Gerrymandering Wins: Why This Decision has Dangers for America

 

Gerrymandering Wins: Why This Decision Has Dangers for America

Today, 6/27/19 the Supreme Court passed on making a ruling on gerrymandering which has been practiced in a hyper-partisan extreme way by the GOP in recent years. Two especially egregious test cases had been brought before the court, North Carolina and Maryland.

Today’s Washington Post gives us pertinent sections of  John Roberts’ argument in basically siding with the Conservatives by deciding not to make a decision about gerrymandering. WaPo says, “The Supreme Court’s conservatives decided Thursday that federal courts do not have a role to play in deciding whether partisan gerrymandering goes too far.” Roberts says, “ We conclude that partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts. Federal judges have no license to reallocate political power between two major political parties…”

This is a big setback for Democrats who were hoping that someone could decide how much gerrymandering is too much. Gerrymandering is drawing voting districts that favor one party over another in an election. Extreme gerrymandering can guarantee that a minority party will always win. Both parties have used gerrymandering, which is done at the state level, and there have been times when gerrymandered districts were tortuously contorted, almost on a house-by-house basis. However gerrymandering is not considered part of fair governance and it does not honor everyone’s voting rights. For example, since the GOP sees minority voters as Democrats, they can engineer the boundaries of a district to exclude all minority voters. They may claim that this is strictly partisan, but since it robs minorities of voting power it is also racist.

There is a plan among Conservatives to use Article V of the Constitution to trigger a Constitutional Convention to amend the US Constitution so that it will more nearly conform with Conservative views. Two-thirds of the states must apply for such a convention. Through gerrymandering and the actions of the Conservative group ALEC, that has actually dictated bills to state legislatures and then lobbied to get these bills voted into law, the Conservatives already have collected applications for a Constitutional Convention from 28 states. They only need 6 more states to make up the required number of 34. There are 6 more GOP states who have not applied for a Constitutional Convention so far. The two strategies, extreme gerrymandering and collecting states so that Conservatives can call a US Constitutional Convention show a sophisticated kind of long range planning which could almost amount to a bloodless coup in which one party, the GOP gets to take over the US government and move it as far to the right as they wish.

Since the court will not help overturn the gerrymandering that is most extreme, it becomes even more important for the Democrats to win in 2020. If they win in a census year they may have some control over gerrymandering. However, since gerrymandering happens at the state level, and since Conservatives have won over so many states it may be too late to prevent a Constitutional Convention. A Constitutional Convention called by Conservative states could be a disaster for Democrats and for we the people given the partisan divide right now in America.

Fortunately, the court also decided on this same day to deny the right to put a citizenship question on the census. A citizenship question, as evidence recently discovered proves, is another way the GOP is attempting to discourage minorities from voting. Since minorities often vote for Democrats and since minorities may be leery about answering a citizenship question, this could again suppress Democratic Party votes. President Trump, unhappy with the court’s decision about the citizenship question has asked if the census could be delayed until the court can be provided with better information. Has this ever happened before? Maybe. But the Supreme Court was never intended to do the bidding of a president.

Photo from a Google Image Search: Washington Post

The Federalist Revolution, Maybe

Imagine if this was true:
I have been thinking that Republicans needed to get elected
to effect their quasi-Federalist revolution but perhaps I was more right when I
described what they are doing as a bloodless coup.
Republicans and their minions want a smaller Federal
government. They have been acting already to shrink our Federal government.
This is one of the reasons they were so upset about the Affordable Care Act. It
is a big government program that sets back their plan to cut government.
Republicans want more power to go to the states. That plan is also underway.
There are 23 “rebel” or red states stuffed with so many Republicans that it is
simple to get the bidding of the GOP “generals” done. There are only 27 states
to go and then hello to the new Federalist States of America.
This is being led by Ted Cruz and Grover Norquist, if I had
to take a guess, and we will wake up very soon to find ourselves living in a
very different America. These guys believe they are activists and
Constitutional scholars and purists and they are convinced that they must do
what they are doing to save the purity of our forefathers’ governmental
intentions. They are the ideologues.
That each state will supposedly be able to pass its own laws
sounds reasonable, but it is not. Each state will only be able to pass the laws
that Republicans want because they will have wormed their way into control of
the whole shebang. Old mostly white men may be a dying breed but there are
still enough of them around to accomplish this, and they really don’t want to
give up power, at all. They are not all ideologues.
That is why Republicans won’t let any legislation through.
It is not because of laziness or outrageous behavior. It’s a plan to whittle
away our Federal government. Kiss Medicare good-bye, no more Social Security,
no more Social services of any kind, the “entitlements” will be gone. There
will be no safety net if you get in financial trouble. Education and Energy
departments will be gone, perhaps even the IRS will be closed, but, I think,
not the NSA.
There will be no more discussion of climate change and the
charge to find all the fossil fuels in America will spread across the nation
and out into both oceans. There will be no Federal minimum wage at all, there
will be no more talk of equal pay, Roe v Wade will be overturned, and no there
may be no contraception. There will be no Immigration Bill and there will be
plenty of deportations and we will be at war all the time because that is all
the Federal government will be allowed to do.
There are people in the GOP who have decided to go around,
over, and through the American people. They do not care what the American
people want. They are running our government from behind the scenes. If they
have their way, and they are well on the way to meeting their goals, American
will become one huge factory town from greasy sea to coal mines to coke piles
to pipelines to oil trains to oily sea, all the time pumping dollars to those
at the top of the heap.

This is not going to happen in the future. That is what I
got wrong. This is already happening, as inevitable as plate tectonics and a
lot faster. America has already been shut down.
Do we have any ways to fight back and by that I mean do we
have any political and strategic plans that Democrats and Independents could
come up with, not actual fighting. Of course, I could be wrong. Or I could be
right. Or everyone could label me a crackpot and ignore this. Or perhaps it is
not too late to come up with some pushback plans that would get us back to
regular order. I know our traditional American system had flaws but by opening
the door to liberal reform we may have activated groups with much different
reforms in mind.

Maybe we are already the bodies in the floater chairs and so
lost in the American Dream that we just will not see when people are trying to
rip those chairs right out from under us. Surprise, it’s a new day. Moral
behavior will henceforth be defined by your very small central government. And
where are the courts in all this. Well we have seen where the courts are. They
won’t help us. The courts are stuffed too. In order that no one object, the
Supreme Court was not stuffed with Conservatives, it was loaded instead with
Catholics with moral views very similar to Conservatives.

And besides practicing mandated good behavior you will be
working morning to night for all the days of your life after your brief, and
very Christian, education. Gone will be the days of two cars in every garage
and two chickens in every pot although perhaps the memories of a summer house and
a boat will carry you through for a while. It looks like we will have baseball,
football, and lots of NASCAR, and BBQ but, alas, no time to enjoy it. I
sincerely hope I am wrong about this whole construct. I just offer it to you
for your consideration. Perhaps if we are able to keep this internal power
struggle from getting too explosive we can turn this plan around and keep
America to the forms we recognize and revere. 
By Nancy Brisson