opinion | They want to be in the room where it happens



Yes, I left out the last chapter. For a quintessential true story, look to New York. Things seemed promising. The committee vowed to avoid what the chairman called “smoke-filled Zoom.” Half Democrats, half Republicans, the members all worked for a cause worth more than a salary, as it took the state ages to fund the project.

Unfortunately, the committee has so far split 50-50 over competing plans to split the districts. I’ll let you guess the difference between the two sides.

Really, guess what:

A) Vaccinated versus unvaccinated.

B) Bills fans vs Jets fans.

C) Republican vs Democrat.

Yes! It seems that the people who worked across party lines didn’t quite, completely forget which party they belonged to when the game started.

And in the end, even if the committee comes up with a plan that a majority of its members can support, the Democrat-dominated legislature has reserved the power to nullify anything it doesn’t want to. Typical story. The only unusual thing, for this time, is that it’s the Democrats who rule.

“All told, Republicans have exclusive control over drawing congressional cards in 18 states and legislative cards in 20 states, while Democrats have exclusive control over congressional cards in seven states and legislative cards in nine states,” wrote Michael Li from the Brennan Center for Justice.

You will find that, despite the approaching deadlines, things are not galloping to a conclusion. Unless semi-magical expansions arise, the state’s highest courts may eventually draw the Iowa and Maine districts. In Illinois, Li added, there is a fascinating system that, in theory, could completely exclude Democrats from the mapmaking process “despite controlling both houses of the legislature and the governor’s mansion.”

Wild, huh? And as these big, galloping dramas unfold, there will, of course, be many, many modest attempts at tinkering with the rules by incumbent lawmakers eager for their lives to be a little less strenuous.

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