Every once in a while, when I drop some factoid or another into a “debate” with a lib, I’ll wrap it with a bit of a verbal end-zone happy dance; “Sometimes”, I’ll say, “reality is just plain conservative”.
With that in mind – the five-member Judicial Redistricting Panel has ruled on the rules to be used in redistricting…
…and it’s generally good news for those who support following the rules as they’ve sprung up over the past forty years or so:
For the first time, the panel said the metropolitan area should be regarded as 11 counties, not seven. As a result more exurban counties could be tied into districts in suburban and urban areas.
That was an approach Republicans favored, said Elizabeth Brama who represents the Republican party on redistricting. She said it’s unclear what effect the change will have.
“I don’t think it’s a question of one party or the other benefiting,” Brama said. “I think it’s more a question of just fairly representing where the people in the state of Minnesota live and how they organize themselves.”
Which, to be honest, is what the GOP has been shooting for all along; as Dr. Kent Kaiser has pointed out in numerous forums, the plan passed by the Legislature – really the GOP majority – did a good job of sticking to the letter and spirit of the body of law that this state has developed in its decades of sending these questions to the courts to decide.
It was the DFL that’s gone partisan; Mark Dayton vetoed the Legislature’s plan for purely partisan grounds. (Actually, I suspect it was less “partisan” than that the unions, Alliance for a Better Minnesota and other groups that control the DFL didn’t give him permission to pass it). And a group of groups that, by any rational measure, call at least some of the DFL’s shots – the groups behind “Draw The Line MN” – took their shot at skewing the system to favor “communities of interest” which, inevitably, are DFL constituencies.
Now, I’m going to do just a bit of place-keeping her for future debates. I’ll add emphasis to this next bit, from Ken Martin, former head of “Win Minnesota”, one of the groups that funneled money from unions and liberals with deep pockets into the DFL’s campaign coffers, especially for their sleazy, toxic campaign against Tom Emmer last year. He is the current chair of the DFL.
DFL party chair Ken Martin wasn’t surprised by those changes.
“I think it’s pretty pro forma and certainly establishes a lot of the same principles that were in place ten years ago,” Martin said. “Again, without discussing this further with my team and being able to look at it more in detail, I can’t comment any more than that. But on the surface I think it’s fine. I don’t think it give any party an advantage over another.”
I’m emphasizing those passages now, for later. Because you just know that if the Judicial Panel draws the lines based on these rules, the DFL and the groups that call its shots – the public employee unions, Alliance For A Better Minnesota, the Minnesota Council of Non-Profits, the League of Women Voters, Take Action Minnesota and Common Cause – will be screeching exactly the opposite, and demanding that you forget history in the bargain.
Because it’s a fairly simple thing – if you follow the rules set down in the past several court-decided apportionment decisions, the GOP should benefit; the parts of the state that support the GOP have grown, while the DFL parts have shrunk. This represents many things – but we can not discount the fact that one of the key “communities of interest” are “people who moved to get the hell away from the cesspools the DFL has created” in the Twin Cities and Duluth.
The judical panel’s deadline to produce a redistricting map is February 21.