Speaking of Duncan Hunter and Redistricting

Long, long, long shot presidential candidate Congressman Duncan Hunter interviewed by David Shankbone of Mens News Daily on redistricting:

DS You were originally elected as part of the Reagan Revolution and you came from a historically competitive district—DH: Actually a non-competitive district; it was 2 to 1 Democrat. It was so noncompetitive that my opponent announced two weeks before the election that it was so Democrat that Abraham Lincoln couldn’t beat him! [Laughs]DS But you won! So it sounds competitive.

DH: Well, it wasn’t competitive until 1980.

DS Districts nationwide have become solidly leaning toward one party or another. Do you think that since our districts are being drawn in ways—and both parties do this—in ways that ensure one party wins, do you think that hurts our democracy?

DH: Well, actually, it’s always happened since the original Gerrymander by Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, which they named the Gerry Salamander and then the Gerrymander. The district I ran in had been gerrymandered by the Democrats of the legislature to be heavily Democrat; I was just able to win it. You have the same thing now. You have very polarized seats, but it’s not much different than it was in 1980. In fact, it’s no difficult at all.

DS But studies have shown that districts have become more concentrated, that the votes have become more lopsided toward one party, whereas it used to be more that you would find percentages of 47/53, whereas now it is 60/40 or 65/35. You consistently win more than 60-70% of the vote in your district.

DH: Yeah, well, that’s true, but that’s what the old guy used to get in my district in 1980.

DS But then they changed it.

DH: Yeah, but my point is that the district was actually moved—the Democrat legislature actually cut my house out and moved it around and moved it into East County with a narrow connector. SO I have always been subject to the Democrat party controllingredistricting in California. They have done what is most expeditious for the party.

DS Don’t you think this is a problem we have in the country with both parties doing it?

DH: Well, they have always done it. I guess my point is that it’s the same as it has always been. There have been a number of attempts in which referendums have been offered by the minority party, for example in California, to make redistricting more even, and those initiatives have always been the subject of mass media campaigns by the controlling party, and you’ve usually lost. So you end up in the end with the elective representatives of the party sometimes overseen by the judiciary, because you end up with judicial panels redistricting if there is a defective redistricting by the state legislature, but in the end the elected representatives of the states are the people who draw the lines. I don’t know what a valid substitute would be for the elected representatives of the state. I say that as a guy coming from a state that is dominated by the opposite party that tries to do my party in. On the other hand, those districts are drawn by people who have been elected by the majority of Californians. I like the idea of having judicial panels redistrict the states, but I think in the end under this democratic system we have, having the elected representatives do the redistricting is the way it has been done in the past and the way it is going to be done in the future.

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