This weekend The Denver Post’s well-regarded editor Vincent Carroll wrote about how Republican House candidates received 55 percent of the statewide vote in the recent election, yet will only control 48 percent of the chamber starting in January.
Another way to look at the numbers, as first covered by the Peak, GOP candidates for the statehouse garnered 189,000 more votes overall than Democrat candidates. Even if you take out all the unopposed races on both sides and look at the numbers, House Republicans still have a 24,000-vote advantage.
So how the heck are Republicans still in the minority in the House?
The reason, dear reader, is that Democrats drew a map so grossly gerrymandered it ensured that despite winning a majority of the votes, Republicans would not hold a majority in the House.
Carroll uses his column to point out there is another way to redraw our state’s legislative districts during the reapportionment process:
Reapportionment will never please everyone, of course, but it doesn’t have to be nakedly partisan. The Denver Post has editorially advocated that the state adopt the Iowa model, in which nonpartisan state staffers — say, from the legislature’s legal services group — draw up the template from which the commission’s work begins, rather than have the parties submit competing maps that guarantee lengthy bickering and power plays.
Given that the Colorado’s redistricting and reapportionment maps have become predictable partisan flashpoints that can only be resolved through the courts, we tend to agree that the Iowa model wouldn’t be such a bad alternative.
But until there is enough political will on both sides of the aisle, we don’t expect much to change. The only thing we can count on is that just as the midnight gerrymander of 2003 was a rallying cry for the Democrats eleven years ago, now the Colorado gerrymander of 2011 will become a rallying cry for disenfranchised Republicans.