While looking at this morning’s paper I am greeted by the smiling face of a GOP strategist under the headline “Gerrymandering, geography give Republicans built-in advantage in this year’s House elections.” Who thinks this is right?
Certainly someone might make the argument that Democrats would do the same thing and have done the same thing, but that does not make it right. Moreover, I don’t think we have seen as much effort to win elections outside the ballot box as we see on the part of today’s Republicans.
Whether it is the investment of nearly limitless money in political campaigns, retracting voting rights, or this process of rigging political districts, it is all disgusting and it is happening in plain view.
Look at Chris Jankowski, the GOP strategist behind the Republican gerrymandered advantage in Virginia. He’s smiling ear to ear. Couldn’t be more proud and satisfied. I suppose if you can’t win the popular vote, you find ways to cheat. Legal or not, gerrymandering is nothing short of cheating.
Perhaps there was a time when you might want districts to coalesce around shared interests and maybe in “simpler” times interests were more simply defined. Agricultural versus industrial, for example. Today districts are zig-zagged to follow party lines, thereby fixing advantage for party interests. I would argue that state legislatures allowing party interests to define districts merely turn the state’s voters into pawns for national political interests.
Republicans will counter that districts give voters a stronger voice in elections, but looking at presidential elections we see that this is absolutely not true. It is exactly the opposite. If you don’t vote with the majority in your district, your vote is effectively canceled.
There’s a lot that is wrong with this country that can be fixed and this is one of them. The solution won’t be easy. Ultimately boundaries must be drawn. Outside of proportional representation it is hard to imagine a simple solution. Even in the best of time, defining districts is a subjective process. But making gerrymandering an issue and calling out the politicians who abuse it is an important first step. People need to know what these political strategies do to the political process.
Ideally the day comes when tools like Jankowski won’t boast, but will hide from what they try to do.