Tragic: Lizz Winstead blames Wendy Davis losing on redistricting

It seems likely that the Democratic candidates who centered their campaigns on the tenuous narratives which make up the intellectually defunct “War on Women” are about to be rejected by their voters.

Colorado Sen. Mark Udall will be lucky if he is able to win reelection on Tuesday, despite campaigning so heavily on the dubious premises associated with the vaunted “war” supposedly being waged by the GOP on women’s reproductive choices that he was dubbed “Mark Uterus” by some Centennial State observers.

As Ed Morrissey noted, Democratic constituents like young voters and single women have not been energized by the tired repetition of the words “birth control” in lieu of a governing agenda.

But the most stinging rebuke for those who truly believe that abortion is the most pressing issue facing the electorate in 2014 will come from Texas where an ill-prepared backbencher was awarded the Democratic gubernatorial nomination after standing for an inordinate amount of time in fashionably pink sneakers.

Davis will lose the race for Texas governor on Tuesday, and this condition is sending some on the left into ill-advised fits of denial. The latest to succumb to the urge to blame-shift Davis’s failure away from the horrible, amateurish campaign she ran and onto the voters who will reject her tomorrow comes from The Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead.

When pressed on why Davis was going to lose and lose badly, Winstead – who has thoughtfully abandoned humor and now fancies herself a “reproductive rights advocate” – groped unconvincingly for an excuse. “I think, part of it is redistricting is redistricting,” she added. “And Texas, I think, can turn blue. I mean, let’s not forget that 20 years ago Texas had a female governor, who was an admitted alcoholic and a divorcee who was a progressive.”

There is a universe of ignorance reflected in these statements.

First, you cannot redistrict a state. Full stop. Reapportionment refers to the decennial process by which state governments redraw their congressional and legislative districts in order to accurately reflect population movements, demographic shifts, etc. One cannot “redistrict” a state unless one was to “redirect” away the rivers and mountains which form its borders. That, or states can engage negotiations or even low intensity conflict with their neighbors (as did Michigan and Ohio when they fought, ill-advisedly, over which state would control the city of Toledo) in order to reshape their borders. Winstead is using the term “redistricting” in his case as a synonym for “things I don’t like,” which is not its preferred usage.

Secondly, Winstead’s message of hope for Democrats, which focuses on how relatively recently Gov. Ann Richards served as the chief executive of the state of Texas, also reflects a poor understanding of American history.

Richards served as Texas governor for one term and was defeated in her quest for reelection by one George W. Bush. Richards was the beneficiary of favorable state-level conditions when she was elected in 1990 after the incumbent Republican governor, embroiled in a scandal, chose not to run. But Richards also ran at a time when the formerly Solid South was still evolving from reflexively Democratic to reliably Republican. In fact, despite failing to win a majority of the popular vote, Democrats managed to retain control of the state legislature that year. The culprit behind this odd outcome? You’ve guessed it: redistricting.

In fact, using Winstead’s own logic, it was not that long ago Democrats celebrated the fact that Texas had been gerrymandered to a point that it was no longer a battleground state. The New York Times crowed about the Democratic Party’s “hegemony” in Texas at the time. The Lone Star State seemed likely to gain at least three seats in Congress after national reapportionment followed the 1990 census, and the party of Johnson and Carter was more than happy to be able to control that process. “A key to the Democrats’ seemingly impregnable control of the House of Representatives has been their control of state governments, which have the constitutional task of drawing the nation’s political map every 10 years,” the Times observed back when redistricting was not the focus of evil in the modern world.

Either Winstead is not familiar with her history, or she is lying to MSNBC’s audience. In either case, booking her to appear on television is an unconscionable abuse of the public trust. A network which fancies itself “The Place for Politics” should probably make a bit of an effort to land guests who know just a bit about that subject.