Gerrymandering–The Big Bug-A-Boo

The new data from the census is out and the rush by the GOP to redraw voting districts has begun…it is called gerrymandering.

For those that do not understand the term……

Gerrymandering is the act of politicians manipulating the redrawing of legislative district lines in order to help their friends and hurt their enemies. They may seek to help one party win extra seats (a partisan gerrymander), make incumbents of both parties safer (an incumbent-protection gerrymander) or target particular incumbents who have fallen out of favor.

Those engaged in gerrymandering rely heavily on winner-take-all voting rules. That is, when 51% of voters earn 100% of representation, those drawing districts can pack, stack and crack the population in order to make some votes count to their full potential and waste other votes. Gerrymandering has become easier today due to a combination of new technology to precisely draw districts and greater voter partisan rigidity that makes it easier to project the outcome of new districts.

Basically and simply….it is how politicians pick their votes instead of the voter picking their candidates….

The 2020 census has set up a political battle….

… the stage is set for rampant partisan gerrymandering to skew many of those maps in favor of politicians’ preferences over the public’s. 

This undemocratic process has a real impact on the balance of power in Congress and many state legislatures. We saw it at the federal level in the 2010s, when extreme partisan bias in congressional maps gave Republicans a net advantage of some 16 seats in the House. The same has happened on the state level. For example, in 2018 Wisconsin Democrats won the majority of the statewide vote but only 36 of 99 state assembly seats.

Although partisan gerrymandering hurts everyone, often communities of color bear the brunt. Racially polarized voting patterns and residential segregation mean that targeting communities of color can be an effective tool for creating advantages for the party that controls redistricting— whether that party is the Democrats or Republicans.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/08/11/gerrymandering-upcoming-redistricting-battle

Texas (go figure) was the first to slither its policies into law……

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, while much of the country slept, the Republican-dominated Texas House approved a heavily gerrymandered district map that critics have denounced as part of an anti-democratic and racist GOP power grab—one that right-wing lawmakers could try to replicate across the United States.

At around 3:30 am local time, Texas lawmakers passed the GOP’s state House redistricting proposal in a largely party-line vote after roughly 14 hours of debate. The bill, authored by state Rep. Todd Hunter (R-32) and designed to set boundaries for the 150 Texas House districts, now heads to state’s Republican-controlled Senate.

On top of a slew of other right-wing priorities, the Texas legislature is racing to approve state House, state Senate, and congressional district maps before its third special session of the year expires on October 19.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/10/13/dead-night-texas-house-approves-gops-gerrymandered-map

Gerrymandering hurts ALL voters….

  • Fewer competitive U.S. House districts and safe incumbents after redistricting: In 2010, 70 of 435 U.S. House districts had a competitive partisan balance of 47% to 53%. That was small, but after redistricting in 2011, the number of competitive districts declined to only 53. That number dropped again to 47 seats (only 11% of all seats) after the 2012 election due to shifts in voting behavior. Of 31 vulnerable incumbents (those who won by less than 10% in 2010) affected by redistricting (with a new district drawn with partisanship changing by more than 3%), 26 had their district made safer and only five less safe.
  • Partisan distortions in politically drawn plans: In 2011, Republican lawmakers drew new district lines in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. In 2012, Democratic U.S. House candidates won more than Republican candidates in both states, but won only 9 of 31 seats.
  • Partisan distortions in commission drawn plans: In 2011, an independent redistricting commission drew lines in California and a bipartisan commission with a public interest “swing vote” drew lines in New Jersey. In 2013, Republican candidates for the New Jersey assembly won 51% of the vote, but only 32 (40%) of 80 seats. In 2014, Democratic U.S. House candidates won 57% of votes in California’s 53 U.S. House races, but 74% of seats.

Changing this election fixing has only one sure solution….

The only sure way to eliminate gerrymandering – both intentional and unintentional – from American elections is to abandon single-member plurality arrangements and adopt proportional representation. Indeed, the whole purpose of PR is to minimize wasted votes and ensure that the parties are represented in proportion to the votes they receive. This eliminates the possibilities of unfair representation produced by gerrymandering. The key to eliminating partisan gerrymandering is the large multimember districts used in PR systems. As numerous studies have shown, as long as a PR system has at least five seats in every district, it is effectively immune from gerrymandering. These districts largely eliminate the wasted votes that make gerrymandering possible. In such districts, even small political minorities do not waste their votes and are able to elect their fair share of representatives. Thus, under PR arrangements, where voters live or how district lines are drawn makes no difference – fair representation will result.

This political tool will be with us for a very long time for one party has learned just how valuable it is…..

For further info read this…..https://www.fairvote.org/how_proportional_representation_would_finally

More to explain this situation…..https://www.vox.com/22632427/redistricting-gerrymandering-house-republicans

Any ideas how to solve this problem to our elections?

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I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

Coming To A Precinct Near You

By now everyone has an opinion of the assault on our ability to vote….and now a new twist….far Right precinct workers…….

Far-right followers of Steve Bannon are heeding his unusual battle cry—to start working in their local election precincts. And as an investigative piece by ProPublica explains, this seemingly innocuous suggestion has the potential to affect election results around the country. To be clear, Bannon is not urging his followers to run for office—he’s urging them to assume roles in which they will have a say in the logistics of the elections themselves. “Precinct officers are the worker bees of political parties,” explains the story. Often, they deal with mundane stuff such as knocking on doors. “But collectively, they can influence how elections are run,” and this is what Bannon has seized upon. For example, precinct officers might choose poll workers or the people who sit on boards that oversee elections. Essentially, Bannon wants conservatives to seize control of the GOP from the ground up.

The Trump ally began sounding his call immediately after the 2020 election, and he has kept up the drumbeat. “It’s going to be a fight, but this is a fight that must be won, we don’t have an option,” Bannon said in May. “We’re going to take this back village by village … precinct by precinct.” The story makes clear that people are listening:

  • “ProPublica contacted GOP leaders in 65 key counties, and 41 reported an unusual increase in signups since Bannon’s campaign began. At least 8,500 new Republican precinct officers (or equivalent lowest-level officials) joined those county parties. We also looked at equivalent Democratic posts and found no similar surge.”

County party officials all over the US have been deluged with calls, but only from the right. “I’ve never seen anything like this, people are coming out of the woodwork,” says JC Martin, the GOP chair in Polk County, Fla. Since January, his county has added 50 new committee members. (Read the full story.)

Another example of trying to win elections through intimidation.

Voting is your right…do not let this band of thugs influence your vote….do what is right for this country not some mealy mouth douche bag.

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–13Aug21

I have been watching our politics and the whole silly process for decades…..and in that time I have noticed just how prevalent lies and silliness the whole process has become.

Today the silliness has gone from true concern for the nation to a dialogue on issues that do not exist….all in all a waste of time and a policy of obstruction…..leading the way in this stupidity is the GOP…..

How can this be?

Political misinformation — whether “fake news,” conspiracy theories or outright lying — has often been attributed to widespread ignorance, even though there are numerous examples of 20th-century propaganda aimed at those most attentive to politics. Books like Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky’s “Manufacturing Consent” began to challenge that notion, as did the 1991 study of media coverage of the first Gulf War with the memorable bottom line, “the more you watch, the less you know.” In the age of social media, scholarly explanations have shifted to discussions of “motivated reasoning,” which could be defined by Paul Simon’s line from “The Boxer”: “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”

But the ignorance perspective has a deep hold on us because it appeals to the Enlightenment notion that we are motivated to pursue truth. We are “the thinking animal,” right? The important part of that expression may be “animal.” Human beings have an evolutionary history, and deception is commonplace in the animal world because it confers evolutionary advantage. There’s good reason to believe we’re not so different, other than the fact that humans are ultra-social creatures. In ancestral and evolutionary terms, being part of a successful social group was every bit as essential as food and water. So deception among humans evolved from group conflicts. That’s the thesis of a recent paper called “The Evolutionary Psychology of Conflict and the Functions of Falsehood” by the Danish political scientists Michael Bang Petersen and Mathias Osmundsen and American anthropologist John Tooby.

https://www.salon.com/2021/08/08/a-terrifying-new-theory-fake-news-and-conspiracy-theories-as-an-evolutionary-strategy/

For some the “need for chaos” and the desire to watch the country “burn” are driving forces…..

Sadly NOTHING will change before I take a dirt nap…..and the country will be the victim of it’s own stupidity.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

agitator populus scriptor

Closing Thought–30Jul21

Polls are notoriously wrong….take the elections of 2016 and 2020….wrong.

This poll taken shows that those cowards that cower to Trump and basically supported the insurrection of 06 January may have a tough time in the mid-terms….

Even moments after a mob of extremist supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the United States Capitol in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election, a number of Republican lawmakers—during the joint Congressional session acknowledging then-President-elect Joe Biden’s victory—proceeded with objections to electoral votes in swing states Trump lost.

Some Republican lawmakers—like now-former Senator from Georgia, Kelly Loeffler—revoked their intended objections after the rioters shattered windows, ransacked offices, beat police officers, and breached the Senate floor, calling for the execution of any lawmaker they saw as disloyal to Trump.

Others—like Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri—continued with their objections, and have since continued to downplay the severity of the riots and absolve themselves of their culpability.

This is where the Republican party began to splinter in its mostly unconditional allegiance to Trump. Who stood up to the mob? Who proceeded to amplify the same lies that had endangered the lives of their colleagues only an hour before?

Which principles would Republican voters side with in the next election?

That last question remains unanswered, and people are divided in their predictions.

https://secondnexus.com/new-republic-eichenthal-poll-certification

We Americans can only hope that for once a poll may be accurate…..but then it is a poll and they have been useless in the past as a predictor.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

“Snowflake Syndrome”

A cutesy name for political hatred.

The “Syndrome” is the lies spread among the GOP voters these days.

The push for voter suppression, the distrust of vaccines and downplaying the insurrection of 06 January…..

A good look at this ‘sickness’ in an op-ed…..

A recent op-ed piece published by The Washington Post highlights the problem of Snowflake Syndrome among voters who cast ballots for former President Donald Trump. The author, Greg Sargent, notes that the current Republican agenda centers on the following: restricting voting rights, sowing doubt about the COVID-19 vaccine, and downplaying the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The problem is that there is no justification or substantial evidence to support any of their arguments regarding these initiatives. In fact, all are connected to false narratives and misinformation that has been, in some way, influenced by Trump. For example, the nationwide push for voting rights restrictions is supposedly an incentive to increase voters’ confidence in the integrity of the United States’ voting systems. But Sargent pushed back against that argument describing it as “bad-faith nonsense.”

“Broadly speaking,” Sargent wrote, “this “confidence” storyline is bad-faith nonsense: It’s being widely abused to keep alive the myth of the stolen election and to justify an unprecedented wave of efforts to disenfranchise the opposition’s voters. It is not designed to build confidence in our elections, but to further undermine it, for illicit purposes.”

https://www.alternet.org/2021/07/trump-voters/

But how can this be?

Lonely people looking for a sense of belonging….

In his column for the Daily Beast, conservative commentator Matt Lewis made a case that Donald Trump’s rise was the inevitable result of a country that has become filled with lonely people who have lost any connection to their community and just want to feel like they belong.

As the conservative columnist notes that, at the heart of “Trumpism,” is an appeal to those suffering from social isolation which, in turn, makes them susceptible to appeals such as “Make America Great Again” as promised by the former president.

Explaining, “lack of communal ties may be killing us at the micro level, on the macro level this phenomenon has contributed to numerous societal ills, including the rise of Trumpism,” Lewis added that the new book by the Wall Street Journal’s Michael Bender (“Frankly, We Did Win This Election”) makes clear Trump’s early appeal.

https://www.rawstory.com/trump-cult-2653974187/

I have read reports that the hatred is waning….I do not believe these at this time.

Any thoughts?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

“A Huge Victory”

That is how the MSM is selling the ‘bi-partisan’ deal to move forward with the work on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill in the Senate.

Before I give my thoughts on this groundbreaking deal…..

Senators of both parties voted Wednesday night to get started on President Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan. The 67-32 vote puts the Senate on schedule to begin debate on the package this week, the Washington Post reports, a full month after Biden had announced that a deal had been reached. “We are prepared to move forward,” lead GOP negotiator Sen. Rob Portman said Wednesday before the vote, per CNBC, but after a few big issues had been resolved. Democratic negotiator Sen. Kyrsten Sinema also said earlier in the day that most of the bill’s text had been completed. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised that the Senate will pass the bipartisan bill before the August recess, Politico reports.

Wednesday’s test vote does not necessarily mean the Senate will approve the package in the end, per the AP. Passing the deal will require the support of all 50 Democratic senators and at least 10 Republicans. Portman announced the deal alongside four other GOP negotiators, but it’s not clear how many other Republicans will vote for the plan. Sources tell the AP that at a closed-door lunch Tuesday, some GOP senators spoke in favor of the plan while others argued against doing anything that would clear the way for Biden’s wider $3.5 billion “human infrastructure plan,” which would expand social services. Although cost is an issue, many senators have projects they want to add to the infrastructure package. “It’s very popular,” Portman said.

As I stated the MSM is all over this ‘deal’ as some sort of indication that the Trump support is waning….I disagree.

I believe that since infrastructure is wildly popular with the voter this is just an attempt to garner votes for the 2022 election.

Senators will use this ‘deal’ in their campaigns….but Trump still has their hearts and butts.

It is a political decision for votes not what is best or needed by this country.

Ask yourself why now?

I do hope that I am wrong….but I seriously doubt it.

Watch This Blog!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–27Jul21

“The Steal”!

Trump will run in 2024 and the only policy he has is to keep repeating bullsh*t….his campaign will function around two words….The Steal

The big mystery about the 2024 election—whether Donald Trump will run—isn’t much of a mystery after all, according to Michael Wolff. It’s “obvious” he’s running. So writes Wolff, the author of three books on Trump and a Newser co-founder, in a New York Times essay. The author recounts his latest interview with the former president at Mar-a-Lago, including Trump’s reaction when Wolff asked him about plans for a presidential library. Trump’s face flashed “confusion” and then “anger” because the question presumes his political life is in the past. Trump “snarled” the words “no way” three times, writes Wolff. “It is an existential predicament: He can’t be Donald Trump without a claim on the presidency. He can’t hold the attention and devotion of the Republican Party if he is not both once and future king—and why would he ever give that up?”

Trump is still very much in the game, and in the interview he seemed to relish the idea of exacting political revenge on those he feels have betrayed him (especially Mike Pence and Mitch McConnell). He also boasted of his prowess in raising money for House candidates through “telerallies,” which might very well result in Republicans taking back the chamber next year. Democrats might think all those investigations currently underway against Trump will torpedo any 2024 prospects, but Trump’s view is that running for president is the best way to deflect them. “But perhaps most important, there is his classic hucksterism, and his synoptic U.S.P.—unique selling proposition,” writes Wolff. “In 2016 it was ‘the wall.’ For 2022 and 2024 he will have another proposition available: ‘the steal,’ a rallying cry of rage and simplicity.” (Read the full essay.)

This country cannot heal as long as this tool keeps the divisions growing….but that matters not to the RNC or the GOP…..

Party before country.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Please Lie To Me

I have been watching politicians for 50 years and it amazes me how badly they lie and the American voter allows it to continue unabated…..makes one ask….do the American people want to be lied to?

Actually it appears they do.

Two recent controversies have revealed an unsettling reality about American education: the ruling members of both the nation’s major political parties do not want an informed citizenry. With the right wing riled up about critical race theory in schools and both sides of the political aisle in an uproar over Ilhan Omar’s comments on the United States and the International Criminal Court, it’s difficult to come to any conclusion other than American politicians do not believe Americans should hear difficult truths about their own country.

The debate over critical race theory shows that plenty of politicians do not want the topic of racial inequities discussed in classrooms despite the fact that it’s a part of American history and leaving it out is tantamount to teaching science fiction instead. Red states have been moving to ban critical race theory from the classrooms, most recently Texas and Florida. Comments from Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick DeSantis and other elected officials do not give me confidence that they even know what critical race theory is. DeSantis believes teaching critical race theory, which is an academic form of study that investigates the way racism is woven into institutions and governments, is indoctrination. Yet, in the bill DeSantis hawks, it states “… [instruction] may not define American history as something other than the creation of a new nation based largely on universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence.” Is this not also a form of indoctrination, stating there is only one interpretation of the nation? If not, why not? 

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/06/17/do-americans-want-be-lied-both-major-parties-seem-think-so

Since most conspiracies are lies believed…..the question is how do they become so believable?

Think of a conspiracy theorist. How do they see the world? What stands out to them? What fades into the background? Now think of yourself. How does the way you see things differ? What is it about the way you think that has stopped you from falling down a rabbit hole?

Conspiracy theories have long been part of American life, but they feel more urgent than ever. Innocuous notions like whether the moon landing was a hoax feel like child’s play compared to more impactful beliefs like whether vaccines are safe (they are) or the 2020 election was stolen (it wasn’t). It can be easy to write off our conspiracy theorist friends and relatives as crackpots, but science shows things are far more nuanced than that. There are traits that likely prime people to be more prone to holding these beliefs, and you may find that when you take stock of these traits, you aren’t far removed from your cousin who is convinced the world is run by lizard people.

Why People Fall For Conspiracy Theories

Since the internet and social media drives the lies and conspiracies…..can we build a more honest internet?

The dominant narrative for the growth of the World Wide Web, the graphical, user-friendly version of the internet created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989, is that its success has been propelled by Silicon Valley venture capitalism at its most rapacious. The idea that currently prevails is that the internet is best built by venture-backed startups competing to offer services globally through category monopolies: Amazon for shopping, Google for search, Facebook for social media. These companies have generated enormous profits for their creators and early investors, but their “surveillance capitalism” business model has brought unanticipated harms. Our national discussions about whether YouTube is radicalizing viewers, whether Facebook is spreading disinformation, and whether Twitter is trivializing political dialogue need to also consider whether we’re using the right business model to build the contemporary internet.

https://www.cjr.org/special_report/building-honest-internet-public-interest.php

My thought on this is that it may be too damn late to try and reform the disinformation available on the internet.

Education would help….but in recent decades that is a term that brings scorn….so sad.

amicus populi

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

But They Signed The Letter

One of the big news stories of this year is the GOP’s attempts at voter suppression…..if you are unaware then where the Hell have you been?

Corporations have been feeding the GOP for decades and Toyota trying to repair its reputation has stated that they will NO longer give to those people in Congress that push the Big Lie and voter suppression….a good start but I do not trust them to keep that pledge when profit is their main concern.

Now 150+ companies have signed a letter in support of the Voting Rights Act……

– More than 150 companies including Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N) and PepsiCo (PEP.O) urged U.S. lawmakers to introduce and pass a voting reform act in a letter signed on Wednesday, as other efforts have stalled in Congress.

The companies called on lawmakers to reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, an amendment to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 named after late U.S. Representative John Lewis, who died nearly a year ago. The act would help prevent voting discrimination and set up an improved system for states to report changes in election law.

“We have a duty to work until every American can participate in our democracy, but that won’t happen until every eligible voter in this country has fair, equitable and safe access to voting,” said Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi Strauss & Co (LEVI.N), a signatory to the letter, in a prepared statement.

The companies are part of a group of corporate executives called Business for Voting Rights.

“The business community is proud of our role in encouraging our employees, customers, and communities to exercise their right to vote and have a say in our government,” the companies wrote in the letter.

U.S. companies have spoken up in support of voting rights reforms and against restrictions on voting that have passed in Republican-controlled states including Georgia. Some companies have come under fire from elected officials for their positions.

Former President Donald Trump and his supporters made unfounded claims that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Democrats are expected to reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, Reuters has reported.

(reuters.com)

How lovely.

But signing a letter does nothing but waste time and paper…..if they truly are concerned then turn off the lobbyists and the money spigot…..without that act this letter is nothing more than a fart in the wind.

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

On Cruz Control

When you are caught with your pants down then LIE!

And Ted Cruz has done just that.

The GOP has offered up 300+ bills that would suppress the minority vote and yet Cruz states that the Dems with the Voting Rights Act is trying to subvert the GOP from office….

You read that correctly…Cruz is saying that the Dems are trying to suppress the vote with the Act…..

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Wednesday accused Democrats of proposing voter laws that he considered “Jim Crow 2.0” during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

During the hearing, Cruz said the For the People Act, which in part aims to expand ballot access, would “prevent Democrats from being voted out of power.” 

“Today’s congressional Democrats do not believe in the right to vote,” Cruz said. “They do not believe in democracy and they are championing efforts to take away the right to vote from American citizens.”

The Texas senator said that Democrats were the original authors of the Jim Crow laws, which enforced racial segregation in the late 1800s. Cruz added that the only objective of new election laws is to keep Democrats in power for the next hundred years, calling it the “Corrupt Politicians Act.”

“So what’s Jim Crow 2.0? It’s the latest efforts of Democrats to write laws to prevent the voters from voting Democrats out of power,” Cruz asserted.

(thehill.com)

A typical GOP strategy….if you have nothing to offer then lie your ass off…..and Cruz is trying to subvert history to fit the LIE….another GOP tactic.

At this poi t LIES are all the GOP has for the next election…..LIES and more LIES!

Cruz fits nicely into my category of “From the ‘Can’t Fix Stupid’ Files”…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”