I’ll bet the words “redistricting” and “reapportionment” make your eyes glaze over. The legislators in Tallahassee are betting on that, too.
Every ten years, each state must redesign its congressional and state legislative district maps to reflect changes in census data. It’s one of the reasons the Founding Fathers required that a census be taken in the U.S. Constitution.
It seems simple, but it isn’t. Recent Supreme Court decisions have found that special exceptions must be made to ensure that certain districts are drawn to guarantee minority representation. Then there’s the fact that the party in power generally controls redistricting, and their top priority is to preserve that power in perpetuity, as well as to protect incumbents.
An added wrinkle, this time around, is that Floridians voted for something called “Fair Districts,” which, while making representation theoretically more even-handed, is diametrically opposed to the countervailing forces described above.
Why should you care? Because right now, we have a legislature wherein the Democratic caucus in both houses is so miniscule, it has been relegated to an ineffectual joke. Republican legislators, along with a GOP governor and Cabinet, can run roughshod over the state, force-feeding it their agenda if they so choose (and they have so chosen). You’d never know from this that Florida is a majority Democratic state, would you?
The legislature is sitting on a multi-million-dollar slush fund to fight legal battles that seek to pick Fair Districts apart in the courts, out of sight, where the average Floridian doesn’t care or have time to involve himself.
So start paying attention, for crying out loud. They’re stealing your state out from under your nose.