**Better for BJ?** Is Ohio Less Democratic Than Russia?

Last week The Columbus Dispatch reported on what has been a recurring theme all year: Ohio conservatives are evil extremists!
Richard Gunther today called the new congressional map signed into law last week by Gov. John Kasich “stunning” for its representational unfairness, saying it is twice as unfair as the next-worst democratic systems in the world.

“This is a very, very bad map,” said Gunther, a scholar of world democracies. “This is extremely unfair to the citizens of Ohio.”

Emphasis mine. Humorous background: in 2009 Secretary of State Husted, then a member of the state senate, proposed a plan to replace Ohio's partisan redistricting process... and Democrats killed it.

The Dispatch story doesn't provide this context, nor does it mention that world democracies scholar Richard Gunther is a registered Democrat who has given $950 to Democrat candidates and causes since 2005.

Based on Gunther's unbiased calculations, the elected Republicans who drew districts according to the standards of the Ohio Constitution are turning us into Russia!
Even the Duma, the lower house of parliament in Russia - a questionable democracy - earns a score of 7 against Ohio's 24 on the scale. [Higher numbers are worse]

Gunther said any fair congressional district map should include three principles: competitiveness, compactness and keeping intact communities of interest.

"This map brutally violates all three of those principles," Gunther said.

Gunther is clearly exercised that Republicans haven't drawn a map beneficial to Democrats. Let's hear a competing opinion:
Referring to Ohio’s new congressional districts, Tokaji said, “This is the worst example of elected officials serving their own craven partisan interests of anywhere in the country.”

The Dispatch fails to note that election law professor Daniel Tokaji is a registered Democrat who has contributed $350 to Democrats since 2005. Leftist college faculty hate it when Republicans win elections? Stop the presses! Here's a snapshot of the new map:



No, wait - that's Chicago, the most democratic place on earth! Compare this to Ohio's new map and see which looks more Russian (consider also Maryland districts 2, 3, and 4).

Like much of the Midwest, Ohio's electoral landscape is dotted with several big, blue cities surrounded by red-voting yokels. Whether you want the Democrat voters split into as few or as many districts as possible depends on whether you're hawking unicorn rides.

What do Gunther and Tokaji recommend? A citizens' commission for drawing legislative districts, like the one recently gamed by Democrats in California:
The citizens’ commission had pledged to create districts based on testimony from the communities themselves, not from parties or statewide political players. To get around that, Democrats surreptitiously enlisted local voters, elected officials, labor unions and community groups to testify in support of configurations that coincided with the party’s interests.

Neither party likes to lose, and both complain as loudly as practicable when at a disadvantage. Crying about cheating is a glass house proposition for the average Democrat, but look for the Ohio Democratic Party to add this to their 2012 violin concerto just the same!

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jasonahart

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