The Redistricting Commission has just posted their Redistricting Plan for Washington State’s 10 Congressional Districts. Dwight Pelz has also just issued a statement commending the Commission and claiming that this plan is a great deal for the Democratic Party. I have reviewed the maps and I disagree completely with Dwight Pelz.
In fact, the new Congressional District Map is the worst kind of gerrymandering in that it was drawn up NOT to preserve communities of interest, but solely to protect the INCUMBENTS in both political parties. It follows other gerrymandered maps in States like Ohio and Texas. In several ways, it is a disaster for the Democratic Party and a disaster for the people of Washington State.
Washington State Congressional District Boundaries agreed to in December 2012
Go to http://wa-demchairs.org/2011/redistrictingproposals.php to see the map.
First, the boundary for the 8th Congressional District (shown in red above) breaks the Cascade Curtain – making it impossible for either political party to organize and combining populations with completely different and often opposing interests. The Democratic Party and the citizens of our State should have insisted that the break in the curtain occur along the Columbia River valley where it currently exists. There is an important reason that communities of interest organize along water ways. The citizens who live along the Snoqualmie and Cedar Rivers have little in common with the citizens who live in the Wenatchee and Columbia River basins.
Second, the 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts are drawn in a crazy north to south alignment running from the Canadian border to Interstate 90 in King County – and thereby dividing and splitting up hundreds of communities of interest – including my home town of North Bend. These two Congressional Districts should have been divided up along an East West alignment which respected county lines, river basins and communities of interest. Instead, this insane plan has a single Congressional District cutting north –south across several counties and a half dozen major river basins. East King County in particular has been carved up like a turkey into 4 different Congressional Districts!!! The manner in which this map was drawn up confirms that the leaders of both political parties do not give a damn about the people of Washington State. All they care about is preserving the political power of the status quo.
Third, it expands the 7th Congressional District north to include Shoreline – thus making a heavily Democratic District even more democratic. This concentration of Democratic voters essential disenfranchises hundreds of thousands of Democrats who deserve two Democratic Congressional Districts and not one.
Fourth, by moving Olympia from the 3rd to the new 10th Congressional Districts, both parties turned swing districts into non-swing districts. The fact that the new 10th District will be a Democratic District is a steep price to pay when one considers the bigger statewide picture. The Republican Party is now assured four safe seats in the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 8th Congressional Districts. The Democratic Party only has 4 safe seats in the 6th, 7th, 9th and 10th Congressional Districts. The two remaining districts, the 1st and 2nd will now become swing districts. This means that even though nearly 60% of the voters in our State historically vote for the Democratic Party, the Republican Party could have a 6 to 4 majority in our State’s Congressional delegation after the next election.
The people of the State of Washington and the grassroots members of the Democratic Party would have been far better served by simply NOT caving in to this terrible plan. This would have put the plan in the hands of our Supreme Court, who then would have likely done what they did 10 years ago in handing the job over to a non-partisan professor at the University of Washington. This professor would have certainly preserved the Cascade Curtain and created 10 Congressional Districts which would have give 3 Congressional Districts to the Republican Party (the 3rd, 4th and 5th) and given 4 Congressional Districts to the Democratic Party (the 6th, 7th 9th and 1st) and created three swing districts (the 2nd, 8th and 10th). This in turn would have increased the chances that our communities of interest and county lines (current political boundaries) would be preserved. It would have also greatly increased the chances of the Democratic Party having a 6 to 4 majority – or at least a 5 to 5 split in our State’s Congressional delegation.
As it is, we the people of the State of Washington will have to live with this horrific gerrymandered Congressional Plan for the next 10 years. Hopefully, when the issue comes up for review in 2021, there will be better leaders in the Democratic Party who will insist on a better, more representative plan for the people of the State of Washington.
Regards, David Spring
KCDCC 5th LD
Washington State Democrats Respond to Redistricting Proposal
In response to the redistricting proposal that the Commissioners Tim Ceis and Slade Gordon revealed on Wednesday morning, Dwight Pelz, Chair of the Washington State Democrats, issued the following statement:
“We are inspired that this new proposal presents opportunities for Democrats to expand the number of dedicated representatives who will fight for the interests of Washington’s middle class in Congress. The Washington State Democratic Party will work harder than ever before to capitalize on these opportunities, and build a grassroots network of activists and volunteers who will propel our candidates to victory in 2012. We thank the commissioners for their hard work and dedication in ensuring that Washingtonians receive fair and equitable representation in Congress.”
Please see below for commentary on specific districts:
1st Congressional District
“Washington’s newly drawn 1st District is ugly but lovable. Stretching from King County to Canada, the First will be a Democratic leaning district.
“We are fortunate that the 1st District has already drawn a slate of exciting, high profile Democratic candidates who will sharpen their skills, message and campaign organizations in advance of the general election. There is talk that the Republicans will trot out John Koster once again, but voters in the new 1st District are sure to reject his extreme, Tea Party policies in 2012.
10th Congressional District
“The newly drawn 10th District provides Democrats our best opportunity to send a true middle class champion to Congress. We are already on our way with Denny Heck, who will stand up and fight for families, fairness and economic opportunity.”
3rd Congressional District
“A redrawn district will not help Congresswoman Herrera Beutler hide from her record of serving as a rubber stamp for Speaker John Boehner’s partisan gamesmanship and Tea Party politics. Democrats will fight to ensure that Washington’s 3rd District is represented by a true champion of Washington’s middle class, not a politician who has abandoned her promise of creating jobs in favor of advancing an extreme, out-of-touch agenda.” 12/28/11abandoned her promise of creating jobs in favor of advancing an extreme, out-of-touch agenda.” 12/28/11