It is clear to me that partisan redistricting is one of the great plagues on our Democracy (NOTE: A new paper questions whether redistricting actually harms competitiveness in Congressional races. Mark Schmitt buys most of the paper's conclusions, but contests that specific one). Texas was the most flagrant manifestation of this, but it hardly is unique. The lack of competition in California's 52 congressional districts shows that Texas is not alone. In theory, then, I support Arnold's intiative. So what's the problem? Over to Drum:
So why am I depressed? Because the insanely partisan atmosphere of contemporary American politics means I can't support this proposal even though I think it would be good for the state. After watching Texas Republicans ram through a brutally gerrymandered mid-decade redistricting that gained the Republican party four congressional seats in the 2004 election, how stupid would a California Democrat have to be to agree to meekly support a goo-goo proposal that would have the effect of giving Republicans more seats in yet another state? Guys like Tom DeLay and Hugh Hewitt would be guffawing in their beers for days about our terminal naivete if we went along with this. Raw power would be their ally in red states and appeals to progressive idealism would be their ally in the blue states. That's quite a combination.
Chalk up another reason to detest DeLay and Co. Even if we want to play fair, we can't because its political suicide. We all have to race toward moral destruction in the longterm because to do otherwise would be political destruction in the short term. All because DeLay and his pals don't believe in abiding by basic ethical standards. Curse you.