Tony Quinn tosses an ethnicity-charged grenade into the redistricting discussion with a piece titled "How the Redistricting Commission Screwed Latinos." Now, I like Tony Quinn. I've met him. We share some Rose Institute connections. But lately, I've disagreed with a lot of his thoughts about the California Redistricting Commission (though I agree with his ire over the possibly unfair disqualification of, um, half of my previous employers, I am not taking it quite as personally as he seems to be taking it all).
This latest piece starts with a quote from a NALEO redistricting official that reads, in part, "The lines drawn by the Commission gerrymander Los Angeles Latinos into a district with the millionaires of Beverly Hills and Pacific Palisades. These lines would disenfranchise Latinos by denying them a fair voice in the democratic process." Okay, first, not ALL Los Angeles Latinos are in that district. We're everywhere - we're far beyond the Pico-Union borders, right?
Next, Quinn rhetorically asks whether the Arizona Legislature has snuck into California to draw the new lines Because AZ hates Latinos, right? I kind of think that's true - but the joke rings false to anyone who follows redistricting since AZ also uses an independent commission? Too fine a nerd point? Can't help it - this is as nerdy a topic as exists, so I think it's fair to call Quinn out on this.
I think what bothers me most in all of this is Quinn's lack of actual demographic references to back up his assertions. I assume he's looking at the data, so why not mention it? No, that's not true, what bothers me most are lines like this one: "The incumbent in this area is Congresswoman Judy Chu, an Asian American, who took the former Latino seat held by Hilda Solis when she became Labor Secretary in 2009." Asians are stealing Latino seats! It's minority vs. minority in an ethnic/racial slugfest that can only be won by . . . nobody at all.
All of this seems to me like a set-up: if we make the Dems and Latinos fight themselves, may we can repack some minority districts and get, like, one more GOP seat? Maybe? How 'bout can we save David Dreier? No? Come-on, give us one....
I'd like to see Dems and Latinos (the Venn diagram of which is going to be, what, like 80% overlapping circles?) have a little closed door meeting and really hash this out and conclude that we're not going to take the bait on this.