PROPOSITION 77….Like many liberal Californians, I’ve been debating how to vote next month on Proposition 77, an initiative that would take redistricting out of the hands of politicians and turn it over to a panel of retired judges. The argument in favor is that somebody has to do it first, so why not set a good example and hope that other states follow? The argument against asks why we should be the wide-eyed naifs who cheerfully set up a neutral system in a big blue state while Tom DeLay and his pals are busily gerrymandering big red states?

All of this dithering, however, turns on the notion that Prop 77 truly sets up a neutral system. If it doesn’t, then it’s a definite No vote.

Today, Brad Plumer, who has actually read the initiative, persuasively argues that Prop 77 is a Trojan horse deliberately designed to favor Republicans. I might be willing to do the right thing and vote for genuine redistricting reform, but I’m sure not going to do it in the service of a stealth effort to permanently gerrymander California in favor of the GOP. If anyone has a convincing argument that Brad is wrong, leave it in comments. Otherwise it’s No on 77.

POSTSCRIPT: Brad may have the analysis right, but these guys make the argument against 77 much more colorfully than he does:

If you think Governor Schwarzenegger wants to redistrict California out of a nonpartisan sense of good public policy then stand right here while someone goes to buy your dope for you. While you?re waiting for the man to come back with your grass, think about this simple arithmetic problem….

It’s worth noting that the pro-reform League of Women Voters is also opposed to 77.

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