It’s a sentiment shared by Democratic politicians and liberal pundits: disgust over how Republicans drew up favorable (for them) legislative districts after the 2010 Census. Redistricting is blamed for Congress’ relative lack of legislative production and the rise of stringent partisanship, and has prompted Democrats to fight back in several states. Even former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is getting in on it, leading the National Democratic Redistricting Committee to crusade against gerrymandering (aka the act of drawing legislative districts to benefit a political party). But one place that isn’t a battleground is Illinois, where Democrats could be seen as the bad guy, having drawn legislative boundaries in 2011 that put the GOP at a disadvantage. And that has some wondering whether Democrats’ broader push for “fair” maps is really about politics more than principle.
“What they really want to do is get better maps in the seats than they had,” according to Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
Others contend that alternatives to having lawmakers draw their own districts — such as an independent commission — don’t necessarily produce less political outcomes.
“I don’t think just setting something up and calling it a commission is the answer to all of the problems,” said Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. “Depending on how you structure it, it can help accomplish different things. Not all commissions are the same and they’re designed for different purposes.”