-By Warner Todd Huston
One of the worst aspects of American politics is the often blatantly partisan process of redistricting and Illinois has just clocked in with one of the worst examples in recent memory. Illinois Democrats just finished their effort to redistrict the state and have proven that the will of the voters is meaningless to them with their proposal. The map just yesterday passed by the General Assembly in Springfield is now headed for Gov. Quinn's signature.
Naturally, the new map is a partisan slap in the face to thousands of Illinois voters. As it happens the results of the 2010 midterm election sent five new Republicans to Washington from the Land of Lincoln. Many of these were GOP upsets where freshman Republicans replaced a Democrat. But despite that the will of the voter tended toward Republicans in these five districts, the new map created by Democrats undermines nearly every GOP district and dilutes the voter's will by adding to them portions of other districts that vote against Republicans. Certainly the districts must be redrawn, of that there is no question. According to population stats, Illinois does not rate as many representatives as it had before and one representative was going to be lost for certain. You see, Illinois is failing, losing citizens and struggling thanks to decisions by Democrats but since the Democrats control the state, it was assumed that at least one of those Republicans might lose his district. This goes without saying and, in my opinion, seems assumed -- if not a bit annoying.
But the way the Democrats wrote this map every new Republican in Washington will find he'll have to fight for his life to win the next election.
Accidental Governor Pat Quinn has been heard many times to ramble on about how he would only support a fair redistricting process. It is clear that this process was not in any way fair. Now Quinn has the opportunity to stand up for his word and refuse to sign this abomination.
I won't hold my breath for Pat Quinn to be proven a man of his word, though. Veracity has been in short supply with the governor since he took that office.
We all know that this redistricting problem has been with us in American politics since the early days of the Republic. After all, the usual term for this sort of partisan hackery is "Gerrymandering," a term that was invented in 1812 and referred to the strangely shaped, partisan districts created in Massachusetts and signed into law by Governor (later Vice President) Elbridge Gerry. So, this messy process has been going on for a long, long time.
Regardless of which party it helps, it is long past time it was stopped.