Sunday, March 12, 2017

Let's swallow our own tail!

So like most good news lately, this comes with a couple caveats. Caveats like, 'ok that's 3 down, 432 more to go' and 'give it five minutes and a higher court will just overturn it.' But for the next few days, let's just enjoy the fact that some Federal Judges in San Antonio, Texas just ruled that the GOP-controlled Texas State Legislature re-drew districts to favor Republican candidates. Yup, they smacked down some gerrymandering.
Fun fact: before the ruling, the Texas 27th district consisted
solely of Republican Governor Greg Abbot's house.
Think of it like a Pokémon whose
power is to undermine democracy.
Gerrymandering? What's that? I'm glad I pretended you asked. Here, allow me to wiki-splain. Named after Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry who, in 1812 signed a bill to re-kajigger some voting districts so his party, the Democratic-Republicans would hold on to power in the legislature. Some political cartoonist thought that the new district represented a salamander and blamo, Gerry-mander was born. Despite being aggressively anti-democratic and anathema to everything we, as a people, are supposed to stand for, Gerry's dick move worked and the party retained power (although he himself was defeated in the next election). The weird thing is that instead of everyone in the then new nation calling bullshit, we just sort of adopted this as a totally legit way to cheat.

Unless of course you think he won
on merit? Or maybe personality? Ok...
And that's how Donald Trump is President. Did I skip a few steps there? Sure, but where would the internet be without gross generalizations? According to David Daley's book, Ratf***ked* the GOP, still reeling from the victory of a black guy over a white war hero, decided that something must be done. That something was REDMAP, a blatant effort to redraw voting districts to make sure the GOP keeps control over the House. If that sounds like some Karl Rove horseshit, that's because it is. It totally is.

And the fucked up part, sorry, the f***ked up part is that it's been public knowledge for years. So to be clear, the GOP's strategy isn't to win elections by being good at their jobs, it's to win by moving their district lines so that Republican voters' votes are more effective.
"Yeah, and...? I don't see what you're getting upset about, I mean,
we're white men with money, we're supposed to be in charge."
-GOP leadership
"I got your Obamacare right here!"
-Republican voters, 
watching it burn
Anyway, so now that the Federal Judges in Texas have ruled the Republicans' redistricting was a naked power grab designed to prop up a rapidly aging and out-of-touch constituency at the expense of America's very soul, problem solved, right? Yeah, no. Like I mentioned before, the ruling is about three districts in Texas and there's still a shit-load of crazy gerrymandering out there carried out by both parties, although most recently and most effectively on the part of the GOP. Also, this ruling will very likely be challenged and could go all the way to the Supreme Court where the deciding vote could be cast by whomever fills Scalia's vacancy.

Oh, you remember, the vacancy that opened up during the Obama administration? The one the GOP used its House and Senate majority to screw us out of? The majority they maintain thanks to the gerrymandering we're talking about? The one we can't break unless the DNC starts winning back seats? Which they can't because of the GOP majority? Holy shit it's hard to remain optimistic sometimes...
Not to be a totally bummer, but I'm thinking that the oruborus, rather
than the gerrymander, might be a more apt symbol for what's wrong with us.

*I should explain. The book is called Ratfucked, but the asterisks make sure our delicate consumer sensibilities are unperturbed by the words we use all the time, but pretend we don't.

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