Tag Archives: gerrymandering

2020 election — the day after

Joe Biden

By the third day after the election, Democrats should be realizing that even without the hoped-for landslide, Biden has done very well. So far, he’s flipped Michigan and Wisconsin and has a good chance of flipping three more states: Arizona, Pennsylvania and possibly Georgia. That’s the good news.

Control of the Senate is still theoretically possible, though unlikely. (We can dream, can’t we?) Republicans added to their 29-state majority of state legislatures. Since the legislative majorities of the states redraw their election districts every 10 years, based on the decennial census, the heavily gerrymandered map now has the potential of skewing even more to the right. The opportunity to shape the majority of electoral districts to their advantage will continue for at least the next decade. Democrats, despite being the majority of Americans, may have to cede control of the Senate to the Republican minority.

[Read an explanation of gerrymandering and how it results in minority rule.] 

The government we now have is an oligarchy— rule by a few. Since Democrats are concentrated in cities and Republicans tend to live in rural areas, sparsely populated states are mostly Republican, whereas densely populated cities are strongly Democratic. The result of this demographic distribution is that in the Senate, sixty senators from the least populous thirty states represent less than a quarter of the population. The courts, which should be impartial in a democracy, have become politicized, dominated by partisan conservatives.

If the American system worked as was originally intended, each state would have equal representation in the Senate and each citizen would be represented in the House of Representatives. But the system isn’t working. By dint of their gerrymandering, Republicans now have an advantage in the Electoral College, which gave the presidency to the loser of the popular vote in 12 of the last 20 years. Five of the justices on the Supreme Court were appointed by a president who lost the popular vote and confirmed by senators who represent less than half the electorate. Judicial reform and abolishment of or changes to the the Electoral College will be possible only when the minority no longer controls the Senate. 

Donald Trump

The election of 2020 will have far-reaching consequences, but until the results are known, the fate of American democracy hangs in the balance. In the face of a likely loss, Trump had a public tantrum Thursday evening. He claimed the election was fraudulent, that he was being cheated. He demanded the vote-counting be halted and threatened to take his case to the Supreme Court. Lacking any evidence to back up his claims, he was clearly flailing, desperate to hold onto power by any means. Trump never admits to losing, so a loss of this magnitude will surely spur him to lawless, despotic extremes. Will Republicans finally act to curb Trump’s worst instincts? If so, will they be able to restrain him? Fasten your seatbelts and prepare for a very bumpy ride.

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Filed under 2020 Vote, Politics, Trump

We once walked on the moon . . .

I rarely read Tom Friedman any more, but he’s got this right:

Whenever you’d visit China or Singapore, it was always the people there who used to be on the defensive when discussing democracy. Now, as an American, you’re the one who wants to steer away from that subject. After all, how much should we be bragging about a system where it takes $20 million to be elected to the Senate; or where a majority of our members of Congress choose their voters through gerrymandering rather than voters choosing them; or where voting rights laws are being weakened; or where lawmakers spend most of their free time raising money, not studying issues; or where our Congress has become a forum for legalized bribery; or where we just had a minority of a minority threaten to undermine America’s credit rating if we didn’t overturn an enacted law on health care; or where we can’t pass even the most common sense gun law banning assault weapons after the mass murder of schoolchildren?

All societies rise, peak and decay, usually over a period of centuries. They accomplish great things, then stumble and begin to fade.  Continue reading

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Filed under American Society, Gun safety, Musings, Politics