Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gerrymandering - Geological Deceit? - 4

In this series, which began about this date in 2009, Dredd Blog started a discussion about a subject related to a constitutional command.

The U.S. Constitution commands that every ten years a census is to be taken in the United States.

Once that is done, then House of Representatives congressional districts are redrawn by state legislatures -- in theory they are redrawn only when and where needed.

No problem, that makes sense.

The problem arises when redistricting becomes gerrymandering, a form of bullying by the more powerful political party that year in the state being redrawn.

Gerrymandering is by definition wrong, because it is a form of one party taking advantage of the other simply to benefit one party, forgetting about the voters:
ger·ry·man·der [jer-i-man-der, ger-]

1. U.S. politics. the dividing of a state, county, etc., into election districts so as to give one political party a majority in many districts while concentrating the voting strength of the other party into as few districts as possible.

verb (used with object)
2. U.S. Politics. to subject (a state, county, etc.) to a gerrymander.

Origin: 1812, Americanism; after E. Gerry (governor of Massachusetts, whose party redistricted the state in 1812) + ( sala ) mander, from the fancied resemblance of the map of Essex County, Mass., to this animal, after the redistricting
(Dictionary). Since by definition gerrymandering is wrong, I was surprised at a blogger who took exception to Dredd Blog's view:
Why 'gerrymandering' doesn't polarise Congress the way we're told

Biased redistricting is commonly held up as the culprit for America's increasingly partisan politics. If only it were that simple
Fair redistricting just doesn't have the impact you might think.
(Gerrymandering, Guardian). The Guardian writer's argument seems to be that there has to be some reason to be fair, and if gerrymandering does not cause "polarization" then it is ok to be unfair.

The play in that Guardian article might have been to divert from the real issue into a straw man debate about polarization, rather than a debate about deliberate cheating.

The issue is that democrats got more popular votes for house seats than republicans did, yet the republicans through massive gerrymandering ended up with the most seats, and as a consequence they got the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The issue ends up being that the will of the voters is thwarted when unfair cheating in the form of gerrymandering takes place.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Black Merda ("They are considered to be the first all black rock band"):

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