We sorta liked it then, but we hate it now.
That is pretty much the reaction of the California Republican Party to the release of the final maps that will control electoral districts for the next 10 years.
When voters approved Proposition 11 in November 2008, they saw it as a chance to end, or at least drastically curtail, the influence of partisan politics in shaping the State Assembly, Senate and federal Congressional elections.
It took the redistricting process out of the hands of politicians and gave it to a 14-member, independent commission called the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.
The final maps were released Monday–and Republicans are howling. They’re talking about going to court to block the implementation of the maps, and they’re talking about another referendum to overturn the voters’ decision.
If they do go to court, it won’t be a long process. The law provides that all such actions go directly to the California Supreme Court; no lower court battles along the way.
In that possible action, the conservative Republicans might find themselves with very strange bedfellows–MALDEF–the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
MALDEF is all atwitter because the new maps don’t appear to carve out majority Hispanic districts, as they’d hoped.
Well, no kidding.
It is just that sort of gerrymandering the Commission was established to do away with.
Here in Santee, our current elected officeholders–Republicans all–appear to be safe.
Senator Joel Anderson will be losing some current territory, including Alpine, where he lives. He’ll have to move, or at least establish a legal residence within the boundaries of the new 36th District.
Assemblyman Brian Jones still gets to live in Santee.
Congressman Duncan Hunter will see some of his district move northerly–not so far eastward–and still be pretty much solid Republican country.
But a lot of politicians, both locally and statewide, might have big trouble on the horizon.
Brian Bilbray is just one of many.
He’s losing a lot of solid Republican votes inland, while picking up a lot of traditional Democrat territory as he moves more to the coast.
And there is the 900-pound gorilla waiting in the wings for all current officeholders: That would be Proposition 14, approved by the voters in June 2010.
Remember that one? It’s the open primary law.
That means the top two voters in any primary advance to the general election, even if they are both Democrats or both Republicans.
There are many districts currently occupied by Republicans that are very close–very close–to an even split registration-wise.
If only two Republican senators lose, it would give both houses of the Legislature to the Democrats–and possibly finish Republicans as a major factor in California politics.
They are very nearly there already.
Democrats would be able to pass a budget, raise taxes, enact new laws. And all Republicans could do is wring their hands and say “What about us?”
A valid question–and one Republicans would do anything to avoid hearing the answer to.