John Brummett :Redistricting is controlled by one party and they may try more Fayetteville Fingers, but mood may be more important than lines? (Part 23)

“Gerrymandering” Film Exposes Truth of Redistricting

Bill Plante talks to Jeff Reichert, the writer/director of “Gerrymandering,” a new documentary film that uncovers the way that congressional districts are drawn up.


In my last post about redistricting, the point was made that State House and Senate redistricting could lead to many little Fayetteville Fingers. However, Brummett makes the point today that mood more than maps will make the difference. Max Brantley agrees. In his blog post, “Brummett to GOP: Take a deep breath,” Arkansas Times Blog, May 26, 2011, Brantley asserted, “Legislative lines are of relatively small importance against prevailing political moods anyway.”

John Brummett in his article, “It’s a ‘little-bitty controversy,” Arkansas News Bureau, May 26, 2011 asserted:

Here is the deal: It is well-understood that the elections for governor, attorney general and secretary of state take on extra importance to the political parties, if not so much the general public, in census-year elections.

That’s because those three people will draw the new state legislative districts. It is because of a common universal understanding that the party with control of this board will exercise that control to protect and enhance its legislative districting position.

In 1981, two young Democrats — Attorney General Steve Clark and Secretary of State Paul Riviere — redrew these districts. The third Apportionment Board member was the governor, who happened to be Republican Frank White, who had upset Bill Clinton.

The late and lovable Frank didn’t much like it that Clark and Riviere did the work themselves without including him at all, but his reaction was one of amused scoffing.

He never put out a news release accusing Clark and Riviere of being Democrats who favored Democrats and Democratic interests.

The eventual issue here — the one to which I alluded by invoking potential little-bitty Fayetteville Fingers — is whether Beebe and McDaniel can be sufficiently deft and subtle. The Fayetteville Finger was a brazen overreach, the mapping of which revealed its own heavy-handedness.

So let us take a few deep breaths and wait for Beebe and McDaniel to show us what they have in the desk drawer. Brazen overreaching and heavy-handedness — those, if evident, will be cause for Republican whining. Even a left-leaning columnist would agree.

P.S. — If the state is tilting Republican in the way I think, maps will matter less than moods, anyway

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