If the good people of South Carolina want to elect to Congress a philandering ex-governor who lied about being on the Appalachian Trail, that’s up to them. Yet as John Nichols reminded readers of The Nation magazine, the election of Mark Sanford was not as far-fetched as many thought.
The reason: It was a GOP district, and when Sanford won the party primary, he was an automatic frontrunner.
As experts pointed out, partisan drawing of district lines — the rule in most states, including Louisiana — creates races in which politicians pick their voters, instead of the other way around.
“Money is influential, personality is a factor. But nothing comes close to redistricting when it comes to defining the results of elections,” Nichols wrote in The Nation.
This is a sin that is thoroughly bipartisan. Last year, although Democrats lost seats in states like North Carolina where the GOP drew lines, the Republicans also suffered in states such as Illinois and New York.
We believe that a nonpartisan process of drawing district lines on the basis of objective criteria — a system similar to that in Iowa — should be adopted in Louisiana. Partisan redrawing of district lines is an affront to democracy, and not only in Sanford’s case.
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