Friday, August 26, 2011

Redistricting - what's best for the gays?

California has just undergone a major redistricting effort, by far the most public process in recent memory.
And LGBT groups chimed in on how the lines should be drawn.

I have read a few of the many articles on the topic, and it got me to thinking - how should we want the lines drawn?

The consensus seems to be that we should try to keep the gayborhoods together, keep them from being split up into multiple districts. I suspect that the idea is to maximize our political power. The only other reason I could think of was if the gayborhood itself would split up if there was a voting district line drawn down the middle. But, I don't think that the Castro would lose it's sense of identity if it were divided into two State Assembly districts...
So let's go with maximizing political power.

And here's the conclusion I came to: split us up!
The idea of concentrating political power by maximizing the concentration of a group within a single district is predicated on a couple assumptions, among these are:
a) the group has a large enough presence to dominate a given district, and
b) a high degree of segregation allows one to draw geographic boundaries that largely coincide with where the group lives.
There's probably more to it than that, but I would argue that neither or those is true of LGBT populations, in which case, a fresh look at the strategy may be in order.
There just aren't enough gay people, pretty much anywhere, to dominate the population. Outside of a few square blocks of real estate in central San Francisco and West Hollywood, we simply aren't anywhere near a majority of the population.
And, we're not highly segregated, assuming that same-sex couples in the Census are a good representation. Particularly lesbians, who are very evenly distributed across the country.

So perhaps we should consider another approach to maximizing political power: splitting the gayborhoods into as many districts as possible in order to maximize the number of political candidates who need to consider our needs. That, and do exactly what we have had to do to get anything done politically, build allies.

Have I convinced you?

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