Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One of Those Real Issues

With lipstick-gate and Internet–gate “captivating” voters everywhere with their pointlessness and triviality, I thought I would bring everyone's attention to a report on voter gerrymandering by Marc Dunkleman, who works for the Democratic Leadership Council. The way political officials in both major parties have rigged their states so that specific counties exist where an incumbent party can not possibly lose an election, should disgust every American. As Marc makes clear:
“In large measure, today’s stalemate is the result of partisan gerrymandering. The boundaries that separate districts hew to the partisan advantage of one party or the other, encouraging members of Congress to play to their party’s base, rather than the broad center of the electorate. When members can’t lose, voters do—because it takes pressure off Congress to get the job done.

But gerrymandering has another nefarious effect: pre-determined election results suppress the vote. This study explores just how dramatically partisan redistricting hampers the ability of voters to affect policy in Washington, D.C.”
Both political parties have a vested interest in continuing the meme that citizens stay out of the electoral process because it has gotten too “dirty,” but Dunkleman goes on to show that in races that are seen as competitive, the number of votes cast are always vastly higher than in non-competitive races, regardless of the language and tactics used in the race. Marc also writes:
If the vast majority of members retain their seats even in years when Congressional approval ratings are abysmal, it’s not hard to understand why so many Americans believe Washington is unresponsive to their frustration.”
Sadly, when Californian’s were offered an opportunity at redistricting our state (one of the “dirty dozen” states which Dunkleman believes would experience as much as a fifth in voter turnout if its system was amended) rejected Proposition 77 in 2005, thanks in part to special interests who were content with the rigged system that benefited them. We will have another modified shot at redistricting with Proposition 11 in 2008.


Daniel Stark said...

Yeah, it is really sad this happens. Hopefully reform comes.

dandy has a posse said...

How is this not a bigger issue?

Oh, I know. Because both parties were content to instill themselves in positions for life. Reprehensible.