Exporting California’s Redistricting Change

VotedIt is an old adage that California is a bellwether for the nation. Policy changes that happen here often flow eastward from tax revolts to climate strategies. Newly elected governor Gavin Newsom boldly predicted that recent California policies are the future for the rest of the country. Time will tell, but the idea that California political ideas will move the rest of the country is being tested currently, led by another of the Golden State’s governors.

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Last week, former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger hosted a Terminate Gerrymandering Summit at his USC Schwarzenegger Institute. On hand were leaders of four states, Michigan, Utah, Colorado, and Missouri, that saw successful ballot propositions approved in recent elections to take the power of drawing districts from legislators and give it to independent committees.

Calling the art of Gerrymandering (the word comes from an 1812 Massachusetts state senate district drawing signed by Governor Gerry with one district shaped like a salamander) a “200-year old scam,” Schwarzenegger celebrated the electoral victories, which he said, now means that one-third of congressional districts nationally are no longer drawn by politicians.

The exuberant former governor went a bit overboard in declaring that redistricting is now “hip.” However, it’s not a stretch to understand that when people listen to arguments about politicians choosing their own voters under Gerrymandering that the fairness issue weighs heavily on the side of change.

Both political parties have practiced the art of Gerrymandering—drawing districts that would guarantee safe party seats.

There are efforts in Texas and North Carolina to undo Republican Gerrymanders and in Maryland to end a Democratic Gerrymander.

The success of the Utah proposition in a solid Republican state was built on campaign material quoting Republicans Ronald Reagan and Schwarzenegger on the undemocratic aspects of Gerrymandering.

Schwarzenegger was a principal supporter of California’s Proposition 11 in 2008 to draw electoral boundaries for state assembly and senate districts. That was followed two years later by Proposition 20, filed by Charles Munger, Jr., to add the task of redistricting congressional seats to the newly created commission’s responsibilities.

Schwarzenegger reminisced about leaders of Democratic and Republican caucuses fighting fiercely when he was governor over some policy issue only to call him later and say they were united in their opposition to his effort to support the initiative to end Gerrymandering. He said then (and now) Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi spearheaded an effort that supplied millions of dollars to defeat the measure.

Kathay Feng of Common Cause, one of the lead organizations attempting to end Gerrymandering around the nation, recalled once receiving a call from a San Francisco legislator (unidentified but a Democrat, of course—San Francisco) demanding that no more Asian voters be put in her district.

Schwarzenegger intends to continue the effort to push his California message nationally during the 2020 elections. He set a goal that two-thirds or more of the congressional districts drawn after the 2020 census will be in the hands of independent commissioners.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily


  1. This was the Dems beginning action to erode integrity in voting and making sure they would cement each and every election. We have been sitting there watching this play out. We are much further down the road of fixed frauduent voting. Anyone wonder why we are in this place now, or where we will be in two years, 2020?

    Californians must take a stand and demonstrate, recall, or whatever the next best step is, not just watching and waiting.

    • Agreed… Colorado adopted a similar corrupt panel approach this past November….
      EVERY single aspect of political life in California that we thought we were leaving behind has followed us to Colorado…
      Every one…
      And the Gap is narrowing….

      Agree completely with Aprila… California MUST organize and rise up against the communists that are now the Democrat party and start THAT process of reclaiming the United States….
      Time to get organized and push back, Conservatives/Republican party!!!

  2. I spoke with a very bright young Mexican man this morning and we were talking about politicians. He said the only difference between the US and Mexican politicians, as he has lived in both countries and is a citizen here, is that the Mexicans don’t bother to hide their corruption.

  3. The “Commission” approach is a wonderful idea, as long as there is teeth in the law to demand a truly bipartisan/nonpartisan commission – and put teeth into the law to punish those involved when that ideal is abrogated.
    CA’s “commissions” were composed mostly of camouflaged Leftist activists, and the current makeup of the legislative and congressional delegations reflects that corruption.

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