Nothing natural about congressional redistricting | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nothing natural about congressional redistricting

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 6:58 AM

John Brummett echoes adopts the Republican talking point that it is a perverse gerrymander to run a peninsula up to Washington County to capture Fayetteville for the Fourth District. That map would look a little strange, yes.

But to assert there is a "natural" way for existing congressional districts to grow is a fallacy based on nothing. Why should the 1st "naturally" grow further north into the hills? It would be far more "natural," if some sort of geoconsistency were the measure, for the 1st District to grow from its western border in Lonoke County right up to the end of the Delta at Ozark Point in Little Rock, capturing all the final bits of flat land (and many thousands of black voters) in Pulaski County. (I'm not recommending that, by the way, just saying.)

Congressional redistricting is and always has been political in every state. That is the only "natural" part of it. The current "natural" kinship between Van Buren and Pulaski in the Second and between Mountain Home and Gillett in the 1st? Nothing natural about it and there never will be when you take the three states or four states of Arkansas (Delta, hills, coastal plain, river valley) and its scattered pockets of dense population and try to divide them on a representational basis. Talk about unnatural — that would be the Johnny Key Republican plan to sever a bunch of Delta counties from their historic home in the 1st and give them to Mike Ross in the 4th. The aim is obvious — to make the 1st more Republican with the loss of Democratic counties and a pickup of Republican White. This is just as "natural" as Democrats seeking to add a Democratic pocket in Fayetteville to the Fourth. Political perversion is in the eye of the beholder. I'd like to see the district populations in the Key plan and see if they meet the "not-one-vote" variation that Sen. Gilbert Baker has insisted should be the standard for redistricting.

UPDATE: Note that Senator Key has supplied the population figures in his plan. The variance, as a percentage, is small, but a population swing among districts wider than 3,000 in one case. This was described to me as unacceptable in one conversation I had with Sen. Gilbert Baker, but he's already pronounced Key's plan wonderful, so perhaps his outlook has changed on population variances. At least when it comes to Republican ideas.

You ask why Republicans would help Mike Ross? Because he votes with the GOP 50 percent of the time.


Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Now, the main event

    I write Tuesday morning, before polls close on primary and judicial election contests.
    • May 24, 2018
  • 16 sheriffs endorse Asa Hutchinson

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson had a campaign event todasy to announce an endorsement by 16 of the state's 75 sheriffs, including retiring Sheriff Doc Holladay of Pulaski County (a Democrat).
    • May 23, 2018
  • The line is open

    Here's the open line today. Lots of news today. Check it out on the daily video.
    • May 23, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas: Land of .......

    Welcome to Arkansas: Land of cowardly politicians, discriminatory laws, inhumane turkey drops and lots and lots of Trump voters.
    • Oct 8, 2016
  • French Hill votes against disaster aid to Puerto Rico

    Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill alone among Arkansas's House delegation voted last week against a measure that provided $36.5 billion in disaster aid, a portion  for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico as well as money for wildfire response and to support the flood insurance program.
    • Oct 14, 2017
  • UPDATE: Hutchinson moves to cover himself on cut to War Memorial Stadium

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson apparently felt the burn from KARK's exclusive Tuesday night on his plans to cut state support of War Memorial Stadium in half beginning July 1, 2018. He has a so-far secret plan to make the stadium self-sustaining. We bet that doesn't include state support.
    • Oct 20, 2016

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation