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home : opinions : opinions
April 6, 2020

3/14/2020 7:30:00 AM
Our View
Gov. Evers: Putting the partisan back into nonpartisan
Gregg Walker and Richard Moore
Publisher and Columnist

We're hearing a lot as we approach the spring election about the importance of having nonpartisan redistricting after this year's census.

It's all the rage, we hear. In poll after poll, huge majorities say they want nonpartisan redistricting. Numerous towns have put that question on the ballot for April, and it does have a certain ring to it.

After all, it sounds so nice. Who in the world can be against nonpartisan redistricting?

We can, that's who, and all of us should be, at least as it is being described by Gov. Tony Evers and liberal Democrats. Turns out, their nonpartisan redistricting wouldn't be nonpartisan at all.

Who would have thunk?

To understand how this can be, it is necessary to grasp just how liberals think and talk. It's not hard. In most cases, just take what they say and flip it around because in general leftist language means exactly the opposite of what most people would think it would mean.

Take the presidential race, for instance. We have heard throughout the campaign that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is the "left" candidate and former vice president Joe Biden is the "moderate."

But, as the not-so-conservative Boston Globe pointed out just this week, if nominated, Biden will be the most liberal Democrat ever nominated for president.

For instance, a columnist observed, Biden supports a public option in health care, which Barack Obama rejected. Biden supports government-funded health care for illegal immigrants, which Obama never embraced.

"No Democratic presidential nominee ever endorsed anything like the radical Green New Deal, with its price tag in the tens of trillions of dollars and its goal of eliminating the use of all fossil fuels. But Biden does," wrote Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby. "No Democratic nominee ever called for a national minimum wage of $15 an hour. But Biden does. The former vice president has moved emphatically leftward on abortion, on the death penalty, on free trade. By any understanding of 'moderate,' as that term was used when Obama or Bill Clinton was president, Biden is no moderate."

OK, so we get the hang of it. When Democrats say 'moderate,' they mean exactly the opposite.

And so it is with nonpartisan redistricting. If Evers and his crowd have their way, there won't be anything nonpartisan about it. Let's take a look.

First, Evers has set up "The People's Maps Commission" that he wants to draw legislative maps. Historically, of course, when leftists talk about "The People's This" and the "The People's That," they really mean that the people won't have any ownership in the process and often end up oppressed. The People's Republic of China isn't really the people's republic of China, is it?

Sure that's a totalitarian extreme, but the same inverse definitional thinking is going on with the governor's "Peoples Maps Commission."

For beginners, the people of the state won't be choosing its members. It is attached to the administration, which means the partisan governor, his liberal cronies, and assorted unelected bureaucrats will be choosing the members.

Nor will the regular people of the state be sitting on this commission. Remember, Mr. Evers has told us the commission will be guided by "experts." How many of us are experts and what is the criteria for that? In leftist history, the experts - those people endowed by some higher entity to know better than we do what's good for us - are people who always think the liberal position is the right one. That's what expert means to them.

There will also be representatives from "communities of interest" (translation from liberal to English: that means representatives from members of Democratic Party identity groups).

Finally, in the ultimate twist, the people's map commission won't have any of the people's elected representatives on it. That's right, our elected legislative representatives are barred from having a seat at the table. All the spots are reserved for experts and communities of interest.

So the people's commission won't be the people's commission, and the nonpartisan redistricting effort won't be nonpartisan, either, as Evers himself has neatly exposed.

Indeed, in a recent email sent by his campaign committee asking for support for his commission, Evers tellingly and likely inadvertently exposed that the nonpartisan redistricting drive is really just a partisan movement: "Can you add your name and join with tens of thousands of Democrats nationwide to sign on and demand that all 50 states draw their districts by non-partisan redistricting committees?"

So the movement really is just Democrats, not a coalition of Democrats, independents and "fair-minded" Republicans. The nonpartisan movement isn't nonpartisan.

This is a lesson learned in state after state that has gone to independent commissions for redistricting. In a piece about a political firestorm in Colorado caused by its independent commission, here's the conclusion of a Pew Stateline Article:

"Colorado isn't the only state in the latest round of redistricting where an independent commission intended to tamp down partisanship wound up sparking partisan fireworks anyway. Commission processes in Arizona, California and Idaho were also contentious and litigious. The lesson from these states seems to be that even when independent commissions take partisans out of redistricting, they can't take out the partisanship."

Well said. If Evers successfully removed the Legislature from the processing of drawing its own districts and transferred it to a commission controlled by his very partisan administration, the cries of partisan foul would be deafening.

In effect, Mr. Evers would have his administration draw the maps, using his people, his experts, his bureaucrats, and then present them to the Legislature as a fait accompli. As Republicans point out, that is unconstitutional.

The Legislature is constitutionally tasked not just with approving district maps but with drawing them: "the legislature shall apportion and district anew the members of the senate and assembly, according to the number of inhabitants."

Democrats say Evers's plan is constitutional, but then, remember the inverse definitional thinking of liberalism. If they say something is constitutional, it probably isn't.

It's worth pointing out, Democrats have no one but themselves to blame for the redistricting mess they are in. As we have stated before, the current districts were drawn after the 2010 census and after the 2010 elections in which the Democrats lost the Assembly, the Senate, and the governorship.

They lost not because of gerrymandering, but because they had bad policies and bad candidates. They lost in districts drawn in 2001, not by gerrymandering Republicans but by courts after the 2000 census when a divided government could not agree.

Republicans are also not responsible that Democrats choose to live in collective-like clusters in a handful of urban centers, while Republicans more evenly distribute across the state. This gives Democrats fewer seats to be competitive in. Redrawing maps to arbitrarily accommodate Democratic lifestyle choices would in fact take gerrymandering to accomplish, and rob rural residents of equal and fair representation.

As for local referenda, we recommend a 'no' vote. The language may sound innocuous, but it is anything but. The Fair Elections Project will take any positive outcome as an endorsement of a decidedly unfair process in which we and our elected representatives will be shut out of drawing legislative maps. That cannot be allowed to happen.

Just remember when you vote, the People's Republic of China isn't. The People's Maps Commission won't be. Nonpartisan redistricting isn't nonpartisan and fair elections as defined by the left will be decidedly unfair.

Ironically, in a way we all have Gov. Evers to thank for all this. In his campaign email, he turned back the curtain on this movement to reveal its Democratic stripes. He laid bare the inverse definitional thinking of liberalism by putting the partisan back into nonpartisan.

He showed us how liberals think, and that exposes one last thing: Liberalism isn't liberal. It's closed, intolerant, bureaucratic, and authoritarian. That's really all we need to know.



Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Article comment by: Merlin Van Buren

Since you quoted the Pew Paper, and totally skewed what it said. I think people should read it themselves instead of reading your totally biased opinion. https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2019/11/26/the-tumultuous-life-of-an-independent-redistricting-commissioner

Posted: Saturday, March 14, 2020
Article comment by: Brian Holmes

In our representative form of government, the people’s representatives decide voting districts, that would be our state assembly and senate. Already decided many times over all the way up to the Supreme Court.

Period, Full Stop. End of story. Stop with the crocodile tears. Get over it.




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