Thursday, November 29, 2012

Congratulations Louisiana! Your GOP has rendered all of you to 2/5ths of a human being through Gerrymandering


(Special note to people of other states.  We're working on what the GOP has done to your voting rights.  Please check back at this blog for the next few weeks (Gah! 50 states!) or follow @Bill_Lenner or @CA_Lady on Twitter.)

Dear  Louisiana citizens, You're probably wondering how we know your voting rights have been stolen by the GOP until your vote is worth about 2/5ths of what they should be.  Well look at a couple of pictures.

First, to the left up here is a picture of the counties of your state.  Most of them are somewhat boxy or otherwise fill space available to them.  The red  versus blue colors designate which counties went for Obama versus which went for Romney.  This is not significant because counties are of varying populations.

Neither is the size of the land of each color significant.   Land doesn't vote.  People vote.  It may be later that the GOP can make it true that only landed people can vote or that your vote may only count as much as the land you have.  There are many things wrong today that weren't 30 years since our news and politics is so constrained by billionaire money, but that's for another day.

What is significant about counties is that their boundaries were chosen for mostly utilitarian reasons.  You can see the difference when you see the next picture.

The gray portion is the district for one US House district as it boundaries run in 2012 that had two Republicans running for it in the general election.  Neither Republican, nor any other candidate won a majority.  I assume a runoff election is in the works and that district will turn red too.  But notice the blue district, where a Democrat won the seat.

The snaky design is a typical Gerrymandering gimmick.  Packing most of the people likely to vote Democratic in large portions into as few districts as possible reduces the threat that other districts will get a Democratic majority.
And it worked beautifully in Louisiana.  The blue district is the 2nd district.  The cuts the first district into two pieces one below it and between it an the Gulf of Mexico and one piece  which is  the Southernmost piece edging Alabama.  Actual divided districts are another Gerrymandering gimmick.  And, in fact, that first district had a very low Republican win, but let me do the numbers on the voters who voted Democratic or Republican.

Adding all the voters who voted for Democratic candidates in the two districts we get 291, 865 souls.  Adding all the voters who voted for Republican candidates we get 268,214 ones.  Yup we have two Democratic US House districts that have been Gerrymandered to produce one Democratic seat.  We might find even more if we added up all the districts.

One outcome of this Gerryandering is that 15% of the people who went to the polls to vote for president didn't take the miniscule effort to also vote for Congressman.  1,9888,576 votes for a presidential candidate versus 1,685,758 votes for any Congressional candidate.  In two districts no Democratic candidates were even on the ballot. In the CA 49th district though the powerful Republican Darrell Issa was on the ballot, where he got 4 times the number of FEC registered donations more than his challenger, and horrendous amounts of superPAC expenditures, his opponent still got 40% of the vote.  California districts were taken away from the state legislatures and given to a specially balanced panel.

It is not good to find heavy Gerrymandering in the South again, but the South is not alone.  In fact some are saying that Ohio and Pennsylvania are the most Gerrymandered states in the nation sending heavily Republican delegations to the US House though they should have been sending mostly Democratic ones.

I do not have their results on those states yet, but we know that Louisiana has a constitutional crisis.

The GOP has made each and every person in the state into as little as 2 5ths  of a person.

( I chose 5ths because it matches the 3/5ths of a person that slaves were considered.  Of course, I believe slaves never actually voted.  I suppose their masters voted for them, and they were really 0 5ths of a person.)  If through Gerrymandering your state GOP has made you less than the equivalent of a slave, you may think that can't be true.  Surely you go and vote.  Yet, as you watch the House consider voting away the Social Security payments you actually earn as you work (see post: The Truth About Social Security That Many Don't Want You to Know) as we have shown, you have to wonder how that could happen.

Because, they have crippled your voting voice through Gerrymandering and therefore have grabbed control of the US House of Representatives through their unconstitutional actions.  Notice how often the GOP talks about their control of the House.  They are trying to plant in your mind that they rightfully have this power.

We need to disabuse our fellow Americans and our leaders of the idea that we will go along with this.

I am sure that your state legislative seats are similarly Gerrymandered.  You need to clean house there.  Get a state referendum going to redistrict the entire state.

You may ask why doesn't the Civil Rights act prevent this.  The Civil Rights Act was only to protect the rights of African Americans apparently.  I haven't checked out La, but I did check Texas next door.  The were surprisingly fair to the African American community (before the 2012 election).  (I haven't checked that out afterwards.)  That should be no surprise because they are covered by the Civil Rights Act.  But, a quick check on Hispanics going by last names of their US Reps, Texas is a mess, the pigs going back to their slop.  There may be reasons for that, of which I am not aware, but I doubt the disparity should be as bad as it is.  Someone needs to check that out more deeply, and it shouldn't be the mainstream news.  They get all their funding from billionaires and corporations and their reporting shows it.

Two Caveats remain:

You may think if you are in the Republican party that you are getting over under this system.  No you aren't for two reasons.

1. If you cannot change your mind without losing your power, you have no more rights that those your party has stolen their rights from.

2.  Because the GOP has Gerrymandered the districts they don't have to do what even their voters want done.  They can sell all your rights to billionaires who will finance their political campaigns and even give them money on the side.  According to an expert who I heard explaining it, Super PAC money does not have to be used solely for poltical campaigns.  I scratched that statement, because thinking through it I remembered that it is the SuperPac that can decide where those donations go to so the line straight to the candidate is more easily blurred, but do you think that Mr. or Ms. SuperPac is going to deny his or her cash cow money if he or she wants it?

If that sounds like straight out bribery, it is.  And your winning politicians, therefore, have less incentive to work for you than to do what the Koch bros and Sheldon Adelson, and other Fat Cats want.

Yes, we can fix it state by state, but the people must get their own states redistricted in a fair manner, in both state legislatures and federal House seats.  Most states let those in the state legislature fix the lines of both their state legislative districts and those of their US House seats. CA had to vote explicitly to take away that control to get changes to the system made.

Go for it Louisiana.  There is a reason that you have a Democratic Senator.  Make your elected officials respect you by grabbing the power you have. 

Picture at top is of Indian Creek Recreation Area, Woodworth, La  and is used via Creative Commons License Attribution (CC by 2.0) thanks to Flickr user finchlake2000 who has no connection to this blog or blogger.

Short link to this post: or Now preferred