Friday, April 08, 2011

You want redistricting reform? Here's how you get it . . .

For the past couple of weeks we've been treated to various wails and snarls over redistricting and how bad it is, how partisan it is, and how terribly, terribly unfair it all is. Virginians want a better way of redistricting, and I think I have the answer--or at least part of it.

Redistricting needs to be taken out of the hands of the General Assembly and put into the hands of a more neutral body. I leave it to you to figure who that body should be--college students, college professors . . . someone. This should be done by amending the state constitution.

Now here's the key to passing it through the General Assembly: don't make it effective until 2020 or 2030. You see, it's simply asking too much of human being to ask them to legislate themselves out of a job. The thing that always scuttles redistricting reform, regardless of the party or parties in charge is the desire of the incumbent members of the General Assembly that they keep their jobs. It's just human nature: most people refuse to act against their own interest.

By moving the change in the law far over the horizon so that it is unlikely to affect any existing incumbent makes it more palatable, because it is another profoundly human trait that people generally are willing to screw over the people who come after them. So stop asking the impossible from the members of the General Assembly. Stop asking them to reform themselves--instead, ask them to reform the legislators of the future--the distant future if necessary.

No comments: