Thursday, January 13, 2005

Turning Into Fire

Sometimes, the best way to break out of a bad position is a full-out offensive. On the other hand, a full-out offensive can also be suicide.

When it comes to redistricting, that's apparently the choice we face. Kevin Drum earlier opined in opposition to Ahnold's proposal to move redistricting out of the hands of legislature and into the hands of a set of retired judges. While Drum and I both sympathize with this goal, we opposed it on the grounds that since Republicans would never follow suit, it would only hurt Democrats (see my concurrence here).

Peter Beinart authored a rejoinder, arguing that Democrats should a) agree to the proposal starting after the 2011 census and b) in the meantime, should use this proposal to push for the same reforms across the entire nation. Presumably, this could offset Democratic losses in California with pickups in Florida, Pennsylvania, and other GOP-controlled states where the legislature has artificially reduced the amount of Democratic-controlled seats.

Sounds great to me, but Drum has a caveat:
But is Beinart right? If Democrats led a charge to end gerrymandering, would it sweep the nation or would it sweep only the blue states where they were leading the charge? Make no mistake: this is a very high risk strategy that assumes Republican leaders can be embarrassed into following suit. Maybe they can, but count me as still needing to see a sign somewhere to give me faith.

In other words, its total victory or total defeat. If the Democrats can force Republicans into redistricting their own strongholds (as well as our own), then we'll have scored a huge victory for Democracy and competition. If the Democrats CAN'T "convince" the Republicans to do it, then the Democrats will lose dozens of seats and be sent into perpetual political exile.

So the question is: Do you feel lucky, punk?

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