No, Dr. Schlomach, that word does not mean what you think it does.

21 Dec 2011 06:07 pm
Posted by: Donna

Byron Schlomach

So the Arizona redistricting maps are (tentatively) approved and Politico picked up the story:

Colleen Mathis finally got her revenge.

Two months ago, Arizona Republicans – led by Gov. Jan Brewer – impeached Mathis in protest of a Democratic-friendly remap the independent redistricting commission she presides over proposed.

On Tuesday evening, after the Arizona Supreme Court reinstated Mathis to the commission, the independent panel turned around and approved a similar map that puts Republicans in a bind.

A couple of my Dem friends, understandably, didn’t care for the spin of the piece. My dear friend and Tempe activist extraordinaire Lauren Kuby made this astute observation in the comments section:

Your article is biased. The approved plan also positions the Republicans “to compete for a majority of the state’s nine CDs.” Because they have 4 safe seats, they are more likely to make it to 5 seats, having to win only 1 of the 3 competitive districts.

This prompted the esteemed Dr. Byron Schlomach of the *cough* nonpartisan Goldwater Institute (motto: We Regurgitate Several Craptacular “Studies” Per Year About How Awesome Tax Cuts Are Which Pays Our Bloated Salaries While We Spend The Rest Of The Time Surfing The Web) to respond to Lauren with this breathtakingly risible statement:


What???? Okay, I realize that human language is a highly iterative medium and words do take on different meanings over time. But there are some words that have such specific definitions and such historical significance that you don’t get to go changing them willy-nilly because you want to use them to describe things that mean the exact opposite thing.

Gerrymander: Verb: Manipulate the boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favor one party or class.

You can have gerrymandered districts OR you can have competitive districts. You cannot have both. It is so internally inconsistent to say that competitive districts are gerrymandered districts that Texas A&M should demand his undergrad degree back. And a Congressional map with 4 safe Republican districts and 2 safe Democratic districts, gerrymandered or not, favors Republicans not Democrats.



  1. Comment by Arizona Eagletarian on December 21, 2011 6:22 pm

    He had the audacity to call me a liar. What a maroon.

  2. Comment by eric on December 21, 2011 6:51 pm

    G.I. Could possibly be the greatest threat to AZ.

  3. Comment by BruceJ on December 21, 2011 8:07 pm

    “When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

    H. Dumpty

    “What a maroon”

    B. Bunny

  4. Comment by Eli Blake on December 21, 2011 8:39 pm

    It is true that the congressional map looks OK for Democrats, but only one of the competitive districts, CD-1, really has a Democratic edge. And this is not because of a gerrymander, it’s because the Hopi agreed to being put into a district with the Navajo (for the first time ever) which then caused Yavapai (the southwestern extremity of the district) to be removed– so yes, Republicans were replaced with Democrats but for a perfectly logical and consistent reason. CD-2 only clearly favors Democrats if Giffords runs, because especially this year a lot of people are pulling for her, regardless of party. CD-9 is highly competitive and if Republicans assume they will lose then it means they don’t believe they can win a district where they have to win votes from Indepenents and Democrats, which may be more of a sign that their agenda has serious problems than a problem with redistricting.

  5. Comment by Eli Blake on December 21, 2011 8:41 pm

    Though with the G.I. now being joined by the Rove/national GOP-backed Center for Arizona Progress, it IS a relevant question, how come we STILL haven’t gotten a competing think tank off the ground?

    These groups put their crap out there, the media picks it up, and from our side…. silence.

  6. Comment by Timmys Cat on December 22, 2011 9:58 am

    puts Republicans in a bind.

    Apparently that is the meaning of competitive for Schlomach.

    Republicans sure get in a hissy when they may actually have to compete on their own records. Seems to me that the GOP is afraid of their past deeds (or non-deeds) catching up with them with voters who aren’t blindly Republican. Is that what you are so afraid of Humpty?

  7. Comment by dude on December 22, 2011 7:46 pm

    Well obviously the man is right– just look at the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, there’s only one packed Democratic district but all five members of the board are Bernie Sanders Vermont Socialists.

  8. Comment by Kerri Jones on December 27, 2011 6:24 pm

    Interesting that Sclomach would argue “disadvantage” when clearly the only disadvantage is the need to actually earn votes – as Eli pointed out. The ignorance of the GOP is astounding.

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