Saturday, January 18, 2014


Whenever there is a scandal, a preventable disaster, or a gross violation of our Constitutional rights, I find the comments on blog sites and on Facebook using a strange argument.  They blame the voters for electing inept or immoral candidates to state or national office.  This is usually followed by the tag line “they deserve the people they elect.”  I find it strange that few of these commentators on the dreary events presented on the news blame something more fundamental.  The most potent way to get ideologues represented, making a minority into a majority, is by gerrymandering electoral districts.  Both Democrats and Republicans do this every ten years when a new census requires new boundaries for election districts.  Usually it is the party in power that makes that redistricting.  This gives that party the potential to influence political outcomes from legislation, budgets, ideologically-driven legislation, and many life time appointments of judges.  This is how it is done.  For Republicans to have a majority of seats in a state legislation, the Democrats are packed into a few districts that are redrawn to exclude most Republicans.  The districts that are usually Republican are left alone.  The swing districts are redrawn to favor Republican majorities by getting the outlying democratic neighborhoods drawn into one of the few Democratic strongholds.  In many of the States the popular vote can be a majority Democratic but the districts (for state house or senate) will by gerrymandered so the Republicans have a majority of seats.  I have seen virtually no pundits discuss this problem or ways to make redistricting fair to both parties.  There are lots of possible ways around this.  Here are a few—make the districts “virtual” rather than geographic and use date of birth as one’s district or one’s name in an alphabetical listing  from  A** to Z**.  Use a computer to generate random boundaries for a district so each district has the same number of voters with the computer programmed to not recognizing Party affiliation of the voters. There are probably many other ways to make it fair. One would be to have each party submit a gerrymandered design and the non overlapping regions would be randomly assigned, half to Republicans and half to Democrats.  We spend too much time tearing down each other’s ideologies and not focusing on methods that would make the districts more fairly representative of the people in the state.  

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