Brummett:Reasons to put Fayetteville in South? (part 5)

John Brummet gave 7 reasons for the Fayetteville Finger in his recent article and here they are:

First, they argue — correctly — that congressional redistricting is inherently a partisan exercise. The political parties try to protect themselves. The party with the state legislative advantage gets to protect itself first.

Second, they argue — correctly — that this Fayetteville Finger is legal. It is a contiguous district. It largely adheres to adjoining state legislative districting, which, of course, must soon change as well…

Third, Democrats contend — again, correctly — that districtwide commonality is not a requirement, especially when a rural area loses so much population that it requires extensive geographic expansion….

Fourth, they say — and this is true as well — that their plan, in transferring for political purposes a few Democratic counties in the southeastern corner of the state from the 4th to the 1st District, actually has the concurrent advantage of consolidating the mutually interested Mississippi River Delta counties all the way to the Louisiana border.

Fifth, Democrats say that this Fayetteville-centered redistricting plan is less partisan than a plan of theirs might have been. This also is correct, if something of a straw-man argument.

Sixth, they assert that there is nothing that says our decennial congressional redistricting must be done in a way that disturbs the status quo as little as possible. We have done it that way in recent decades only because we were a one-party state with veteran congressmen and the prevailing objective was to shake things up as little as possible….

Seventh, they say a redistricting plan must be passed in the Legislature and that there is the potential for support for this plan in Fayetteville that does not exist in a more logical geographic area, such as Fort Smith and Sebastian County.


I would agree with one of Brummett’s earlier statements in the first part of his article: It is entirely too conspicuous a little gerrymander — too abrupt a departure from what we have always done — to escape critical attention. The Democratic desperation to stay competitive through meandering mapping instead of policy persuasion is a ripe target for ridicule.

Congressman Steve Womack is one that also jumps on board as far as ridiculing this idea.  He did so in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette on March 26th.

“I think it’s absurd,” he said. “I’ve said all along that it’s an absurd plan, a silly plan.”
“The fact that it’s got any legs at all in the Arkansas House, and perhaps in the Arkansas Senate, is a travesty,” he said.
This week, Chairman Doyle Webb discusses the State Democratic Party’s congressional redistricting proposal dubbed the “Pig Trail Gerrymander” or “Fayetteville Finger” for it’s suspicious meandering, creative carvings and raw partisanship.
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