|Pennsylvania's Congressional District boundaries have been ruled unconstitutional. Republicans have been rigging the game since 2010 with a strategy called "Redmap." Here's why the strategy is bad for America and even bad for republicans.|
IN A DEMOCRACY, you want a fair election. You NEED a fair election.
Anyone who agrees you need fair elections in a representative democracy would then agree that undermining the one-person-one-vote paradigm is antithetical to the democracy.
In Pennsylvania, 37% of voters are republican. How, then, do republicans control 61% and 80% of the state house and senate respectively? How, then, does the republican 37% of the voters hold a 12-5 edge (one is currently vacant from a republican retirement) in the U.S. House of Representatives?
Republicans would have you believe that they are winning the political war of ideas. The Mountain says their success has nothing to do with their political ideas.
It has everything to do with changing the rules of the game.
Republicans have always represented the business class, and that's okay, because rich businessmen need love too. Because, you know, it's so soul-sucking when your only friends are in it because you're buying. But, like their friends in business, they play politics in the way that a business might lay out a business plan. They form committees to lay out strategies and then get billionaires to fund implementation.
Repubs (The Mountain is gonna call them "repubs" until conservatives quit using the pejorative "democrat" as a modifier of "democratic" policies.) have decided to undermine electoral fairness in two key ways: 1) change the boundary lines of districts state by state across the country and 2) suppress likely "democratic" voters.
Here is the official website of REDMAP. When you hear repubs on teevee talking about massive voter fraud, you might want to hold the mirror of their own words up to their faces and see if the creature moving his lips casts a reflection. By repubs' own admission, they are using pretzel logic to pen as many democratic voters into as few districts as possible, leaving repubs unopposed in much of the rest of the districts. It tilts the playing field radically to the repub right.
I've heard it described this way. Suppose the Steelers are playing the Ravens and come out of Baltimore with a 13 point loss. But in the second game in Pittsburgh, the Steelers impose new rules for the game and the Ravens have to go 150 yards for a touchdown and the Steelers only have to go 50 yards to hit paydirt. Second game, The Steelers walk all over the Ravens. You would say that's unfair. Unfair, but EFFECTIVE.
On the left is a great example. This is Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District, or as it is colloquially known, "Donald Duck Kicking Goofy." You can see it on the large map in the masthead down around Philadelphia and Delaware. Repubs drew this district when they took control of the legislature back in 2010 after the last census. Now, you can drive in and out of three districts in one minute. Crazy.
Further, look at the state map above. Glenn Thompson represents The Mountain. (The Mountain, itself, is roughly located on the "r" in Clearfield County.) Good ol' GT is from Howard, out on the way east toward the point of Centre County. What in the world does Glenn Thompson have to do with ERIE County?
The repub redistricting map HAS BEEN RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL. And the legislature has until February 15th to redraw the districts with the governor's approval and file it with the state supreme court. Failing this, the court will draw the map. And this is happening in battleground states across America. It's unfair and it basically means that democratic voters can pour out into the election with a two thirds majority and get one third of the representation. In North Carolina, the U.S. Supreme Court has RULED that the redistricting is racist and disenfranchises black (read: "democratic") voters.
This is going on all over the place and, in a second arm of the repub plan, they have devised a strategy to stop likely democratic voters from even casting votes in the first place with a broad plan to initiate voter I.D. laws that The Mountain finds just as racist as the Redmap plan. HERE IS A GREAT ARTICLE showing how big of an impact voter repression has on our elections. When The Mountain considers Redmap in conjunction with vast voter suppression efforts, you can see the repubs' fear. They fear a brown America.
So, my friends, when you hear a repub on teevee talking about voter fraud, THEY are the ones perpetrating the fraud. Even Donald Trump, who famously called for an investigation into how he lost the popular vote by over 3 million "illegal" votes, recently disbanded the commission without any proof of his claim. BECAUSE IT'S FALSE, PEOPLE. When my republican friends are sitting there watching Fox, and they're eating up stories about voter fraud, they are being LIED to. Look around. The ONLY "news" source pushing this line of propaganda is FOX. Fox IS the fake news media, folks. But 37% of Pennsylvanian republican's just don't get it.
Worse than all of that, it's a racist agenda pushed by a racist party who is embracing racist ideology. (Hail Trump!) And for those republican friends who can still think objectively, it's just unfair. It's undemocratic.
The reason this is bad for America and democracy writ large is obvious. But it is also bad for the repub party. Ronald Reagan could not get elected by today's conservatives. Old time public servants like John Heinz, who The Mountain voted for couldn't hang today. What Redmap has done is make the republican party MORE strident. Even well heeled republicans like the Bush family can't believe the racist and hate-filled bent they're seeing here.
HERE is a story about how women in general are being repelled by republican politics. Oh, don't get me started on how repubs have embraced the radical pro-life agenda nationwide. How repubs everywhere are damaging women's health care, family planning and reproductive rights. It's as if they've unleashed every nosy church lady all judging and gossiping onto the political landscape. Pick-a-little-talk-a-little. No matter how you slice it, the evangelical disconnect is insane in Trump-land. I think it can be shown he's a self-entitled serial sex offender with three wives who PAYS HUSH MONEY TO PORN STARS! Oh, my LAND! They were all in a tizzy back in those quaint Clinton years when a married man lied under oath about a consensual blow job. My how things change. In the church-lady caucus, Bill Clinton=Bad; Donald Trump=Okay!
You get the feeling that the women's movement is chasing a lot of pervy repubs out of office before shit goes public. You know, better to be retire than be blackmailed, right? HERE is a story about the wave of Trumpist repubs who are gittin' while the gittin's good. The Mountain wonders about Bill Shuster. But just look at the way Redmap is producing hard-right crazies! Roy Jones is breathtaking.
HERE is a story about how the reddening of repub districts is resulting in a degradation of their party.
If there was a home for moderate republicans or even old fashioned people like myself who often voted republican, there isn't now. Right now, unless you are a corporate capitalist, fascist, neo-nazi or self-righteous evangelical, you have no business being a republican.
The Mountain will leave you with that to think about. But one more thing. While we're straightening out the partisan, racist, unfair repub electoral map, why don't we do something about Pennsylvania's state government?
The Pa. General Assembly has 253 members, consisting of a Senate with 50 members and a House of Representatives with 203 members, making it the second-largest state legislature in America and the largest full-time legislature. As of 2014, members' base pay was $85,356 and THAT'S NOT EVEN THE HALF OF IT.
I ask you. With the condition of central Pennsylvania and the rampant poverty that has existed all my life around these mountains, who needs that much representation? There are 67 counties in Pennsylvania. It can't be that difficult to get a representative government that is fair and doesn't bankrupt everyone else.
Of course, for that to happen, you'd have to get a large repub majority to vote against themselves. Good luck with that.
Thanks for stopping in, dear reader, and feel free to comment in the space below. Please know that your comments gain weight when you sign your name. I do. You should too.
Also, please feel free to share the link as you like. And until next time, Enjoy!