ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editorial by the editor.
The Michigan Redistricting Commission, created by an overwhelming vote of the people in a state-wide referendum in November 2018, has announced its decision on redrawing the 13 congressional districts.
The commission approved a U.S. House map that MLive.com has described as “fairer to Democrats than when the process was controlled by the Republican-led Legislature for two decades.”
About two-thirds of voters in this state three years ago voted to throw out the corrupt system that enabled the majority party to gerrymander the political map in order to keep their jobs.
Don’t even bother with the concept of fairness. We’re talking about the party that blocked Merrick Garland for U.S. Supreme Court because he was nominated in Obama’s last year of his presidency, but went 180 degrees in 2020 to push Amy Coney Barrett in Donald Trump’s last year, for that matter, last several months.
The idea that Republicans would decide unfairly the geographical boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts in the interests of their own advantage shouldn’t even be questioned by a rational observer. And yes, Democrats do it too.
All of this points to a supposedly democratic system, or even a republic, that has deteriorated into both of the parties in the two-party system putting party loyalty ahead of state and nation. And bipartisanship be damned, it’s an illusion.
Eight of the 13 members of the panel chose a 13-district plan known as “Chestnut.” There could be 7-6 splits in favor of either party if it is competitive statewide.
Closer to home, this is how this stacks up in Allegan, Kent and Barry counties:
• District 3 — a seat held by Republican Congressman Peter Meijer, will expand from its Grand Rapids base to Muskegon and other lakeshore communities such as Grand Haven
• District 4 — represented in Washington D.C. since 1987 by Republican Fred Upton of St. Joseph. It starts in St. Joseph Township and extends north to Port Sheldon Township and includes Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, and this area. The way it stands now, it would make necessary a primary election in August between Upton and fellow Republican incumbent Bill Huizenga, who has won solidly along the lakeshore and in Ottawa County.
Voters and readers must understand that redistricting is necessary every 10 years because of population changes, as determined by the U.S. Census. The only problem with the process all these years is that, in the words of the late comedian George Carlin, “The game is rigged” in a manner similar to “He who has the gold makes the rules.”
I support the redistricting commission’s role 100 percent, though I certainly have issues with the lines that have been drawn. At least the process this time was fair.