Southern Politics

Once a party gets to be a political majority, especially after years of suffering, oh! what you try to do to the “other” party.

We refer to the current Republican majority in Georgia. However, if we were in another state, where Democrats had been a minority for years, we could see the same strategy from new Democrats in power. The malady we refer to seems to be a disease of the politician.

(Photo by Rich Lacey / Creative Commons)

In general, it reminds us again that “Power corrupts,” and most explicitly, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

So here are the Republicans after the census seeking to re-draw political lines to their advantage. Since the sitting Republican governor is from Hall County, well, why not do him a favor? Instead of Hall County having three-plus statehouse districts, give Hall County seven seats in the House, with the districts overlapping to adjacent counties. With Governor Nathan Deal from Hall County, he’ll like that, right!

Maybe not. For, no, the governor did not like it, and is asking the Georgia House to stop granting Hall County “favors.” As the governor put it, “Well, it’s obviously a concern for me because a county that’s gone from having three major representatives and a fractional part of a fourth representative is now going to be split into seven different configurations,” Deal said. “That is a concern for me, and I wish it had been addressed earlier in the process.”

In other words, please, lawmakers, don’t do me such favors. We commend Governor Deal on his move. While the Legislature drawing up the map makes gerrymandering so obvious, at least the governor brings more common sense to the table.

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On another redistricting move, those drawing the map perhaps also had Governor Deal in mind when they drew Congressional districts. Remember, for years Governor Deal was Congressman Deal, representing northeast Georgia in the U.S. Congress.

So in remaking the Congressional lines, and with Georgia getting another Congressman, the Legislature is making sure that the area with the new seat in Congress, lo and behold, is the district in which the former governor has his home. And surprise, surprise, the newly-drawn district does not have an incumbent Congressman within its borders.

While it may just be happenstance, but by all measures, it looks like Governor Deal can “suggest” to someone that he or she run for this seat. Blessed by the governor, no doubt that person can easily gain victory. In effect, it allows the governor to anoint the next Congressman from Northeast Georgia.

(The current Ninth District representative of Hall County in Congress lives in what is to be the new 14th District in northwest Georgia.)

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Meanwhile, the overall effort at redistricting after the 2010 census has sailed along relatively smoothly. Though a few political wrangles have taken place, we’ll give the controlling Republicans credit for this: they came prepared after lots of quiet backroom maneuvering, advanced their plan, and have pretty well sailed along smoothly.

Their only obstacle: not only do the re-districting plans have to pass the governor’s office, these same plans must pass muster of the Department of Justice. You can bet disgruntled Democrats, and perhaps even a few perplexed Republicans, will raise a ruckus to Justice for relief. In other words, it’s not over. The fat lady hasn’t sung yet.

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Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack is a native Georgian and veteran newspaperman. He published the weekly Wayne County Press for 12 years; was for 13 years the vice president and general manager of Gwinnett Daily News, and for 13 years was associate publisher of the Gwinnett section of The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. He now publishes, in retirement, Web sites on Gwinnett County, http://www.gwinnettforum.com, and Georgia news, http://www.georgiaclips.com.