By Lone SharkMonths before the ink is dry on Florida’s new legislative and congressional maps, the redistricting process has succeeded in fleshing out what everyone’s real concern is as it pertains to redrawing our electoral districts- race, and the so called “racial divide”. Recall that those much ballyhooed 2010 ballot initiatives, the so-called ‘Fair Districts’ Amendments 5 & 6, were drafted to ‘even out’ the playing field (whatever that means) and do away with funny looking ‘gerrymandered’ districts that were drawn to protect either incumbents or political parties.
Silly Floridians, legislative tricks are for kids!
Now, many of the same state legislators that campaigned for the Fair Districts Amendments can’t pander their hypocrisy fast enough by insisting that certain districts must be drawn up as ‘minority districts,’ that are ostensibly drawn that way to help ‘even the playing field’-
“I think the constitution mandates that we protect those (racially gerrymandered) seats.” – Sen. Gary Siplin, Democrat
“I do believe that racial protection is clearly paramount.” – Sen. John Thrasher, former state GOP chairman“We shape the rest of the map around those (racially gerrymandered) seats.” – Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater.
There is one goal that legislatures should be moving towards when it comes to redistricting- the drafting of more evenly balanced districts- based on voter registration- that encourage more competitive elections, as much as the population as it’s currently situated allows. Unfortunately, this goal doesn’t nearly seem to have the same priority that drawing so called “safe” seats for minorities does, which is why Amendments 5 & 6 were a farce to begin with.
Let’s be dead honest here. Every legal resident of Florida that is eligible to vote has the right to vote- once. Everyone’s vote should be counted after it has been cast- once. But any claims to the right of a “Black” or “Hispanic” seat or district to be drawn are pleasant fictions at best, and racially regressive at worst. Voting and representative rights, if they were properly understood and codified, should have nothing to do with ensuring electoral outcomes. No seat in the Florida Legislature or within Florida’s congressional delegation should be ever identified or considered a “Hispanic” seat or a “Black” seat, but that’s exactly what these lobbyists and legislators are reinforcing rather than abandoning. So much for living in a “post-racial” society.
For all of the caterwauling about “fair districts”, there is no way to possibly draw numerically proportional, congruent looking districts that neatly use county or city lines, highways, waterways, or other landmarks as boundaries for congressional or legislative seats here in Florida. Any future redistricting will produce very odd-shaped looking districts, and the political party that’s in power gets to draw them. Perhaps Democrats should have considered the ramifications of what cramming ObamaCare down the throats of Floridians in 2010 would mean for redistricting efforts in 2012.The legislature’s proper goal should be the eradication of electoral fraud and to ensure that everyone’s vote is counted once- therein lies the basis for a fairer representative system of government that truly is able to reflect the will of the people.