The redistricting maps that Common Cause MN haven’t posted on their website go against the principles stated on Draw the Lines Minnesota’s website. They also go against Common Cause Minnesota’s hollow mantra requiring government to be transparent.
If anything is true about this map, it’s that Common Cause MN isn’t a disinterested, non-partisan bystander. This map apparently indicates that they’re DFL political operatives. The open seat they’ve created, by itself, isn’t proof that Common Cause MN wants to tilt the redistricting map in the DFL’s favor.
Couple the creation of an open seat with the new MN-2 district, which pits John Kline against Michele Bachmann, and a DFL-friendly pattern emerges. Couple that with the fact that the new MN-2 district is home to Matt Dean, a man mentioned by GOP activists as a possible replacement if Michele is part of someone’s cabinet, and you’ve got more than a DFL friendly district. You’ve got the DFL’s dream GOP district.
If Common Cause MN was truly interested in creating competitive districts, they would’ve combined parts of Michele Bachmann’s district with parts of Tim Walz’s district. They would’ve pitted Betty McCollum against John Kline in the new 2nd district.
What’s most troubling is the fact that Common Cause MN didn’t post this map on their website in the spirit of transparency and accountability, principles they’re constantly preaching to politicians. It’s a fair question to ask why Common Cause MN won’t practice what they preach, especially when this is their stated goal:
The redistricting process should be independent and nonpartisan, to minimize the influence of elected officials and political parties in creating districts to their own political advantage.
The redistricting process should be transparent to the public.
They’re constantly telling the public and politicians alike that transparency and accountability are essential to good governance, that it instills trust in the institutions of society. There’s no arguing that transparency and accountability are important to instilling trust in society’s great institutions. The only thing that’s left to argue, then, is why Common Cause MN won’t practice what they preach.
As stated in this article, Draw the Line Minnesota is a chapter in an organization called Draw the Line Midwest. Draw the Line Midwest and Draw the Line Minnesota appear to have alot in common with Redrawing the Lines. Redrawing the Lines’ only listed partner is the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund.
At the bottom of Draw the Line Midwest’s Tools and Resources page are links to a number of provocative articles. Here’s a glimpse:
ACLU: Stacking, Cracking and Packing: How politicians use “gerrymandering” to dilute minority votes
Brennan Center: Redistricting 101 Video Training
Green Film Company: Gerrymandering Documentary Clips
NAACP LDF: Redrawing the Lines: This District Represents My Community
PBS Need to Know: Drawing the lines: Parties fight for redistricting power
It isn’t shocking to read that the ACLU thinks white politicians use redistricting to dilute minority voting strength. What’s shocking is that Common Cause MN and the League of Women Voters Minnesota apparently agree with the ACLU:
Historically, redistricting has been done out of the public eye, without meaningful public input, and used to dilute the voting power of communities of color.
Years ago, the NAACP was exposed as a corrupt, partisan organization supporting the Democratic Party nationally. They were exposed because they marched in monolithic lockstep with the Democratic Party. Until now, the public has thought of Common Cause MN and the League of Women Voters MN as nonpartisan, good government organizations.
These maps and their participation in this redistricting process require, at minimum, thoughtful people to question whether they’re nonpartisan good government organizations.