Thursday, August 11, 2016

Gerrymandering

A post over to "Who Hijacked Our Country" about the recent court decisions regarding the new voter restriction laws got me to thinking about how rigged the whole election process is in this country.  The Democrats and the Republicans have tweaked and twisted the system over the years so that every election tilts in their direction.

While the "two party" system seems to work when both of them actually compromise with each other, the polarization of the last 20 plus years has this country's political process so knotted up, nothing is getting done.  It is entirely too easy for gridlock to happen when only two parties have the reins.  A viable third party would shake both trees and force policy movement that in the end could be considered progress.  Right now though, we are dead in the water and tempers are at an all time high.

But how to change the current political landscape to allow for the rise of other parties?   Hmm.

One thing that could be done is to create a national system that does not allow states and local areas to pass laws or redistrict based on arbitrary and often prejudicial criteria.  There should be a basic set of election rules every state and local area has to adhere to.  Elections are too important to allow locals to set them up as they please.

Included in this national election directive would be the outlawing of gerrymandering, the redesigning of congressional districts to favor one party over another.  The number of Representatives in the House could still be based on population, but they would be elected in state wide elections, not by specific districts.  This would instantly negate gerrymandering.

I know and hear the whining about how the less populous areas of a state would be ill served by Reps being elected in state wide votes.  Cry me a river.  The damage done to the elective process by gerrymandering over the years far outweighs the predicted and as of yet unproven lack of representation to folks in the more rural areas of a state.

Regardless, the design of congressional districts should be taken out of the hands of partisan state legislators.

Later .....................................................

8 comments:

JACKIESUE said...

we're fucked

mohaverat said...

yeah, what Jackiesue said!

Nasreen Iqbal said...

I live in Houston, which is pictured in this post, and that's not actually the strangest looking congressional district.

I am in an area that is the gay area of town, with artsy liberal folks of all kinds, and yet somehow we are in Ted Poe's district. It's insulting. Texas - regardless of how many Latinos Donald trump chases in to the Democratic Party - is likely lost for generations because of how convoluted out voting districts have been twisted.

Nan said...

The less populous areas are already screwed. If you look at district maps for any state you'll see huge sensibly shaped districts for the rural areas and strange, twisted ones wrapping around urban neighborhoods. When you've got more cows or trees than people, you know you're not going to have much sway in politics.

Kulkuri said...

I'd say have all the districts have straight lines for the boundaries. The only non-straight lines allowed would be either rivers or state boundary lines.

MRMacrum said...

JACKIESUE - I chuckle whenever I see your "we're fucked" comments. I often feel that way, but then I still hold out hope some sanity will trickle up and into the brains of the leaders we allow to drive our bus.

mohaverat - Well, it ain't our party anymore, so let go and enjoy the ride you have left.

Nasreen Iqbal - I only picked that one because I was tired of sifting through the outrageous number of images of strngely set up districts.

Texas does seem intent on keeping the state red at all costs. It is one of the states that has abused the gerrymander the most in the last 30 years.

BUT, if I am not mistaken, it was the Democrats who invented the idea in Massachusetts back in the 1800's. Both sides use it to shift power in their direction.

Nan - Yeah , I think you are right. That is one reason I feel that the reps shopuld be elected on a state wide basis and not out of districts constructed by partisan state legislatures.

Kulkiri - Lose the districts altogether is what I would like to see. They can still use population to allot the states their share of reps.

BBC said...

I don't even try to understand it all anymore and go fishing. Fuckitall.

Ol'Buzzard said...

If we could take federal elections out of the hands of the state and federalize them: Standardize voting times, everyone votes with a social security number, and do away with the Electoral College which supports a two party system: one person, one vote; majority wins.
Of course this would have to be proposed and approved by Congress and the Senate - so it ain't gonna happen.
the Ol'Buzzard