The D.C. based political newspaper Roll Call has a story online Tuesday headlined "Democrats Betting Big on Florida Redistricting," though the subhead is more accurate, reading, "New Fair Districts Law Will Prevent Major GOP Gerrymander, but Huge Gains Are Not Likely."
That should have been the headline.
A year ago Floridians of all political stripes overwhelmingly voted in support of Amendments 5 & 6, known as the Fair District Florida measure, that attempts to make the redrawing of legislative and congressional districts more compact, contiguous and fair. In other words, enough with the gerrymandering that always happens when one political party is allowed control of making the maps.
The arguments behind the amendments are sound. There are some absolutely absurdly drawn districts in the state; invariably Jacksonville area Democrat Corrine Brown's seat is mentioned here, though arguably Congressional District 11, currently held by Kathy Castor, is pretty ridiculous. That includes not only Hillsborough County, but a slither of South St. Petersburg and a part of Manatee County. At the redistricting public hearing in Tampa in late August, both self-identified Republicans and Democrats agreed that the seat should not cross the bay.
There's also the argument that Dems have made for years — that despite their dominance in voter registration in the state, the fact that they are so outnumbered in their representation in both D.C. and especially Tallahassee is indicative that the lines are unfairly drawn.
Probably true as well. But as CL has argued since even before the measure was passed last year, Democrats are fantasizing if they believe these measures will get them near parity in the legislature anytime in the foreseeable future.