They had plenty of time.
When Colorado legislators began the process of trying to find where to squeeze a new congressional district into an already-silly political situation, we figured the work would be difficult. We were not surprised to notice that it was difficult for legislators to agree. In fact, we expected they would work right up until the deadline imposed by District Judge John Coughlin. In the end, there would be a successfully legislated change to Colorado’s political topography.
Boy, were we wrong.
Turns out that Coughlin was forced to choose a plan. His plan creates a Colorado with four Republican-dominant districts, two Democrat-dominant districts, and one that now seems up for grabs.
Democrats are happy, for they get a chance at a seat. But the Republicans are steamed. And they’re making foolish accusations of unfairness. Some are foolishly alleging that Democrats knew what Coughlin, a registered Democrat, would decide, which is why they blocked all Republican attempts in the legislature. Some are also threatening to appeal the decision, saying it’s unfair.
Sour grapes, anyone?
Look, any new plan will not be perfect, but we are pretty pleased with the judge’s attempt to create a competitive space while at the same time preserving minority voice and roughly equal populations in all seven districts. The judge himself admits the plan is not perfect, but that it is the best of those he had to choose from.
We are disappointed not with the plan, but instead the process. All politicians involved tried to milk the situation for their party, all the while forgetting that such work is meant to ensure fair and honest representation for all Colorado voters, not political parties.
A competitive district should not be seen as a win or a loss for a party, but instead a victory for voters. Come November, those voters will have a chance to focus on issues and not party politics.
Furthermore, the parties, through the legislature, had their chance to influence the process. They screwed it up.
Thanks, Judge Coughlin, for scoring a victory for Colorado voters. We just wish it was a victory that our political system, and not our judiciary, could have provided.
Oh well – at least we get the entertainment of the political arena, even if they accomplish nothing of merit.