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It’s Part of the SPECIAL Constitution in my Head!

October 25th, 2006 · No Comments

Reed Hundt at TPMCafe offers a rather odd complaint about gerrymandering:

Here’s another idea: you could discuss the outrage that the Supreme Court has endorsed gerrymandering that denies the principle of one person-one vote. Amazing fact: a Democratic margin of more than 10% in the House elections on an aggregate basis isn’t sure to change even 15 seats. It’s obvious that the Constitution is being flouted.

I’m in full agreement that it’s sleazy and wrong when incumbents tweak their districts to guarantee their own jobs, but it’s going to be an uphill battle to convince me that “one person one vote” is some kind of cornerstone principle of the document that established the Electoral College and a bicameral legislature in which California and Rhode Island get the same number of senators. Of course, the House is supposed to be the more democratic half of the legislature, but even there, it’s always been the case that if opinion in a bunch of districts goes from 55 percent pro-Dem to 80 percent pro-Dem, then ceteris paribus this shifts no seats. So “amazing facts” about how aggregate gains might or might not cash out in terms of representation just don’t seem particularly significant in themselves. You can certainly argue that a system of, say, proportional representation might be preferable to the current scheme on any number of dimensions—but it’s weird to argue as though we already have such a system.

Tags: Horse Race Politics