Tuesday, April 12, 2011

New State General Assembly Maps Nothing But Political

There's a word for what the Republicans did to the Democrats in the Indiana House and Senate maps that they drew, and I can't really say that word in polite conversation. It's a synonym for screwed. The good news is that these maps are only proposed for now.

We saw it coming folks. Two days after the election when it became clear what would happen with the Republican majorities in the Indiana House and Senate. I penned this blog post, and I attributed much of the bulldozing to Mitch Daniels. Well, I was wrong. Brian Bosma has emerged as the black hat villain for Dems. Anyway, try this one on for size and see how it fits. Just sub in Brian Bosma for every Mitch Daniels reference.

Indiana Democrats, the political weatherman has spoken. Hunker down, it's going to be a long storm.

The Republican statewide hurricane that swept a man accused of voter fraud into the Office of Secretary of State and a Washington lobbyist into the U.S. Senate has also swept in a huge Republican Indiana House majority and has shrunk the Democratic caucus in the Indiana Senate so much that now Democrats are not needed to do business at all in the Senate.

All of this means that lame duck Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels can pretty much run roughshod over anyone that has opposed him over the last six years. Fit him for his crown. He's now Napoleon.

Sure to be in his sights are the House Democratic caucus, public school teachers and administrators, organized labor, and minority groups. If you don't think he will, just wait.

Expect the Indiana General Assembly to end collective bargaining and make this state a “right to work” state. Expect the Indiana General Assembly to try to pass Arizona-like immigration legislation that will be discriminatory to minorities. Expect the Indiana General Assembly to do everything in its power to dissolve the Indiana State Teachers Association and to make public schools suffer so that more people go the private school direction. Expect the consolidation of local government so that townships no longer exist and small school districts are forced to consolidate with larger ones.

The voices of dissent will be there, and they will be strong, but there’s now nothing stopping Governor Daniels. For all intents and purposes, if it comes out of his mouth, and he wants it done, it will be law.

Even more insidious is what Governor Daniels can now do in redistricting. In many years, if reforms didn’t work, the opposing party could be ready to gain back the seats it lost in the next election. This time, Republicans will be drawing the Indiana House maps and the Indiana Senate maps. There will be no control of the General Assembly for Democrats in the foreseeable future if those maps are drawn correctly. Forget all this talk about fair redistricting. That’s done.

Indiana’s Republicans already had the right to draw the Indiana Congressional Districts. It looks like reapportionment will not take any seats from the state, but it does look like districts like the 2nd District and the 9th District can be redrawn in a way that Democrats will never control them. Republicans can also play defense in the 8th District where it looks like Brad Ellsworth could conceivably give it a go in 2012 against the newly-elected Larry Buschon.

The best Democrats can hope for in 2012 is that a strong candidate for Governor emerges. I’m not so sure that candidate is Evan Bayh. Bayh’s blueprint of a Blue Dog caucus in Indiana is not producing results anymore. Voters have strongly rejected it.

It’s time for a reboot at the state level, and it’s going to require a new mold to figure out things. The same old same old same old with the same old characters leading the way won’t work. I have a feeling the growing pains aren’t going to be pretty as old guard vestiges hang on for dear life. Voters already handed control of every state office and the General Assembly to Mitch Daniels. You can’t get much worse than that.

Sounds pretty much like I was Nostrademocratus there. But, the sad thing is that as bad of a prognosticator as I am, most of it has come true. The Dems stopped Right to Work for now, but almost everything else I mentioned has come true or has come close to true.

The redistricting in the Indiana House is the latest and greatest hit in the Republican caucus' hit parade. View the proposed maps here. As you'll notice, Marion County is going to look a lot more red if things hold up. Republican incumbents...strengthened. New districts in Republican areas were also added.

And, the Democrats, more insignificant. The Republicans have drawn the districts in such a way that longtime Representatives like John Day, Greg Porter, and Ed Delaney would be primary opponents. Jeb Bardon and Vanessa Summers would be primary opponents. In other Democratic areas across the state, it's divide and conquer.

Make no mistake, this was the lasting Republican hack job on this state. They hope to get these craps...whoops...maps through for the next 10 years resulting in maybe 25 seats for Dems. That's hardly representative of Indiana.

We're not even talking about the State Senate maps which can be examined here. There, according to the Indianapolis Star, one district, Senate District 28, would run from Center Township all the way out to Wayne County. What the firetruck?

When I penned that blog post in November, I had no idea what lengths the Republicans would go to to punish Democrats. In the end, it only punishes Indiana. One party autonomy needs to end, and the Republicans will try to blame this on the Democrats because the bill that would have given redistricting to a non-partisan committee was killed in the walkout. Well, I guess that makes what they have done right then.

These maps are sick. Hopefully, the Indiana Democratic Party can muster what is left of itself and fight this one off. Otherwise, we might as well be dispersing into county organizations because the IDP will be done as we know it at the state level.

Elections most definitely do have consequences.


Paul K. Ogden said...

Jon, you're way too negative. The R's can only go so far to improve their numbers and if they get too greedy they cut the districts too closely and lose scores of seats in a bad year.

The Marion County house seats look particularly good for the Ds. You're focusing too much on internal battles from putting Ds in the same district. In the grand scheme of things that doesn't matter outside of one election.

Anonymous said...

This all goes back to Evan Bayh, The quitter and turncoat.