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Question of the day

Thursday, Nov 30, 2006

House Speaker Michael Madigan has said several times that he won’t do it, but do you think the Democratically controlled Illinois legislature ought to redraw congressional district maps next year (perhaps producing two or even three more Dem seats) as Texas Republicans did a few years back? Why or why not?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


67 Comments
  1. - Blue Boy - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 8:56 am:

    Absolutely, The GOP set the precedent (along with their voting machines) and now that more Legislatures and Governors are Dem controlled, we need to thank the GOP for the power they gave us!


  2. - Bill - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 9:02 am:

    Yes! It is our turn now.


  3. - Niles Township - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 9:06 am:

    No. It was wrong when a corrupt Delay and his GOP did it, just like it would be wrong when a corrupt Illinois Democratic party would do it. Everyone should go back and read the Declaration of Independence. There is a bubbling brew of discontent with government in this country (particularly in this state and Cook County). At some point, voters will exercise their rights to fundamentally change government. How about starting with non-partisan elections so we get the best candidates, and not the sons and daughters of party hacks.


  4. - Leroy - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 9:12 am:

    “At some point, voters will exercise their rights to fundamentally change government”

    Ummm..exactly how? The political parties have an iron grip on the state. They have enough people on the payroll to dictate what goes. And they are very happy right now.


  5. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 9:15 am:

    Bill sounds like he favors tit-for-tat. And thats too bad because he comes off sounding like just another naive ugly partisan hack. I never considered him ugly before now.

    Fortunately, Madigan is not a juvenile. The Republicans got screwed by doing this in Colorado and Texas, and those proposing that it be done, don’t seem interested in any long term effects the negative consequences have on voters.

    So partisans looking for revenge can favor this idea, but partisans interested in a long term governing opportunity for Democrats need to grow up.

    The Republicans proved that game-playing in this arena costs votes in elections. Live and learn boys!


  6. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 9:17 am:

    It is time to outlaw gerrymandering. Period. When politicians use computers to choose you, then we have a complete perversion of representative democracy.


  7. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 9:22 am:

    Why redraw the map? We’re doing pretty darn good on this one.


  8. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 9:33 am:

    But how would they redistrict the state? The GOP is already losing serious ground in the collar counties and pretty much all of Illinois north of I-88. Madigan can sit back, relax and let the ever-changing demographics dictate the landscape. If Roskam won by only 2% this year, he is sure to have another tough race. Other GOP incumbents who will have a tough race in 2008 will be Kirk, Weller and possibly Shimkus.


  9. - Mr. Mann - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 9:41 am:

    Illinoisans have a sense of fairness that Texans wouldn’t understand. He won’t try because it would only backfire.


  10. - Constitutional Loooker - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 9:42 am:

    Rich, please examine Article IV, Section 3 of the State Constitution. There is no authority to re-draw legislative districts except for right after a federal census.


  11. - Wumpus - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 10:00 am:

    He doesn’t need to, but he will, just to put the boot further onto the GOP throat. But they cannot get more ridiculous looking than some fed districts in the city, is it the 2nd I am thinking of?


  12. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 10:01 am:

    “Constitutional Loooker,” I’ve seen that section you mentioned and just went back to re-read it. There’s nothing about congressional reapportionment in there.


  13. - Levois - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 10:08 am:

    Hopefully Illinois Republicans won’t do as the Texas Democrats did but escaping to another state. I have a problem with this form of gerrymandering and I would oppose this anyway. Whether we’re talking about a Democratic or a Republican controlled legislature.


  14. - Squideshi - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 10:10 am:

    Madigan should not sink to the level of the Texas GOP. If he really wants to show leadership, he should propose citizen control of the redistricting process, favorably using a random, computer-generated method. Also, get rid of these singe-seat districts; and bring back Proportional Representation.


  15. - muon - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 10:18 am:

    An interesting exercise is to apply a simple set of antigerrymandering rules to the state. Many states insist that a map minimize splits in political subdivisions such as counties and townships. If one applies that to the Illinois Cong. map with 2000 census data, the strange-shaped districts like IL-17 disappear, but the partisan makeup would likely be the same (using 2004 voting patterns).

    For those who like partisan gerrymanders, a less restrictive set of antigerrymandering rules can be crafted. Texas has rules restricting county splits and still created relatively partisan maps in both directions.


  16. - Tom - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 10:20 am:

    Constitutional Looker is correct. This couldn’t happen until after the 2010 Census.

    The Economist pointed out our 17th District as a laughingstock. It starts at Rock Island, snakes along the Mississippi into Madison County, with a ridiculously narrow finger that picks up parts of Springfield and Decatur. No more gerrymandering by either party. Use a computerized system similar to Iowa’s.

    Bill, it stunk when Republicans did it in Texas, and our districts in Illinois stink. How about fairness for once instead of turning everything into a petty little game?


  17. - Tom - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 10:40 am:

    From Article IV, Section 3:

    SECTION 3. LEGISLATIVE REDISTRICTING
    (a) Legislative Districts shall be compact, contiguous and substantially equal in population. Representative Districts shall be compact, contiguous, and substantially equal in population.
    (b) In the year following each Federal decennial census year, the General Assembly by law shall redistrict the Legislative Districts and the Representative Districts.

    I’m assuming (b) also means Federal districts in addition to state. (a) states districts should be compact and contiguous. Our districts clearly violate this law.


  18. - Anon - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 10:40 am:

    The Texas case held that a legislature can redistrict if it had not done so after the census.

    The Supreme Court never ruled on whether a legislature can redistrict after it had already done so before.


  19. - NW burbs - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 11:18 am:

    Const. Loooker and Tom –

    The Constitution does not define when redistricting should happen. In the late 19th C. state leges would redistrict every time one party took over from another.

    And even though the Constitution does declare districts should be “compact and contiguous” the Supreme Court has only enforced the “contiguous” aspect, allowing incredibly extreme definitions of “compact” to exist in every state in the Union.

    Technically, Texas and Georgia can redistrict whenever they want, as can any state.

    Ethically… that’s another matter.

    I say wait to put new maps in place til 2012, following tradition (the census data will come in 2010, the first use of new census data to define maps will be 2011, and the first voting in the new districts would be 2012).

    I also think the maps should be done using a nonpartisan computer and that “compact” be further defined to include a maximum radius equation and reference existing geographic and municipal/county boundaries, etc as Muon and Tom indicate.


  20. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 11:31 am:

    All the state constitution requires is that the decennial state legislative redistricting process take place within a certain time frame after the census. It does not specifically prohibit multiple congressional reapportionments.


  21. - Anon - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 11:41 am:

    2006 was a waive election.

    This kind of a fluke election only comes once in a while.

    The reason there will be no reapportionment, even if Dems could do it, is that the INCUMBENT DEMOCRATS would never want to take any chances.

    In 2008 all the districts will go back to their regular patterns.

    Bean’s district wil be the only one seriously contested.


  22. - True Blue - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 11:42 am:

    I think it’s better to redistrict at regular, 10-year intervals. That’s been the commonly understood norm for the past half-century. I think both parties should follow this precedent. However, I’m not in favor of Democrats ceding power to Republicans by following “rules” that no longer exist.

    Did the Supreme Court overturn DeLay’s redistricting? If not, then like it or not, it’s allowed under the “rules” of politics. These new rules say you can redistrict whenever you want, and obviously, Republicans will continue to play by these news rules — why on earth wouldn’t they?

    Should Democrats sit back and let our federal government fall back into Republican hands, simply because we disagree with the new rules, and are too high-minded to take advantage of them? The stakes are too high for that, in my opinion. I wish the GOP hadn’t started us all down this road, but Democrats have to play by the rules as they exist, not as we’d like them to be.

    Maybe if the Republicans on the US Supreme Court saw a mid-term redistricting plan from a blue state like Illinois, they’d finally find a way to outlaw the practice!


  23. - capitol view - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 11:45 am:

    I’ve been advocating for computer dominated rather than partisan dominated district mapping for 20 years. I agree with those who say that local government boundaries be favored where possible, and I would even add allowing incumbents to stay within districts that are 2/3 or more where they had earlier represented that area.

    Start with a map computer generated from the southern tip of the State. Then do one starting from Madison and State streets in downtown Chicago. Let the two parties decide which base is preferred, and allow mutually agreeable tinkering from that base until an agreement is reached. If no agreement by a specified deadline, then a third map is generated spun out from the geographic center of the state, and that one has to be adopted with no modifications. One map and process for state legislative districts, one for congressional.

    Not that such a proposal could ever be enacted in Illinois, but this is what we should be striving for in legislative districts. From idealism and public pressure comes practicality…


  24. - cermak_rd - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 11:47 am:

    I’m against it, but if a GOP state anywhere does it between now and the census then I think we should. Maybe a little MAD will ensure that we all stay aboveboard.


  25. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 11:51 am:

    The problem with gerrymandering as it’s practiced is that it ignores the, you know, actual people being represented. The last map wasn’t meant to represent people, but to safeguard all of the incumbents except Phelps. I’m fully guilty of being willing to do it as a matter of competition, but I think a two stage process might get the nation to where it needs to be.

    First, pass a federal Constitutional Amendment that allows redistricting after a Census and then, other than for court ordered fixes, not until the next Census.

    Second, work to pass a federal Constitutional Amendment to essentially adopt how Iowa does redistricting as mentioned above. This one will be harder because it creates vulnerable incumbents–witness Jim Leach’s loss this cycle–to Leach’s credit he stands by the process, but he’s not typical.

    My guess is the only way to get such an Amendment to pass is for everyone to get so sick of it that it’s the only way out–and for that reason I’m willing to support partisan gerrymandering to make the situation worse and relatively even until we get to that point. Sort of hastening the proletarian uprising idea.

    But I don’t want Illinois to redistrict mid decade. It’s only two more elections and ultimately the people being represented deserve continuity during that period.


  26. - ZC - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 12:01 pm:

    To agree with Vanilla Man, Texas really did get screwed by this ploy. By systematically hunting down and slaying every Democrat they could find, the Texas legislature is now left with a very seniority-poor delegation. Expect Texas to take a hit next year now there are few long-serving Democrats to fight for it in D.C.

    Madigan understands better than nearly anyone that the tide flows in and out. Denny Hastert and the Republicans have been pretty good to Illinois proper, and that’s what Madigan cares about. The Dems won’t be in power in DC forever -possibly not very long at all.

    It’s only self-interested common sense for Madigan not to redistrict.

    Although I hope after 2012 they figure out a way to get rid of John Shimkus. Still a disgrace.


  27. - SpfldPolitico - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 12:07 pm:

    i dont think Mr Madigan would want too large of a lead in the house, that is when all the renegades within your own party start becoming unloyal to leadership. A team is always much more unified with their leader if they feel its close. With too large a lead, some legislators will begin to develop their own agendas which will create situations that time, resources, and $$ is spent on to resolve, taking away from overall leadership. Thats just my thoughts!


  28. - Anon - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 12:16 pm:

    The real question is who will be the odd man out in 2012 after Illinois loses a seat?


  29. - Wumpus - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 12:24 pm:

    Which district is split in 2? Is it Davis’?


  30. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 12:47 pm:

    I’m fine with the Dems having to fight on the current map, but after the 2010 Census, I expect Dems to aggressively remap the state.

    IL-10 should gain Evanston and Ward 49 and lose turf in the west. (IL-09 will become more marginally Dem.)

    IL-08 will gain Bean’s house and some Waukegan precincts.

    IL-04 should be expanded into a northern Latino district and a southern Latino district. The northern district could reach to the Elgin area along Lake St. The southern district could reach to Aurora along Ogden.

    IL-06 and IL-07 could be combined into a Dem district covering much of the current IL-06 with the leftover precincts available to shore up other Dem districts. (IL-05 will gain the NE part of IL-06.)

    IL-03 and IL-13 could be combined possibly and re-split to make IL-13 friendlier to Dems.

    IL-02 could be expanded south along the Indiana border.

    Add Rockford to IL-14 and shed some of the rural Republican areas to IL-16.

    IL-11 could give up Bloomington/Normal precincts and absorb all of Champaign/Urbana. Add the University Park area and shed some rural precincts to IL-16.

    IL-17 would include Sangamon County, Quad Cities and everything in between.

    IL-18 would include Peoria, Decatur and Bloomington/Normal.

    IL-15 and IL-19 would be combined.

    GOP would lose a seat. A Dem and GOP seat would be combined to make a Dem seat. And a new Dem seat would be created.

    Plus IL-08, IL-10, IL-11, IL-13, IL-14 & IL-18 would all get more hospitable toward Dems.


  31. - Barack Resko - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 1:20 pm:

    Madigan does not want to anger the Bush Justice Department by doing a pre census redistricting. Madigan has been laying low to help his daughter Lisa, and does not want to be in the FED crosshairs like Blagoevich.


  32. - Way Northsider - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 1:20 pm:

    Sensible redrawing of the districts should be done to counteract the ridiculous gerrymandering that has gone on.


  33. - fedup dem - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 1:22 pm:

    No one has brought up the fact that the current Illinois Congressional map was a bipartisan agreement (in this case, meaning Mike Madigan and key Illinois Republicans) to protect incumbents of both parties. Congressional Districts 1 thru 18 were drawn to protect incumbents (nine from each party). Although the boundaries in many cases are outrageous, they are legal as far as past Supreme Court rulings are concerned, which permit incumbent protection plans (the Court noting that there is a legitimate interest and value in a state maintaining the benefits of the seniority of its Congressional delegation). That is why districts like the 4th and the 17th are OK as far as the judicary is concenred.

    Since Illinois lost a seat after the 2000 Census, it was neccessary to throw two incumbents into one district. Since the state’s slowest population growth was in the sounthern end of the state, the map put Congressmen Shimkus and Phelps into the same district, with the Republican Shimkus prevailing in 2002 over his Democratic colleague.

    The legislature can legally draw a new Congressional map at this time. A mid-decade change was attempted in 1975, but that was an effort by Mayor Richard J. Daley to oust fellow Democrat Abner Mikva from Congress by twisting his district around like a strand of spaghetti. That effort failed when a handful of Downstate Democratic State Reps led a fight to strike the enacting clause from the bill, killing it.

    The new legislature could choose to make minor adjustments to trim a few of the odder boundary features (for instance, adjust the 8th District boundary in the Barrington area a few blocks so that Melissa Bean actually lives in her district). But to pick up a few more Congressional seats, major adjustments are not needed. All the Democrats need is a leader whose concerns go beyond having 60 or more House members yell out his name every two years on the roll call vote for Speaker or the politcal advancement of his daughter. If Madigan gave a damn about the rest of the Democratic Party, Kirk, Weller and Shimkus would have given concession speeches on November 7 (and perhaps one or two other GOP Congressmen in this state).

    If the Democratic Party got leadership that place the interests of Democrats over his own, this discussion would not be neccessary.


  34. - Barack Resko - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 1:23 pm:

    When Blagoevich is federally indicted it will cause a Republican to win the 2010 Governor’s race. This will negate any attempt by the Dem’s to controll the Redistricting.


  35. - Well DUH! - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 1:31 pm:

    I’m all for gerrymandering if my supporters gain.

    If they will be hurt by it, then I am against it.

    My supporters will help the people of this state more than yours. Yours are just a bunch of crooks that want to help themselves.


  36. - grand old partisan - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 1:41 pm:

    No – because the 2003 Texas redistricting was justified by the fact that 57% of Texas voters in the 2002 election voted for Republican candidates, but the Democrats (who, while in control of the state legislature after the 2000 census, gerrymandered the map) ended up winning 17 seats to the Republican’s 15. If the seats really reflected the votes, the Republicans would have won 18 seats, or 3 seats more than they did. The Texas GOP would have faced 4 more cycles on this lopsided map.

    In the 2006 election, Illinois voters split 56-44% between Democratic and Republican candidates, respectively, and the result was a 10-9 split in the delegation in the Dems favor. If the results really reflected the votes, it would been 10.6-8.4 split. Since you can’t really split a seat, you could round it to 11-8, a difference of one seat. Regular redistricting is only 2 cycles away. Is one seat really worth it? (on that note, calls to carve out 2-3 seats are seriously out of order).


  37. - Skeeter - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 1:44 pm:

    I am a bit concerned about a potential backlash against the Dems in 2008 in Illinois.

    The Cook County Democratic Party has done everything possible to alientate voters, and if Speaker Madigan goes blatantly partisan it may lead a very bad impression state-wide.

    Madigan is off to a good start with the minimum wage issue. He need to win in 2008 by developing a record in 2006-2008 of the kind of legislation that will have strong support. As much as I personally would like to see a remap it is bad politics and not worth it long term.


  38. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 1:57 pm:

    gop, I’d like to remind you that elections have consequences.

    When your side loses you lose certain perks.

    The Republican Party has run roughshod on all opposition and it didn’t bother you. So call a wambulance if you don’t like how the Dems treat Republicans who are now in the minority.

    Until you ask for forgiveness for the criminality of the Bush administration, the Iraq War and the Bush debt, I could care less about your feelings about sportsmanship and probity. It’s just insincere partisan posturing.


  39. - Niles Township - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 2:00 pm:

    Skeeter…you are on to something. I am a Dem who is just so sick of the way the county and state parties have been acting lately.


  40. - Barack Resko - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 2:04 pm:

    Carl, one thing Illinois DEMS to do not control is the Justice Department my friend. When Tony Resko makes his plea bargain to reduce his sentence the DEM chips will fall.


  41. - Skeeter - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 2:25 pm:

    Carl,
    You need to understand how bad it is here in Cook County. The Stoger/Beavers/Steele fiasco has made such a horrible impression that I am probably going to vote for every Republican county-wide in 2010.

    The last thing that Madigan needs to do is to lie in the dirt with people like that. He needs to govern the state and not spend any time doing things that will be perceived as blatantly political. Blago is not going to provide any leadership and Jones probably won’t either. Luckily we have Speaker Madigan.


  42. - grand old partisan - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 2:29 pm:

    Yes, Carl - elections have consequences. The majority of voters in Illinois wanted a Congressional representative of a particular party and - by golly! - a majority of them are now represented by that party. The exact opposite was true in Texas in 2002. So while Delay and his allies in the Texas Statehouse were undoubly motivated by partisanship, they undeniably had a valid point: by any objective standard, a gross miscarage of democracy had occured there.

    btw, I seem to remember your “wambulance” working over time for the past few years. Now you have no problem with your guys doing everything about which you screamed bloody when it was done by the Republicans? Were your complaints at the time similarly “insincere partisan posturing?”


  43. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 2:41 pm:

    ===If the seats really reflected the votes, the Republicans would have won 18 seats, or 3 seats more than they did. The Texas GOP would have faced 4 more cycles on this lopsided map.

    So they now have 21 seats–meaning 3 more than the best breakdown based on state vote (actually they thought 4 since Chet Edwards won despite the new District). By the logic, how is this any better for the people of Texas? Isn’t this still a gross miscarriage of justice if the standard is the number of seats should match the vote percentage?

    You can always make an argument for such changes at any time, but if you do it, you just promote everyone else doing it.

    Frankly, if you want to do it that way just do Proportional Representation for Congressional elections otherwise, when you violate the mid-decade norm that has developed over the years you create a cycle in which instability wins.


  44. - NW burbs - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 2:52 pm:

    G.O.P. — that’s the lamest regurgitation of Republican spin points I’ve heard in a while.

    The Texas redistricting went to court because the then-minority Republicans figured they could drag things out and wait for an anticipated Republican majority in the TX state lege.

    That happened, thanks to Tom DeLay’s laundered PAC funds.

    The TX Republicans then used the fact a court drew the map (an event they caused) as the “rationale” for doing a mid-decade redistricting.

    As you know, the ratio of R:D votes changes every election. Should Texas redistrict now, after the Democratic wave? Or should Texas wait for another Republican wave?

    Your citation of “percentage” as a rationale for redistricting is beyond ridiculous. Your subsequent rebuttal of your own premise in the case of Illinois is even worse. (PS: Illinois’ 10-9 split originally favored Republicans, not the true state majority of Democrats. A point you conveniently ignored.)

    ..Again, as opposed to what Tom and others have said, there is nothing in the Constitution preventing mid-decade redistricting. The only thing the Constitution says is that each state must redistrict following the census. States could redistrict 5x a decade if they wanted… It’d be a ridiculous waste of time, but there’s nothing preventing it.

    Illinois, New York, California and other Democratic states are free to “retaliate”. I’d like to think Dems are better than that and will restrain themselves.


  45. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 3:02 pm:

    Skeeter, don’t blame me for Todd Stroger. I blogged that he was completely unqualified and casually dishonest. And I made the case Tony Peraica was better at looking out for the little guy. See Forest Park Review.

    Why Obama thought partying with Todd Stroger on election night was the place to be is beyond me.

    gop, I’m not for re-districting before the normal time, but when that time comes I want the Dems to give it to the Republicans in accordance with the ethos established by the GOP under Bush. You should thank me, it will help encourage your boy Mark Kirk to run against Durbin.

    Being partisan isn’t a crime when you’re on the moral and thoughtful side of the issues.

    gop, you supported the team that was immoral and foolish. You are partisan for folly. I advocate partisanship to keep the morons you support from furthering screwing-up the country.


  46. - grand old partisan - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 3:08 pm:

    Arch – your point is well taken.

    ‘Burbs – you, characteristically, took it a bit too far. My point is that in 2002, a majority of Texas voters wanted a Republican to represent them, but got stuck with a Democrat. In 2006, the majority of Texas voters still wanted (by a slightly smaller margin) a Republican to represent them, and the majority got a Republican. As Arch pointed out, the GOP – in their partisan zeal – overcompensated for the 2002 ‘injustice’ a bit, but the roles have hardly been reversed, justifying – as you suggest – another redistrict push by Texas Democrats.

    And, I’m not sure against whom you think Madigan would be retaliating were he to move for a redistricting in Illinois. HIS PARTY DREW THE CURRENT MAP!! Sorry that they weren’t as ruthlessly partisan as some would have liked them to be, but if they don’t like the current map, you have no one but Madigan and Jones to blame for it.

    If you ask me, this whole issue is based on some really ridiculous notions of “fairness” and misplaced revenge.


  47. - grand old partisan - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 3:12 pm:

    Carl - if that makes you feel better about yourself, fine - I’m a stupid, immoral fool for being a partisan; you’re an intelligent and righteous for it. Got it.


  48. - Bakersfield - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 3:28 pm:

    Yeah, the Republicans are the only party in state that is immoral… riiiiiiiiight.

    Anyways, I thought the Texas situation revolved around the fact that there was a legislative divide and so, like in every normal state, the court drew the map. However, in hocus pocus Illinois we use a top hat to draw our maps and the dems won and were able to draw the map. Although, I could be wrong, that was 6 years and 6000 beers ago.

    I think the bottom line is Madigan could care less about what happens at the federal level. Delay had a rooting interest in more GOP seats in Texas, I think Mike just cares about his house and his daughter.

    Btw, on a completely related but different topic-can we please get rid of the top hat? That is dumbest thing I have ever heard of. Of course, it won’t matter in 4 years since the Republicans are a hail mary, a hook and ladder, 2 onside kick recoveries, and a few personal fouls away from taking the governor’s mansion or one of the chambers by 2010.


  49. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 3:31 pm:

    gop, to get past your problem you need to acknowledge how much the Bush administration has screwed-up this country. And then you had to search your soul for why you embraced it. What makes you so angry at the Democratic Party and its constituencies that you would embrace Bushism?


  50. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 3:32 pm:

    fedup dem - Interesting story, but you got one key fact wrong.

    The current Congressional map does reflect a bipartisan agreement, but it wasn’t between Madigan and Congressional Republicans. It was between Congressional Democrats and Congressional Republicans. Or, to be more specific, Bill Lipinski and Denny Hastert, representing their caucuses.

    You can’t blame Madigan for the current map. I don’t think any state party leader from either party or any state in the union would be so bold as to tell their entire Congressional delegation they were throwing their map in the trash can.

    The solution for 2010 is simple: Congressional Democrats need to be more aggressive.

    BTW, any of you fools who’s arguing “let a computer draw the map” should have your head examined. Someone’s got to program that computer, and biases in the programming will be the inevitable result of conflicting objectives.


  51. - grand old partisan - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 3:52 pm:

    Carl -

    I’m a conservative, and a partisan Republican. I have many friends and family members, and debated with many people on many blogs who are liberals and Democrats. But I’ve never patronizingly told them that they need to “get over” their “problem” and suggested they “search their soul” to examine why they are what they are. And you know why? Because I accept that other people might have intellectually legitimate reasons for having opinions and believes different from mine. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll argue - passionately, at times - with people over their use and interpretation of facts, but I would never insult them simply for having a particular political ideology or partisan affiliation.

    If you can’t muster the maturity to respect the fact that people who disagree with you might not necessarily be “immoral” and “foolish,” then there’s not much point in attempting to have and adult conversation with you.

    That’s all I’m going to say about that.


  52. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 3:53 pm:

    Iowa can redistrict by computer because it’s relatively homogeneous. But Illinois is anything but homogeneus. I don’t see how a computer map would work for Illinois.


  53. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 3:57 pm:

    We will lose one seat after the 2010 Census. It’s inevitable.

    In 2011, Hastert will be gone and Bill Lipinski will be long gone. Who will be at the bargaining table? I’m guessing it will be Ray LaHood and Bobby Rush with a push from Rahm Emanuel. At that point, MJM could be gone as well, especially if his daughter runs for and wins governor. The whole process would be up in the air (again) and it could come down to a court ruling.

    The thing that people forget is that Illinois, as corrupt and politically immoral as it may be, doesn’t have a Tom DeLay. Tom DeLay was a jerk, an opportunist, a bully, a…well, you get the idea. The point here is that someone like DeLay will not care about public opinion, backlash or a looming court battle. Politicians in Illinois are too concerned with holding on to their own power and doing whatever they can to not make the other side upset.


  54. - Cassandra - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 4:04 pm:

    It’s not just a Republican vs. Democratic issues.

    Here in Oak Park, a border Chicago suburb, we need to get un-attached from the Chicago’s west and northwest side. Both Democratic, but totally different issues and concerns. And Oak Park gets virtually no representation from our state legislators who spend all their legislative energy dreaming up porky projects for the city.


  55. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 4:04 pm:

    gop, you don’t insult people based on ideology or partisan affiliation, but you take the name of the party that said voting for Democrats was the same as helping the terrorists. I see the distinction.

    I’m sorry if I hold you responsible for an identity you chose for yourself.

    Again, if you belong to the Bush-led GOP don’t whine about niceties and civility and process.

    Remember the fraud of the Iraq War.
    Remember Bush trashing the Bill of Rights.
    Remember Bush creating huge deficits while passing irresponsible tax cuts.

    And where were you in these discussions over public policy? Advocating irresponsibility in the name of partisanship.

    So, yes, the Dems should fight for a partisan remap without apologies. But it should wait until after the Census.


  56. - Robbie - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 4:06 pm:

    I am all for computer districting. As a computer programmer myself, it can be done. YDD, if you base the districting on mathematical breakdowns of population, you can take bias out of it. Its really hard to program a computer to only draw districts that include urban democrats or rural republicans. Look at Iowa as an example. I haven’t seen any bias there.


  57. - grand old partisan - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 4:25 pm:

    Seriously, is there any justification for doing this that doesn’t involve petty revenge? Is that what you mean by being on the “moral and thoughtful” side of things?

    Honestly, Carl, don’t you see the latent hypocracy in attacking me for “insincere partisan posturing” when you are blatantly demonstrating that your outrage over Delay’s actions was apparently nothing more than the same on your part?

    I’ll give you $100 if you can justify your position here as being high-minded and righteous on its merits (ie, not in reference to the your assessment of me or my party).


  58. - RFK fan - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 4:55 pm:

    Absolutely not. And a constitutional amendment should be passed restricting redistricting to specific time period after a census. We would look as corrupt and mean as the Republicans were we to do that.


  59. - ZC - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 5:16 pm:

    YDD - I’m not a fan of the computer-drawn model, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it _couldn’t_ be done in a nonpartisan way. You could write out into law in advance what the criteria are going to be in the programming, and make that all transparent. A program could be abused, but if Republicans were vigilant, it needn’t have to be. You could look at the results after the fact and see if the program specs were violated. This isn’t the Florida ballot box. My impression is that most people who have looked at the Iowa model consider it relatively nonpartisan. Do you know any dissenters?

    To put it another way, some people would say, picking the winning side out of a *hat* is never gonna work … because whoever controls the Secretary of State’s office will rig the vote in advance. That _could_ happen, too … my point is, *any* system could be abused … but take the proper safeguards and precautions in advance, and it could be a fair process.


  60. - Mike Williams - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 5:36 pm:

    remember this failed in Georgia also. The GOP redistricted for the 2006 election to try and knock off Democratic Reps Jim Marshall and John Barrow. Both were re-elected, although the Barrow race was less than 1000 votes.

    I’d say, no mid decade redistricting this time but sock it to the Republicans in 2010.


  61. - Mike Williams - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 5:42 pm:

    fed up dem-

    the current map was the result of an agreement between Hastert and Bill Lipinski. Madigan and Pate went along with it. Madigan had nothing to do with the original agreement. I know you always look for ways to stick it to the Speaker, but it does not work in this instance. Sorry.


  62. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 7:56 pm:

    gop, you have reading comprehension issues and you’re full of it.

    I see no need to tinker with the map until the normal time, after the 2010 Census. That’s been my position throughout this discussion and I never liked the idea of a remap before the normal time. I have always felt the Democratic Party was largely making excuses when it cited that it couldn’t win on the maps drawn after the 2000 Census.

    gop, your claim that Democrats should somehow isolate themselves from how the Republicans act when making political decisions is daft.

    Democrats should tone down the partisanship when Republicans renounce the key provisions of Bushism.

    1. The Iraq War
    2. Shredding the Bill of Rights & Bush putting himself above the law
    3. The Bush debt/tax cuts

    Until then, Democrats should do Republicans hard. Remember, when the GOP morphed Max Cleland into Osama bin Laden? If the GOP can stoop so low, what’s a little redistricting among friends?


  63. - Shallow Pharnyx - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 10:42 pm:

    No! It wasn’t ethically right when the GOP did it why should it be ok for the Dems.


  64. - The Conservative - Thursday, Nov 30, 06 @ 10:59 pm:

    What would change, Democrats have always done “anything to win”. Just look at the Kennedy race. It is the most corrupt thinking organization in America.


  65. - Anon - Friday, Dec 1, 06 @ 3:28 am:

    No, this behavior is disgusting. I hated it when the Republicans (lead by Delay) did it in Texas and I think it would be just as wrong for the Dem’s to do it here. I’ve never been in favor of such things. If its wrong when they did it, its wrong for us to do it.


  66. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Dec 1, 06 @ 10:08 am:

    ZC — I’m not arguing that a computer program couldn’t be non-partisan, just that it would necessarily be biased. What’s more important — compactness or preserving minority voting rights? Uniting communities defined by political boundaries or social and cultural ones? Should the indo-asian communities in Chicago’s northside and the north suburbs be united by their cultural ties or separated by municipal divisions? None of these are easy questions to answer.

    Yes, drafting legislation that hammers out these criteria would make the programming transparent. I’d argue that the current system is extremely transparent. None of us disagrees about why the map looks the way it does — what better proof of transparency is there?


  67. - Crimefighter - Friday, Dec 1, 06 @ 4:37 pm:

    What was Lane Evans district DEFINATELY needs to be modified! Where I used to live, I was in one district south of me was another district, and two blocks north of me was a third district! That is RIDICIOUS! If you have to draw a SNAKE to get elected, you shouldn’t be running for public office.


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