The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC) has released a "draft" map of Congressional districts. Based on preliminary numbers ("preliminary" because the district lines will change, at least a little bit, after the next round of public hearings, starting next week), there are four districts that are basically "safe" Republican, two districts that are basically "safe" Democratic, and three districts that are competitive.
Personally, I think the people of Arizona in general (and every non-Republican in particular, which is 2/3 of the state) are done a disservice by this draft map. A better map would have three safe R districts, two safe D districts, and four truly competitive ones was and is an attainable goal.
However, I'm not going to whine about it. I'm just going to spend time this weekend working up a map that meets that objective while also adhering to the other criteria mandated by the Arizona constitution.
However2, I'm not going to let my unwillingness to whine stop me from mocking Republican whining.
Nope, not at all.
First up on the hit parade: Governor Jan Brewer.
She put out a press release today on the official governor's website that wasn't exactly a prime example of non-partisanship.
From her press release (and my responses) -
"The IRC proposal is simply gerrymandering at its worst," said Governor Brewer. "This unaccountable, unelected Commission has misused its authority to draw a congressional map that is every Democrat‟s dream. In doing so, they‟ve violated their bedrock legal requirements to maintain districts that protect communities of interest and are geographically compact."
"Unaccountable"? Only to the law. Something that Jan and her clan may not have much respect for, but the law is something that most of rest of us have a deep respect for.
"Unelected"? Perhaps, but that was the idea behind the creation of the AIRC by the voters - take redistricting out of the hands of elected officials who are more concerned with keeping their jobs than doing what is best for Arizona. In addition, while the members of the AIRC are "unelected," they are appointed by elected officials after betting vetted and screened by a commission headed up by the Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court.
As for her allegation that the primary concerns for the AIRC are to protect "communities of interest" and create districts that are "geographically compact"?
From Article Four, Part Two, Section One of the Arizona Constitution -
14) The independent redistricting commission shall establish congressional and legislative districts. The commencement of the mapping process for both the congressional and legislative districts shall be the creation of districts of equal population in a grid-like pattern across the state. Adjustments to the grid shall then be made as necessary to accommodate the goals as set forth below:All of those criteria are equal in importance in terms of the redistricting process, and I'm betting that Brewer and her handlers know that. They're just ignoring that inconvenient fact.
A. Districts shall comply with the United States Constitution and the United States voting rights act;
B. Congressional districts shall have equal population to the extent practicable, and state legislative districts shall have equal population to the extent practicable;
C. Districts shall be geographically compact and contiguous to the extent practicable;
D. District boundaries shall respect communities of interest to the extent practicable;
E. To the extent practicable, district lines shall use visible geographic features, city, town and county boundaries, and undivided census tracts;
F. To the extent practicable, competitive districts should be favored where to do so would create no significant detriment to the other goals.
From the press release:
This new proposal, however, throws that concept out the window – completely rewriting Arizona‟s congressional lines in a move that splits counties and communities and tosses large numbers of voters and sitting members of Congress into new districts.
Duh. (That's my high school debating experience showing through there...oh wait - my HS didn't have a debate team. :) )
Also, take a look at the current map, one that Republicans love. Many communities and most counties are split into two or more districts. With Arizona's population pattern of incredibly densely populated areas in metro Phoenix and Tucson while most of the rest of the state is incredibly sparsely populated, splits are going to happen.
I was going to analyze and rebut similar press releases from many of the Republicans in AZ's Congressional delegation, but they were too....similar.
Similar to the point of obviously being part of a coordinated disinformation campaign, and similar to the point of possibly being written by the same person.
Remember English 101?
Do a compare-and-contrast exercise - David Schweikert's press release is here; Jeff Flake's is here; Paul Gosar's is here; John McCain's and Jon Kyl's is here; Ben Quayle's is here; and for good measure (guess he didn't want to feel left out), a statement by Andy Tobin, speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, is here.
Note: all of the above statements courtesy the Republican
Andrei Cherny, chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, issued his own statement in response to the Republican blitzkrieg against the AIRC. I won't reprint the entire statement, but here is the final line, and it sums up my thoughts far more concisely than my own words can -
"The only reason 50/50 districts are a threat to Republican electoral prospects is because of the extreme, out-of-touch agenda that Arizona Republican leaders have been pursuing. Gov. Brewer should spend less time on bullying and more on job creation, and substitute real leadership for these partisan attacks. It is beneath the dignity of the governorship and not in keeping with the best interests of the state.”
Ummm...redistricting is supposed to rewrite district lines and to move voters and sitting elected officials into new districts. That is why it's called "redistricting."A mix of outright lies and lies of omission.