Beyond 2008: Redistricting

John Fund wrote about the future of 20% of the US Economy and over 10% of the population:

Tony Quinn, co-editor of the California Target Book, a nonpartisan analysis of state politics, says that if Democrats retake the governorship after Mr. Schwarzenegger’s departure in 2010, it’s "pretty clear" that they would use their control of the Legislature to push for the mother of all gerrymanders. "Democrats will use their mapmaking power to try to achieve a two-thirds majority in both houses of the legislature, thus wiping out the ability of Republicans to influence budget and tax legislation, which require a supermajority to pass," he wrote in the Los Angeles Times.

The Dems might have the power to do this because of a failure to take up a non-partisan redistricting proposal. So the Gov. has to push it:

He argues the political climate will be different in June 2008 than it was in 2005. Back then less than 70% of Republicans supported the overly complex measure proposed by their own party’s governor. But today Mr. Schwarzenegger’s approval rating is 59%, 25 points higher than in 2005. The Legislature’s approval numbers have hovered around 30% throughout the last three years. At the same time, support for the general idea of taking away the power to draw districts from the legislature has remained popular with voters, who support the general idea by a 3-to-1 margin in most polls.

This failed in 2005 because the Dems spent $250m on fighting the Governor’s proposals. (The Chamber also screwed him. They didn’t want to spend the money) But they can try again. And they should. And Republicans should support this precedent. The rest of the country can’t afford to let California turn dark blue.

Several other states could benefit from this (from a Republican perspective). Illinois, where the Dems are likely to go after Rep. Mark Kirk. Probably New York. On the other hand, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida all have partisan gerrymanders that go the other way. It is a mess. But it is probably the right thing to do.