No on 20, no on 27, no to the myth of electoral reform

Every election in California seems to have some well-intentioned proposal to improve government, and this one is no exception.  Prop 20 would extend the powers of the Citizens’ Commission to draw congressional boundaries and eliminate gerrymandering [they already have this power for the state legislatures], while Prop 27 would eliminate the commission entirely.

Ever since the Roman Republic, people have tried to tinker with the democratic process, generally to little effect.  Saturday voting, open primaries, public financing – the list is long and I suspect the good-government types won’t stop until every elected official is a milquetoast blend of Tom Campbell and Evan Bayh.

Do these reforms do any good?  Well, the early California reformers introduced the recall, which gave us Governor Schwarzenegger, and the initiative process, which gave us governmental paralysis.

Let’s take 20 first.  It abolishes Congressional gerrymandering, so we get fewer Democrats, which is bad.  So no.  But gerrymandering’s not fair, you say?  Who the Hell wants to be fair?!  Was Bush v. Gore “fair”?  Was JFK’s 1960 victory “fair”?  Was it fair when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?!  No, no, and no.

Now on to 27.  This abolishes the commission entirely, so the legislature can continue to gerrymander their own state districts.  If there’s one thing more annoying than a goo-goo reformer, it’s a worthless member of a worthless legislature.  Congress occasionally does something, but would we ever miss a few Democrats in the Assembly or Senate?  Would we even miss the whole Assembly or the Senate?  So no on 27 too.  Let’s give this commission a chance to have some fun on the meaningless state bodies – it’s not like anything bad can happen.

So no on 20 and no on 27 (the same position as the League of Women Voters, incidentally).  And no to the pernicious myth of electoral reform.  California has enough real problems – whether you think it’s the public employee unions or Prop 13, let’s get to work on those, rather than getting distracted with repainting the staterooms on the Titanic.


One Response to “No on 20, no on 27, no to the myth of electoral reform”

  1. Cherubim Says:


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