You can count me in.
Voters draw the line against gerrymandering, by John Diaz (San Francisco Chronicle)
… Here’s why it matters:
The system is rigged. At the moment, Republicans have the edge in statehouses where redistricting is performed, and they have been ruthless in creatively drawing districts where Democrats have not a prayer. It is not by happenstance that the GOP won less than half of all votes for Congress in 2016 yet came away with a 33-vote advantage. Republican gerrymandering also appears to have suppressed the impact of the 2018 blue wave: About two-thirds of the House seats that flipped Democratic were in districts drawn by independent commissions.
(Arnold) Schwarzenegger reminded that Americans should not think of honest redistricting in terms of potential partisan advantage.
“I don’t concern myself in that whole Democratic-Republican kind of thing,” he said. “I look at it like this has been a problem for 200 years. In the last 200 years, we have seen the Democratic Party abuse the system, and we have seen the Republicans abuse the system.”
He is absolutely right.
In 1980, the task of redrawing California’s House boundaries was taken over by Rep. Phil Burton, the late San Francisco Democrat who was unapologetic about customizing districts to serve specific incumbents. One district was so bizarrely shaped — four segments, two connected only by water and two by railroad yards — that he called it “my contribution to modern art.”
I certainly recall the complaints from Democrats when Schwarzenegger championed redistrict reform when their party controlled both houses of the Legislature and the governor’s office. If Texas and other red states don’t play fair, they argued, then why should we?
It turns out that honest redistricting was a great benefit to the California Democrats by assuring that demographic shifts, rather than short-term political considerations, guided the boundaries. Not so long ago it would have been inconceivable that a Democrat could win a House seat in Orange County. Now, with Democratic gains in the midterms, the county is on the brink of having not a single GOP representative in Congress.
So one lesson of California redistricting is that democracy sets its own course.
“I’m a big believer in competition,” Schwarzenegger said. “When you have a system like this redistricting with the gerrymandering, it locks people in and they have job security. No one should have job security. The job security should be performance, especially in politics. When you have competition, that is what creates performance.”
Competition? Absolutely. Then there’s this:
Schwarzenegger may have just returned from filming Terminator 6 in Budapest, but he made plain that gerrymandering remains his No. 1 villain in real life.
“I’m an action guy,” he said. “I don’t want to complain about the Republicans and complain about the Democrats and what they do wrong and vice versa. I want to move the agenda forward, I want to get off my chair and do something about it.”