A tripartisan group of political All-Stars this morning again pushed an idea that has little chance of going anywhere.
The All Stars — former Vice President Walter Mondale, former Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe (DFL), former Congressman Tim Penny (Independent) and former House Speaker Steve Sviggum (Republican) — all want the Legislature to turn over the job of redistricting to an independent commission.
The former elected officials say that the current system, in which legislators attempt to draw the districting maps, represents an inherent conflict of interest. Beyond that, the time-consuming effort typically fails fairness tests, and the redistricting process ends up being done by the courts.
This idea, which always is praised by good-government types, has been floated before. And it has run into a brick wall: the Legislature. In the past, there has been only mild interest shown by legislative leaders to give up this piece of power. A bill that would have created the nonpartisan commission did pass the DFL-controlled Senate last year but not the House.
Neither Republican nor DFL leaders are embracing the idea with much enthusiasm this year.
Republicans, who will control the redistricting process this year, claim that, given more demographic data than ever before, they will be able to draw fair maps.
We’ve heard that before.