From the late 40’s to the mid-90’s Democrats held a majority in the US House of Representatives. Republicans blamed the Democrats’ longevity on the way congressional districts were drawn – giving Democrats the power to draw the maps to their own advantage. Republicans felt so strongly about problems with the redistricting process that the Republican Party Platform of 1992 contained a plank focused specifically on Gerrymandered congressional and state legislative districts.
They concluded that the “political system is increasingly rigged” and they railed against districts that were “oddly shaped to guarantee election of Democrats”. More importantly, they came up with a solution:
“State-level appointment of non-partisan redistricting commissions to apply clear standards for compactness of districts, competitiveness between the parties, and protection of community interests.”
Did you know that each and every point made by the 1992 Republican plank on Gerrymanding is covered by this year’s Issue 2 (Voters First) proposal?
In the early 90’s Republicans wanted non-partisan commissions to draw maps with a focus on compactness, competitiveness and community interests. But this year, in Ohio, entrenched Republicans and their supporters are working to defeat the same reforms – and they will use any excuse and any (often false) claim they can find to discredit a proposal they would have overwhelmingly supported 20 years ago.
This week, for example, the Ohio Republican Party sent out mailers attacking the common-sense redistricting reforms in Voters First/Issue 2. And they’re using Ronald Reagan as the face of their campaign (image from latest ORP Mailer):
Funny story… in his last interview as President, Ronald Reagan came out in FAVOR of redistricting reform and AGAINST Gerrymandered districts and politicians drawing their own maps. And just like the supporters of Issue 2, Reagan advocated putting a “bi-partisan citizens committee” in charge of the process:
I think Voters First just found their most prominent redistricting reform supporter.