Voting

That's Gerrymandering

From C4AF's Eric Loftke, that's Gerrymandering with a hard G:

Gerrymandering goes far to explain why dissatisfaction is so high, debate is so partisan and problems so unsolved. An elected official in a seat designed for safe reelection need do nothing else. Politicians in gerrymandered districts pick their constituents, not the other way around.

I especially like the scene with Peter Wagner of the Prison Policy Initiative describing a city council seat in tiny Anamosa, Iowa. The council member is elected with only two votes, his neighbor and his wife. Everyone else who makes up his districts is in a nearby prison. They can’t vote but they still count for purposes of political apportionment. Prison-based gerrymandering brings “representation without population,” Wagner complains.

I learned something else about gerrymandering. I’ve been saying it wrong, all these years (though I probably still will). It’s pronounced with a hard G, named after colonial era governor Elbridge Gerry, hard G, who redrew his state’s district lines in 1812 to secure party advantage. A period newspaper observed that the district map looked like a salamander, and dubbed it a “Gerry-mander.”

And with another Census recently behind us... A little reminder that s/he who controls redistricting controls the future of voting results to a large degree. Just ask Tom DeLay. Even if his efforts were pretty darned illegal when taken on its proven face value:

WatchDog Groups Launch Protect Our Elections To Pass Pending Election Legislation For 2010 Mid-Terms

WatchDog Groups Launch New Campaign Urging Congress To Pass Pending Election Legislation That Will Protect Millions Of Voters And Bring Fairness And Transparency To The Upcoming Elections

Ilene Proctor PR
(310) 858-6643

Washington, DC -- Protect Our Elections, www.protectourelections.org, is a new campaign to help push Congress for passage of pending national legislation meant to protect public elections and the votes of millions of Americans. The campaign, launched by a broad based coalition of organizations dedicated to fair elections and government transparency, has identified common sense federal legislation that will help ensure the fairness, security, accessibility and accuracy of elections starting with the 2010 mid-term election.
 

Anti-Incumbency Movement Is Dead

The Anti-Incumbency Movement is Dead

Joel S. Hirschhorn

Voting out congressional incumbents failed this year, showing the anti-incumbency movement to be a clear letdown. For some years many groups and their websites have been advocating voting out congressional incumbents as an effective means to reform government and make it work better. Two of the better ones are Vote Out Incumbents Democracy and Tenure Corrupts.

Discussion: Voting Problems

State Officials, Attorneys Prep for Possible Voting Problems

With a rush of early voters going to the polls, state officials are preparing for a strong voter turnout and lawyers are amassing in battleground states in case problems occur. Legal experts weigh the situation.

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McCain Considering Conceding Election Soon?

McCain Considering Conceding Election Soon?

Joel S. Hirschhorn

In highly secret discussions John McCain is seeking feedback on the bold, historically unique idea of conceding the presidential election BEFORE Election Day!

Here are the main discussion points framing the conversations with his closest, long-time supporters, including his wife, but not current campaign staff.

Democracy for Dummies

I confess. I believe there is a ruling class that sustains the two-party plutocracy running the nation for the benefit of the rich and corporate class. Their broad strategy is deception and delusion. Tactically, they use government, the mainstream media, the financial services sector, funding of politicians and the two major parties, and many other parts of the culture and economy to maintain their power and control.

We Need More Direct Democracy

Representative government fails when corrupt politicians mostly serve corporate and other special interests. Then it is crucial for citizens to have direct democracy opportunities. This means having the right to place initiatives or referenda on ballots that can make new laws, amend constitutions, recall elected officials, or control taxes and government spending.

Too Old and Brain-dead

Too Old and Brain-dead

Joel S. Hirschhorn

In the over half a century that I have been politically engaged I have never seen such an unqualified presidential candidate as John McCain. There are tens of millions of Americans in their seventies and beyond that have been smart enough to become technology literate, but not McCain, who is unable to even use the Internet. The man has a medical history that makes Dick Cheney look like the picture of great health.

The Audacity of Arrogance

The Audacity of Arrogance

Joel S. Hirschhorn

Anyone who doubts the downside of hubris should think of the losing campaign of Hillary Clinton. Like cholesterol in arteries, extreme arrogance can block seeing political realities.

And Barack Obama is exhibiting horrendous hubris by, for example, flip-flopping on his pledge to use federal campaign financing for the general election, and for displaying an Obama seal in public events that closely resembles the official presidential seal.

Welcome to the audacity of arrogance.

But there is a lot more to this Age of Hubris.

Poisonous Plutocracy Pushes Economic Inequality

Poisonous Plutocracy Pushes Economic Inequality

Joel S. Hirschhorn

The biggest political issue receiving no attention by the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates is the powerful plutocracy that has captured the government to produce rising economic inequality.