Brantley and Brummett:Will Democrats Gerrymander Fayetteville into South Arkansas? (part 3)

 

In his article “Pig Trail Gerrymander refuses to die,” Arkansas News Bureau, March 17, 2011, John Brummett asserts:

Carrying this Pig Trail Gerrymander in his briefcase, notably, is an eastern Arkansas farmer Democrat, Rep. Clark Hall of Marvell in Phillips County. He only so happens to be well-positioned as chairman of the House State Agencies Committee, which will consider these plans and which has a membership of 12 Democrats and eight Republicans.

He was grinning the other day when I accosted him in the Capitol corridor on this gerrymander.

“It’s not cherry-picking,” he said. “It makes sense when you think about it.”

If you are so desperate in regard to your region’s historic partisanship that you are willing to defy logic and draw defiantly nutty districts that are transparently designed to give yourself a wildly contrived fighting chance, then, yes, it makes perfect sense.

The Senate State Agencies Committee, which will consider these same issues, has four Democrats and four Republicans. One of the Democrats, Sue Madison of Fayetteville, has been hearing from her hometown constituents that they detest this grotesque gerrymander.

That prominent Democrat who asserted the 2-to-2 “feel” of the state also told me that, after considerable drama, maybe even into a later special session, the Legislature probably would be forced to accept some logical tinker with the status quo.

That would mean Boone or White to the 1st, thus another evolutionary step in the Republicanization of Arkansas.

Arkansas Democrats can run only so far from both the truth and the people.

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I bet Sue Madison gets  such an ear full from the people back home that she has to reject this plan. It is my view that it is okay to gerrymander to some degree, but to not get carried away. Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times has a different view:

The Republican talking point that it is a perverse gerrymander to run a peninsula up to Washington County to capture Fayetteville for the Fourth District. That map would look a little strange, yes.

But to assert there is a “natural” way for existing congressional districts to grow is a fallacy based on nothing. Why should the 1st “naturally” grow further north into the hills? It would be far more “natural,” if some sort of geoconsistency were the measure, for the 1st Disttrict to grow from its western border in Lonoke County right up to the end of the Delta at Ozark Point in Little Rock, capturing all the final bits of flat land (and many thousands of black voters) in Pulaski County.

Congressional redistricting is and always has been political in every state.

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This is the worst case in the USA today in my opinion (Below). Yes it is political like Brantley points out, but can’t you see that the good people in Illinois got carried away? Are we going to be added to this list of 20 districts that look silly?

Steve Brawner notes:

Some want Fayetteville to join the mostly southern Arkansas Fourth, which, if you can picture that in your mind’s eye, will require some very creative map-drawing.

The easiest way is just to slide Fort Smith out of the Third and into the Fourth, but the city seems to be resisting that idea.
I think it would benefit Fort Smith to make the move. Even though it is the largest city in the 3rd District, it geographically is off to itself a little bit. The power belongs to the mass of humanity stretching from Fayetteville to the Missouri border. Moving to the 4th would make Fort Smith the big dog of the district.
 
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I do think it would be very stretched to put Fayetteville in the 4th district. Brawner thinks it is hard to map out too.
 

 

 

 

 

 
Illinois 4th
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D.
 

 

 

 

 
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