Trust

The red "GOP" logo used by the party...

The red “GOP” logo used by the party for its website (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Democracy and a successful two-party system require that both parties can be trusted with power, to put the interests of country ahead of the interests of party. The Republican Party has demonstrated recently that it can no longer be trusted. Its refusal to implement portions of the Affordable Care Act, its hostility to union workers in Wisconsin, Ohio and now in Michigan, and its continuing efforts to deny the right to vote and future plans to gerrymander the Electoral College, all these efforts demonstrate Republican untrustworthiness. The GOP must reform itself and do so quickly. Otherwise, it must be replaced by another party that puts the country ahead of partisan power.

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Gerrymander part 2

English: Electoral college map for the 2012, 2...

English: Electoral college map for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 United States presidential elections, using apportionment data released by the US Census Bureau. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Elections have consequences and the election of 2010 had more consequences than many elections because it was a census year. After a census, the House Congressional districts usually must be redrawn and the GOP legislatures in several states used the opportunity to Gerrymander districts in their favor. Essentially that is how the GOP managed to retain control of the House in the US Congress.

However, it gets worse. There is a move afoot in several states to award electoral votes to presidential candidates, not on the present winner take all basis, but on who carries each Congressional district. That would mean that Gerrymandering Congressional districts would affect the results of presidential elections. If that system were in effect in 2012, Mitt would have won.

We must pushback on the GOP effort to stack the deck in their favor. If we fail to do that, I would favor the elimination of the Electoral College. I live in a severely conservative state, Utah, and I feel that my vote in presidential elections does not matter. I would like to eliminate the concentration of campaign efforts in swing states so that everyone’s vote counts equally. One man/woman, one vote.

Please see Gerrymander

Gerrymander

Deutsch: Elbridge Gerry (1744–1814), US-amerik...

Image via Wikipedia

Elbridge Gerry was a Massachusetts politician, and a US vice-president under Madison, who lived from 1744 to 1814. While he was governor of Massachusetts, a Congressional district in the state was given such a convoluted shape that it resembled a salamander to some viewers. Reportedly someone said, that’s not a salamander, that’s a Gerrymander and the name endured.

Every ten years, the US takes a census that is used in apportioning seats in the US House of Representatives among the states. Then the states in most cases must redraw the boundaries of Congressional districts to account for changing populations. In recent decades, the districts have been more and more drawn to reduce competition within them and re-elect incumbents.

When incumbents are sure of re-election by the voters, they lose incentive to represent and respond to voters. Corruption becomes more and more tempting as big money comes to dominate elections. Movements are afoot in Florida, California, New York and possibly other states to draw more competitive Congressional districts. This is a very good thing if we are to make our democracy representative again. It does no good to throw the bums out if the system stays broken and we replace one set of bums with another.