Tuesday, November 09, 2010

California and Florida Voters: We Will Have Nonpartisan Redistricting!

California continues to lead the way in political reform. Back in June, passage of Prop 14, the Top Two Open Primary referendum, enfranchised 3.4 million independent decline-to-state voters in the state in the first round of voting.

And now, as Committee for a Unified Independent Party (IndependentVoting.org) Chief of Staff John Opdycke reported last week, voters in Florida are speaking out on the need for political reform:
Proposition 20-which expanded the California Redistricting Commission's mandate to include Congressional districts-passed by 20 points.  In addition, Proposition 27, a bi-partisan ploy to dismantle the Commission, was defeated by a similar margin.

And in Florida, the voters passed Amendment 5 by a 25 point margin. Its passage establishes clear, non-partisan guidelines for the drawing of legislative districts.

Opdycke goes on to point out the significance of these votes:
While the big story yesterday was the new Republican Congressional majority, the victory for redistricting reform in California and Florida was an important subtext.  The Democratic and Republican Parties have mastered the non-developmental game of capturing and recapturing the approximately 60 competitive Congressional districts.  But this back and forth blood sport-while making for good copy-does not provide the American people the opportunity to fully express their desire for change.  When voters have the opportunity to speak directly, as they did in Florida and California, without being filtered by the political parties, reform passes overwhelmingly.

  • Voters make right call on redistricting (LA Daily Breeze) itizen redistricting will be a huge improvement over Legislature-drawn districts, which were so gerrymandered in 2001 that it's almost impossible for any seat to change hands from one party to the other.
  • What really happened in the 2010 election (By E.J. Dionne, Washington Post) Incumbent Democrats suffered a genuine backlash of voter discontent due to a weak economy with considerable concerns about job creation, deep skepticism among independents, poor turnout among key base groups, and strong enthusiasm among energized conservatives.
  • Can the Tea Party endure? (CNN International) The midterm elections dealt a powerful blow to President Obama and the Democratic Party as the country appeared to shift decisively to the right, moved by mass anger, "due to a combination of two kinds of fear," historian Michael Kazin told CNN.

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