Former California GOP Chair Shawn Steele is over on the Flash Report threatening the Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw more Republican districts or, he says, conservatives will gather signatures to force a referendum on the commission’s maps.
Never mind that his accusations of partisan bias have been utterly refuted by fellow Republicans. As my favorite foil Tony Quinn put it, “The maps are balanced in partisan terms; both parties have reason to be pleased and displeased. There is no partisan advantage in these first maps.”
Steele is not mad that the Commission drew an anti-Republican map. They didn’t. Steele is angry that the Commission didn’t draw a pro-Republican map. They didn’t do that either. I know this is a disappointment to him but certainly no grounds for outrage.
The funniest part is his threat. If Republicans really want to become a super-minority in California the first thing they should do is referendum a redistricting plan approved by the first Independent Redistricting Commission in California’s history.
Not only will they waste millions of dollars that they will need to defend their members in newly competitive districts and against top-two primary challenges. Not only will they be arguing to voters that the lines should be drawn by activist judges instead of regular citizens. Not only will they be ridiculed by every editorial board in the state. Not only will they drive every independent into the waiting arms of the Democratic Party. But they will also get their hats handed to them when voters go to the ballots.
The threat is not a serious one. It is a lobbying tool to try to get the Commission to change the final maps to the GOP’s favor. Hopefully the Commissioners will see right through the ploy.
Steven Maviglio is a Sacramento-based public affairs and political consultant. He is the former Deputy Chief of Staff to Speakers Karen Bass and Fabian Nunez. This article originally appeared in the California Majority Report.