Fair districts? Parties unite in opposition

Like cats and dogs, Florida politicians from opposing parties rarely play nicely.

They scratch, claw and hiss at each other, simply because it's in their DNA.

That's why it's strange to see so many ideological opponents embracing each other nowadays. We have uber-liberal Corrine Brown making a point — and hard-core Republicans nodding their heads in agreement.

And what issue, pray tell, could be significant enough to make sworn enemies unite?

Protecting their own rear ends; that's what.

And cheating you out of fair elections.

The issue is fair districts.

Later this year, Florida residents are slated to vote on whether they want to end gerrymandering in this state.

Politicians hate the idea. They like drawing districts around their own homes and stocking them with enough like-minded voters to keep them and their friends in office.

The last thing these guys want is a level playing field.

That's why Brown is screaming bloody murder — and why die-hard Republicans like Dean Cannon and Mike Haridopolos are nodding empathetically, talking about maybe even going to court to stop you, the voters, from having a say.

It's happened before. The last time this was proposed, legislative leaders were willing to spend $50,000 on court costs.

The amendment itself is pretty simple. It essentially says that lawmakers have to draw legislative and congressional districts that make sense. Districts would have to be "compact," "as equal in population as feasible" and, most important, "may not be drawn to favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party."

No more splitting a neighborhood in two, just to keep an incumbent in office. No more having your "hometown" Congressman live three hours away.

Theoretically, serpentine districts like Brown's — which starts in Jacksonville and slithers all the way down to Orlando — would become a thing of the past.

But Brown is not alone.

In fact, one of the biggest con jobs in Florida politics is that Republicans have convinced many Floridians — and much of the lazy media — that Brown is the prime beneficiary of this gerrymandering.

She is not.

Republicans were thrilled to dump tons of Democrats into Brown's district because it left more GOP voters for them.

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