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"Killer Ds" flee Texas to protest gerrymandering

Fifty-three of the sixty-two Democrats in the Texas House fled across to the state line to Ardmore, OK:

The revolt was spurred by the introduction of a GOP-backed congressional-redistricting bill that Democrats believe would unfairly tilt the balance in favor of Republicans for years to come. They blamed US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R) of Texas for forcing the issue long before it was required.

Typical reprehensible politicians? Or heroes? Note that the Christian Science Monitor article says that "delighted constituents have shown up with cookies, balloons, and cheers." On the other hand, the American Heritage Dictionary definition says specifically that to gerrymander is "to give unfair advantage to one party."

Redistricting has always been one of the uglier aspects of politics in the U.S. (not as ugly as the roadblocks thrown up by Democrats and Republicans that make it virtually impossible for any third party to succeed, but that's another story). Its specific intent is to help the majority party stay in the majority. The solution has been obvious to me since I read, at a fairly young age, about Elbridge Gerry's redistricting antics when he was governor of Massachusetts (1810-1812). Let each party (preferably not only the Republicans and the Democrats, but all parties) submit its own redistricting plan to a Court. The Court would then determine which plan had the lowest total distance in district boundary lines and this would be the plan put into effect. The effect of this would be to push political parties toward the opposite of gerrymandering, since gerrymandering, in effect, is a deliberate effort to increase this total distance to absurd heights.

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