A Conversation for Election and Voting Methods in the United States
Steve K. Started conversation Feb 18, 2004
Here in Texas last year, the taxpayers paid millions for not one, but three special sessions of the state legislature so the Republican majority could force through a "redistricting" plan (a euphemism for gerrymandering). This in spite of the fact that a redistricting plan had been approved only a couple of years earlier (per the normal practice of every ten years after a census) by a judicial panel. And in spite of the fact that the state has serious financial problems in the areas of health, education, etc., none of which were addressed in the normal or special sessions of the legislature.
All this was at the insistence of U.S. Representative Tom Delay, whose goal was to dramatically increase the proportion of Republicans in the Texas delegation to the House of Representatives. And a man you might think has no business meddling in state government.
You might also think it makes no difference, everybody still gets a vote. But the "redistricting" map is bizarre, grouping widely disparate areas in an attempt to create Republican majorities in as many districts as possible. Consider the extreme in a state that is roughly half Democrat, half Republican - a massively convoluted line drawn around every Democrat in the state - for one District. The other several dozen districts are 100% Republican. And yes, voting records allow identifying Democratic areas down to the street level.
"Manipulation" is a huge understatement. "Let 'em eat cake" is more like it.
J Posted Feb 18, 2004
Is this the redistricting that resulted in the Democrats running for Oklahoma so the vote couldn't be held? The late night shows had a good time with that...
Gerrymandering is a way to manipulate voting - certainly
Steve K. Posted Feb 19, 2004
Yup, the very same. Later, the Dems scurried off to New Mexico, maybe the second or third special session. The Republicans even tried to use the Homeland Security Dept. to track them down, as I recall, presumably describing Democrats as "terrorists", or, worse, "liberals".
In the extremely polarized political environment in the US these days, this is what passes for government. Powerful parties using big corporate money (or, better yet, tax money) to build their empires while pandering to the masses. Guile trumps statesmanship, and independent voters pushing bipartisanship are considered quaint.
A couple of sayings come to mind. "A pox on both their houses" catches the (appropriate, IMHO) cynicism, but probably more appropriate is one from Africa, "When elephants fight, the grass suffers."
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