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Trail Mix - 06.28.12 

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Fresh, New Lines

The 2012 election will be the first to frame the vote according to the 2010 U.S. Census numbers. The 2011 Washington State Redistricting Commission has created the maps that will serve for the next decade, so what’s new? Over the next few editions of Trail Mix, we’ll take a closer look, starting this week with the 4th District.

It’s hard to find a district less changed than the 4th anywhere in Washington. It has run from Havana to the state line for years, and that’s not changing for 2012. Liberty Lake, Millwood and the urban and suburban parts of Spokane Valley continue to define the 4th. What is new is a little less real estate north of Mount Spokane; the 4th used to run all the way to the Pend Oreille County line, but now it ends more around the Elk/Chattaroy Rd. Not many people live out that way, but the 4th may get just a tiny bit more suburban.

Currently Matt Shea and Larry Crouse serve as representatives of the 4th, while Mike Padden is the senator. All are Republican, as this district has traditionally leaned. Both Padden and Crouse are running unopposed in November; Shea, meanwhile, has an opponent, Democrat Amy Biviano.

To check out the new maps for yourself, go to redistricting.wa.gov. And watch this space next week when Trail Mix looks at changes to the 3rd District.

Mandate Mix-Up

By the time you read this, the Supreme Court will have rendered its verdict on what has come to be called “Obamacare.” (I suppose you could call it “doing-something-so-health-care-doesn’t-bankrupt-America,” but that just doesn’t fire up the base.)

Amid all the victory laps and morose press conferences (depending on which side you’re watching), it’s worth keeping in mind that the individual mandate was, once upon a time, a Republican idea that even Barack Obama didn’t much like. It’s been a well-documented, GOP-wide flip-flop, succinctly outlined in a recent New Yorker article by Ezra Klein, “Unpopular Mandate.”

OK, so let’s play “Who said it?” In 2009, he said of the Wyden-Bennett Plan (with the individual mandate as its key element) “that a number of Republicans think [it] is a very good health-care plan — one that we support.” He is the same guy who used the individual mandate to solve his own state’s health care problems when he was governor of Massachusetts… and who said, this year, that the individual mandate is an “unconstitutional power grab from the states.” Yes, Mitt Romney was for it before he was against it.

“What is notable about the conservative response to the individual mandate,” wrote Klein in the article, “is … the implication that the Republicans spent two decades pushing legislation that was in clear violation of the nation’s founding document.”

— Ted S. McGregor Jr., @InlanderTMX

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