GOP Spin: Independent Redistricting Commission Hurts Rural Interests… Just Like Status Quo?

Pat Powers’s response to the redistricting amendment about to hit the petition trail shows just how cheap his politics is. Instead of focusing on the merits of the proposal, Powers focuses on concocting an argument to say, basically, that Doug Sombke, who filed the amendment on behalf of South Dakota Farmers Union, is an Obama Democrat who hates farmers.

Powers reasons thus:

  1. South Dakota’s population is becoming increasingly urban.
  2. Every time we redraw legislative district boundaries, representation inevitably becomes more urban as well.
  3. Redistricting thus inevitably hurts rural interests.
  4. The amendment proposes a special redistricting in 2017, four years earlier than the scheduled 2021 decennial change.
  5. The amendment thus speeds up the inevitable reduction of rural representation.
  6. The amendment thus runs counter to the rural interests Farmers Union represents.

Notice that this critique entirely ignores the real change the amendment seeks: ending gerrymandering. But, as we’ve observed before, Dakota War College is all war and no college. Pat Powers doesn’t educate people; he attacks them. What he’s really doing is trying to personalize the debate, calling the amendment Sombke’s and not Farmers Union’s, so that he can try to undermine confidence in Sombke’s leadership:

Doug Sombke of the South Dakota Farmer’s Union is the sponsor of the measure. And if you read the measure, I’d argue that his sponsorship not only is curious, it’s inexplicable given his leadership of the Farmer’s Union.

…As opposed to an effort to improve the lot of agriculture in Pierre, it seems to be yet another attempt at social engineering from the party of Obama.

It’s not as if Sombke is a stranger to supporting Democrat causes.  Except this time, it might be incumbent upon members of his organization to ask him how his proposed amendment benefits them.  Because I just don’t see it [Pat Powers, “So, How Does the Farmer’s Union Constitutional Amendment Benefit Farmers?”Dakota War College, 2015.07.15].

First of all, let’s be clear: this is not Sombke’s amendment. It’s not even Farmers Union’s amendment, not exclusively:

South Dakota Farmers Union has united with a number of organizations to form the #SDRtThing2Do Coalition. This coalition looks to be a positive force in South Dakota and will begin collecting petition signatures for a Constitutional Amendment on Redistricting very soon. Before voters have the opportunity to vote this Constitutional Amendment into law, the group will need to collect 27,741 signatures to get it on the Nov. 2016 ballot.

“For too long we have had misrepresentation as a result of poor redistricting practices,” said Wayne Soren, South Dakota Farmers Union Vice President. “South Dakota Farmers Union, along with the other organizations, chose to amend the state’s Constitution as it pertains to redistricting because it is the right thing to do” [South Dakota Farmers Union, press release, 2015.07.15].

Given his personal agenda, it is perfectly explicable that Powers would find it “inexplicable” that a coalition of organizations would support a ballot measure just because it’s the right thing to do. He can’t grasp that Sombke and Farmers Union and other South Dakotans would think that an independent redistricting commission could provide better, fairer representation than a partisan process guided by selfish interests. He can’t bash the amendment itself, because Farmers Union is right: independent redistricting is the right thing to do! Failing serious policy analysis, Powers thus defaults to petty personal politics.

6 Responses to GOP Spin: Independent Redistricting Commission Hurts Rural Interests… Just Like Status Quo?

  1. larry kurtz

    66 county commissions made up of Republicans is only conservative in an alternate universe.

  2. I just tried to slog through Pat Powderkeg’s post, and naturally, it makes no sense. Especially strange is his argument that:

    “This measure is great if you’re an urbanite, and want more representation in Pierre. But that brand new legislative seat in Sioux Falls has to come from somewhere. And if you’re a farmer living in a rural area losing population…. well…… Sorry guys.”

    The phrase “if you’re an urbanite and want more representation,” I guess, is Pat admitting that South Dakota’s urban areas are and will be underrepresented as farmers leave the land while the GOP continues with ag policies doomed to stabilize farmer numbers, such as the crazy notion of opening a huge beef plant in Aberdeen when there’s no demand for it, or trying to entice CAFO dairies when there’s so much milk being produced nationally that farmers are dumping it. Don’t dare consider a change that makes legislative districts more fair. Keep things as they are for at least another four years, so growing urban areas (that likely will attract politically sophisticated, not so red populations) remain underrepresented in Pierre for as long as possible until another partisan, gerrymanding redistricting process can take place that doesn’t challenge the status quo or Pat’s political scrap paper producing machine. As far as you people living in Sioux Falls or Rapid or Aberdeen or Mitchell receiving the political representation in Pierre that you’re entitled to … well … sorry guys.

  3. Roger Elgersma

    redistricting does not change the population. Cities grow, farms grow. Cities get more people, rural areas get fewer people. That is what is going to change the legislature. But when farms hire illegals, then the farm work gets done by non voters and the population of voters shifts much faster. So if you keep the family farms family, you will keep more voting population in rural areas and the cities will grow anyways. Same thing that happened in many other states. You can not stop history.

  4. This ballot initiative is going to sell itself. Do you want independent redistricting, or should politicians continue to draw their own districts – like 25, where SOUTHeastern Sioux Falls is lumped in with Garretson & Dell Rapids 30 miles north of SF, or like the cities of Aberdeen and Huron which are split up but don’t have to be?

    Doesn’t matter how Pat Powers spins this. Nobody’s going to buy it.

  5. Vermont should be a Red State. When will the Blues demand the resources from the big boys to run a campaign? Where the hell is a feller like Howard Dean? While looking at our belly buttons, lets take a brief moment to think about that after reading this

  6. I agree with Rorsch! I’m in 25 now but was in 14 but didn’t even get notified of the change! Gerrymandering and don’t let the voters know so they might go to the wrong precinct to vote. No ill intent there! Not much!