Recently I wrote about how the district I live in is perhaps the most gerrymandered district in the entire country. Great pains have been taken by the Democrats that run Illinois to ensure that my vote can’t count and the legislator that runs our state district doesn’t even have to bother courting voters like me. Even among Illinois legislators (not exactly the highest quality bunch) my guy is famous for not even voting to impeach Blago. Literally we have the worst of the worst representing us, but he is effectively immortal since all he has to do is win the Democratic party primary and he’s in, due to basic mathematics and party-line voting.
While I know writing posts like this is just like shouting into a toilet Rolling Stone recently came out with an article about Red State gerrymandering. While my district in the article above was in the state legislature, our Illinois US House of Representatives balance has been similarly adjusted to ensure that a 50/50 or so state leans completely blue. Of course the entire article acts as if this is a Republican phenomenon, when in fact both parties are equal opportunists at this sad game.
There is a shred of hopefulness in all of this in some electoral advancements coming out of California, of all places. They have a system where the two top vote getters in the primary battle it out on election day, even if they are from the same party. In this sort of system, the Democrat or Republican that reaches out to the constituents in the middle from the other party has a shot at beating a stone ideologue that will generally cruise through the party primary (like my state representative). This solution was “California Proposition 14“. In parallel, they also have a citizen’s commission to draw districts so that they make more sense rather than be amazing gerrymander constructions. It is too soon to tell if California’s results will help that much but it seems like a step in the right direction.
Cross posted at LITGM
10 thoughts on “Apparently Illinois Vote Rigging Doesn’t Count… and a Glimmer of Hope From California”
Don’t count on California. In 1984, there was a good government proposition that required district lines to be drawn by a panel of retired judges. Willie Brown led the battle against the panel. After the proposition was defeated, he bragged that his campaign against it had been a “con job” and fooled the voters.
For better or worse, the Republicans just gerrymandered Wisconsin so that the Assembly will be firmly in R hands for at least a generation, maybe longer. Two can play this game.
State and local government have a chance to govern. Especially local.
No National Reform coalition of God Almighty, The Infernal and The Founders risen at God’s hand can save us by election. They all have to contend with Free Will you see.
No election saves America.
My experience with local government is the reason why I was so enthusiastic about Sarah Palin. Very few national politicians have begun at the bottom. If McCain’s campaign staff had not so mishandled her, she might have had a real career in politics. People sense that and that is why she is still popular.
“For better or worse, the Republicans just gerrymandered Wisconsin …”
He who holds the pencil draws the map.
That’s the game. Play to win.
“If McCain’s campaign staff had not so mishandled her …”
No. Intentionally destroyed her. She was upstaging McCain, she had star power, and she was willing to fight hard. They did not vet her in advance and they were shocked by her speech at the convention and how it brought the house down. She was a bigger threat than a McCain defeat, which was almost inevitable anyway. They put her in a hostile interview with no prep. They set her up to fail. No other explanation makes sense.
Her book was interesting Lex. She said that one of the campaign workers owned Katie Couric a “favor” so that is how that disaster was set up. But i agree – at least some on that campaign sabotaged her.
MikeK: I’ve been wrong before – I used to be a fan of John McCain – but I also was impressed with Sarah Palin for the exact reasons you describe. She was the antithesis of machine politics and seemed genuinely interested in governing for the betterment of the nation as whole. It’s an enduring loss to us all she was not elected. Instead, we have Zero, Bozo and the lying witch from hell. God save us.
“No. Intentionally destroyed her.”
Nicole Wallace was the principle villain and she is still described as a “Republican strategist.”
In late October, campaign aides criticized Palin. One unnamed McCain aide said Palin had “gone rogue”, placing her own future political interests ahead of the McCain/Palin ticket, directly contradicting her running mate’s positions and disobeying directions from campaign managers. In response to reports of dissension within the McCain-Palin campaign, Wallace issued a statement to both Politico and CNN saying: “If people want to throw me under the bus, my personal belief is that the most honorable thing to do is to lie there.”
She is the major mole of the Democrats in the McCain campaign.
Gerrymandering in Massachusetts doesn’t count, either. There should be one or two Republican House districts in that state, but there haven’t been, for years.
And I have thought for years that one of the most perverse single House districts was North Carolina’s 12th, a product of racial and partisan gerrymandering.
(Arizona 2nd is weird, too, but because the Hopi really don’t want to be in the same district as the Navajo, not for partisan advantage. Wikipedia has maps of both districts, if you are curious.)
Washington state, like Iowa, has had districts drawn by a citizen’s commission, and that seems to have worked out reasonably well. (I seem to recall reading that a similar commission in California got conned by the Democrats, but I could be wrong about that.)
Washington state also has the “top-two” primary system, and that has already resulted in a number of same-party general election races. (Two of the three special elections for the state senate this year were Republican versus Republican. The third, where Jan Angel beat Nathan Schlicter, was a triumph for the fiscally responsible Democrat-Republican coalition that controls the state senate.)
(Most students of districting agree that almost any “neutral” scheme of districting would favor Republicans, on the whole, because their voters are less likely to be concentrated in the same way that Democrats often are, in our large cities.)
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