AVEAT: As with my previous redistricting blog posts, these opinions are entirely my own. I speak for no one but myself, and deliberately restrict my comments to the political aspects of legislative redistricting. Specifically, I do not opine as to any of the related legal issues, of which there are many. Consider the (admittedly partisan) source, and feel free to agree or disagree with me.
NUMBERS: Speaker Billy McCoy’s leadership team took one final shot this week at shoving through their own House redistricting plan. House Republicans, feisty as always, fought hard and put up a united vote in opposition, but ultimately faced defeat Wednesday. Why? The GOP is in the minority, and do not have the numbers to stop a determined Democratic Speaker and House majority. Senate Democrats, flexing their own muscle, pushed hard Thursday for Senate approval of the McCoy House plan, but were losers in the end. Why? The Democrats are in the minority, and do not have the numbers to prevail against a resolute Republican Lt. Governor and Senate majority. Legislative politics is the quintessential team sport, and majority control of the chamber literally means everything. If you understand this, then you will grasp the critical importance the outcome of legislative redistricting holds in setting the public policy agenda for state government in the decade lying ahead. This is no trivial argument about mere lines on a map.