tom Del Beccaro, are having buyer's remorse.

Why? Well, a more honest and consistent electoral map will result in potential losses for the GOP. This should come as no surprise to Republicans, who conveniently have forgotten that under the old map they managed to lose every single race for state office and lost one seat in the state legislature in the 2010 election. Instead of recognizing that the current brand of Republicanism was rejected by state voters across the board in that election, Republicans are now whining that the commission plan didn't work and are threatening a law suit to overturn its efforts and to give the job to a panel of state judges.

The California Republican congressional delegation almost surely will shrink in 2012. They also may lose a few state Senate seats next year, although they could gain a seat in 2014.

But any losses have nothing to do with the commission and everything to do with demographics and voter registration.

This is a party that has been losing market share for years. A mere 31 percent of California registered voters call themselves Republicans.
[Emphasis added]

More moderate members of the state GOP have been warning their party that in a state where the Latino population is growing, virulent attacks on "illegals" are not the best way to tap into that new sector of the population, something which Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina learned the hard way.

The new maps all but guarantee there will be as many as nine more Latinos in the Legislature. Instead of griping about the lines, Republicans should focus on recruiting candidates who appeal to that fast-growing segment of the population. While they're at it, they should find candidates who can attract moderates' votes.

The final maps will issue shortly, and will hopeful complete the process. The citizens who have spent a lot of time and energy in re-drawing district lines to conform to geography and population rather than the wishes of incumbents of both parties have done a remarkably good job. For that, the entire state should be grateful.

And somebody should send some Real California Cheese to the GOP leaders. It'll go well with their whine.

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