Democracy

Gerrymandering and Self-Neutering


Gerrymandering

Here are results from the 2020 U.S. House of Representatives elections* in some “swing states.” Have a look.

Texas

Republicans won 53.43% of the popular vote, but have 63.9% of the House seats.

Wisconsin
Republicans won 51.43% of the popular vote, but have 62.5% of the House seats.
North Carolina

Republicans won 49.4% of the popular vote (they lost the popular vote!), but have 61.5% of the House seats.

Missouri

Republicans won 57.98% of the popular vote, but have 75% of the House seats.

Oklahoma

Saving the best for last:

Republicans won 67.31% of the popular vote, but have 100% of the House seats!

This is what gerrymandering does to elections and to the will of We The People. It is what causes constant obstructionism in Congress. In the states, it is what produces the most draconian, evil, voting suppression laws, the “we promise to steal the next election” laws, the Texas “we love vigilantes” law and Mississippi’s attack on Roe v. Wade.

If this looks okay to you, there’s no need to do anything. But if this looks to you like a corrupt assault on democracy and an undermining of the will of We The People and like your vote is being tossed into a dumpster fire, contact the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (former A.G. Eric Holder’s shop) and tell them you want to help to repair this hideous abuse of our democracy.

Self-Neutering

Democrats are wimpy. Their words are too nice and they speak with the confusion of different messages, all with way too many words to remember and all at once. They get steam-rolled every day by strong, anger-inducing and unified messages from Republicans, who have the benefit of not being constrained by truth or reality.

Democrats are talking about the cost of the BBB bill, which at best causes eyes to glaze over and at worst scares the hell out of voters. Instead, they should consistently be talking about the benefits of their program, the stuff that voters will feel and love, the stuff that polls at around 80%. Instead, their time is used to bicker among themselves. I don’t know what they are seeing, but I’m seeing a party in disarray that can’t manage to walk across the street without creating a traffic jam. Do they think they’re convincing voters?

Democrats continue their insanity and while that’s happening the Republicans are picking the pocket of our democracy. The theft is going on in plain sight and most of the Democrats most of the time are squabbling with one another, insisting on their version of perfect, instead of protecting our country from the insurgents. What are we to do with this?

Sheila Markin addressed ways to stop the theft of our democracy in her recent post, but I tell you that I am not encouraged. Here’s a point from that essay.

Congress could pass the new Manchin inspired Voting Rights Act that outlaws PARTISAN gerrymandering but to do so Congress would need to carve out an exception to the filibuster and that looks like a pipe dream right now.

Anybody have time for a pipe dream?

I get that a complete end to the filibuster would make it impossible to stop the barbarian hordes when they are once again in the majority in the senate. Fine. Just do a carve-out for voting legislation. I do not understand the Democrats refusing to do that.

What do you think draconian Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader would do were he faced with a situation like this? Right. And he would get what he wants. What is the point of the Democrats self-neutering? Somebody explain that to all of us.

It seems to me that the only way for us to have free, fair elections and to ensure the continuation of our democracy is for Democrats to find the courage to modify the filibuster with a carve-out for voting rights legislation. Then pass both pieces that are ready to go and DO THAT RIGHT NOW.

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* Charts are from Wikipedia

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The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA


Copyright 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

So Many Crises, So Little Time


Fiddle (or golf) while America burns?

The vast majority of Americans are sick and tired of being sick and tired.¹ ² We’re sick of the things about which we disapprove and we’re tired of them being tolerated. We’re sick of disrespect everywhere we look and tired of fighting it. We’re sick of self-righteousness and tired of its mob. We’re sick of assaults on what we hold dear and tired of those attacks being countenanced. We’re sick of selfishness and tired of hoping for something better. We’re sick of helplessness and tired of despair. We’re sick of attacks on our democracy and tired of finding yet more vicious attacks on it.

And all of this is happening as we are besieged by impatient crises that simply cannot wait.

The pandemic

The horrendous wealth gap and the misery of our poor and middle class people

Attacks on civil rights and voting rights

The obvious and looming climate crisis

Our decrepit infrastructure and lack of preparedness for the future

Our incendiary immigration dysfunction

The idiotic, dishonest Republican brinkmanship over the debt ceiling. See the graphic to the right, courtesy of JN.

The crises pile atop one another and we get only partisan warfare instead of serious action – and we tolerate that. In short, we’ve stopped believing in ourselves. This is how democracies die.

The drumbeat of the daily report of Covid infections and deaths has faded into elevator music that we no longer hear. After all, “just” 1,625 people are dying of it every day and it isn’t you or someone you knew, unless you know more than 500 people. Its easy not to feel it.

The mobs that swarm our state capitols and the thugs who make death threats against public officials and volunteers at polling places are remote and impersonal for over 99% of us, so it’s easy to fail to react. Besides, all of that has become background noise because of a perverse familiarity.

Congress has been set in rigor mortis for decades, with intransigence the norm, as the system is gamed. We’re desperate for leadership that is worthy of our trust. Disappointingly, our politicians have proven to be mere humans after all, focused on self-interest first, last and always.

Nero Destruction Award – NOT a Trump non-disclosure agreement

Absurdly, our search for better brought us Donald Trump, the most totally self-interested of all. Indeed, the fires burning our democracy had been smoldering for decades, yet Trump golfed and, to complete the metaphor, continues to throw gasoline on those fires. He was and is worthy of a Nero Destruction Award.

We have millions who believe that cheating is not only acceptable, but that it is good, that the end justifies the dishonest means. They believe that “Don’t tread on me” and that “.  .  .  the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants”³ are calls to arms against fellow citizens, and all the while they believe they are the true patriots. There is nothing so destructive as a holy war and that’s what they think they’re waging.

All of that angers and either energizes or deflates us. But wallowing in our being sick and tired of being sick and tired simply isn’t an acceptable option. We either do what needs to be done or both we and this democracy will be interred in permanent despair.

We Have a Democracy To Save

That is, by far, our most urgent need, the crisis that overwhelms them all. And it can’t wait another moment, because if we fail to stand and be counted in this challenge, the other crises will soon look quite small.

We distract ourselves with our sports. They’re our modern gladiatorial contests. We exhaust our powers of attention on the trivialities of Facebook and designer eyebrows and Britney Spears and pointless Zoom calls and deleting emails and washboard abs and more. But those all-too-abundant dilutions of our focus are what allow for the destruction of our democracy.

Thomas Paine

So many crises, so little time, yet be clear that we have to focus on the overriding issue, the most important and most urgent: saving our democracy. Both history and the future of our children require that we set aside our distractions and rise to this occasion.

We start by ensuring voting rights for all, fairly accepted and impartially implemented as the will of We the People. That’s why those two voting rights acts need to be passed into law immediately.

“`These are the times that try men’s [and women’s] souls.” Again.

Resources – a Wake Up Call

I’m no Democrat — but I’m voting exclusively for Democrats to save our democracy, by Max Boot

We are Republicans With a Plea: Elect Democrats in 2022, by Christine Todd Whitman and Miles Taylor

This Is Why We Need to Spend $4 Trillion, by David Brooks

Our Constitutional Crisis Is Already Here. by Robert Kagan

Anything by Anne Applebaum

How Democracies Die, by Sam Levitsky and Daniel Zieblatt

How Fascism Works, by Jason Stanley

On Tyranny, by Timothy Snyder

How the South Won the Civil War, by Heather Cox Richardson (on recommendation – in my reading queue now)

How Far Down the Road Towards Fascism Has America Gone?, by Thom Hartmann

I Know This Is Crazy, But Maybe We Should Live Under Majority Rule, by Jamelle Bouie

September 27 Twitter thread by Mark Jacob

IMPORTANT: Book links to Amazon are for informational purposes only. Please see Note #4 below.

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¹ From the Merriam-Webster dictionary: thoroughly fatigued or bored; also: fed up

² As quoted from Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton, OH and candidate for governor.

³ Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William Stephens Smith, son-in-law of John Adams, 1787.

————————————
The days are dwindling for us to take action. Get up! Do something to make things better.

Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe – use the simple form above on the right. And pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!)

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.

Thanks!

The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.

JA

 


Copyright 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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