Know your Representative – for now

Mariner has read three sources that cover gerrymandering. The cycle goes like this:

Party 1 draws new district lines.

Party 2 sues.

The courts throw out the new gerrymandering district, leaving the old gerrymandered district in place.

Everyone goes home.

In short, gerrymandering is de rigeuer. So what?

In 80 percent of the cases, Party 1 controls the legislature. Unfortunately, it will take a majority of the legislature and the blessing of the Governor to create a non-partisan commission, supposedly politically neutral, that will draw district boundaries.

To be absolutely, theoretically pure about it, the only measurable virtue is that each district should have the same number of voters. It is a trial and error process to look at maps then lay in a grid that approximates equal numbers of voters in each district. The rub comes when these innocent grid lines ignorantly cross right through a neighborhood that reflects race, may or may not have decent income, may be liberal or conservative, dense or rural. Mariner speculates that this pure, innocent arrangement will never occur.

Imagine that the reader’s neighborhood is generally white, conservative and financially comfortable. However, a grid line cuts your neighborhood in half – in fact, between you and your next door neighbor. Seems innocent until the conservative neighborhood turns out to be the minority in two districts that are black and labor class. Mariner speculates that this pure, innocent arrangement will never occur. Even independent commissions know better.

What commissions will be required to do, given moral turpitude, is pursue solutions that, where practical, favor equalizing the influence of both parties; not so much with an eye toward political value but in an effort to respect the independent nature of grid lines. One can imagine the turmoil – something akin to conflict over Roe v Wade.

The prize at the end of this process is the number of Congressional representatives who will represent each party’s opinions. In many cases regionally, all the gerrymandering in the world will not diminish party priority but as the reader knows, Congressional representation is so close to a tie today that just a few districts realigned can turn over dominance in Congress.

Now let’s examine state, county and local redistricting. Perhaps not.

Ancient Mariner

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