SDPB’s Lee Strubinger chose well in traveling to District 19 to explain gerrymandering and Amendment T, the independent redistricting proposal intended to stop that nefarious practice. We know darn well that District 19 was deliberately drawn by Republican leaders to chop Bon Homme County in half and pull Democrat Frank Kloucek’s half of Bon Homme away from his old, reliable constituency and into more solid Republican country.
But Republican Senator Bill Van Gerpen, the Kloucek-ousting beneficiary of that gerrymandering, continues the game of his Republican colleagues and pretends there’s no gerrymandering in his district. But worse than playing dumb, Senator Van Gerpen plays smart… as in smarter than everyone else:
He says he’s not convinced that Amendment T will improve redistricting. He says lawmakers have more insight into what’s happening with the state.
“And if you bring on an outside group to redistrict, there’s probably issues there that they’re not aware of. I think the legislators are probably more enlightened as to the issues in the state and how they might affect being fair to everyone in the state,” VanGerpen says [Lee Strubinger, “Indepth [sic] Look at Amendment T,” SDPB: Dakota Midday, 2016.10.05].
Legislators more enlightened than the people? If Senator Van Gerpen thinks that’s a good way to argue against Amendment T, I welcome him to continue. He’s really just exposing the elitism that underpins the South Dakota Republican Party’s general distaste for us voters… which is why they are fighting Amendment T so hard: they want to pick their voters rather than being subjected to the indignity of voters picking their own legislators.