Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What's the Matter With Pennsylvania?

Ladies and Gentlemen, the great state of Pennsylvania.

We've invited Pennsylvania here today because weak minded news media people have been covering up the massive Gerrymandering of US House of Representatives Districts.  (PA above is currently wearing its US House districts map for information and discussion purposes.)

Last night I had to endure another newsman, MSNBC's Steve Karnacki, resorting to spewing the old lie that Democrats living in cities have caused the US House to be dominated by Republicans.  Land does not vote for Congress members, people do.  Districts expand and shrink in accordance with the density of the human population, not in accordance with square footage.

Lawrence O'Donnell was right when he came back with the word Gerrymandering right after Steve Karnacki spewed out the right wing lie about people in cities leading to their own downfall in the US House (and state legislatures) in the video below.  Yes, Republicans have been very smart to buy up or otherwise aquire farmland and then take the farm susidy welfare while decrying much smaller amounts of welfare to city dwelling poor and minorities.  One Tea Party leader was found to be getting $200k a year because he had bought farmland, which he never farmed while claiming that welfare was killing the United States.  But that shouldn't affect your voting rights.  Money doesn't vote, people do.

But lets deal with Gerrymandering.  Below is a snip Lawrence O'Donnell's show "The last Word" from January 14, 2013.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

For a good illustration of the actual truth lets head off to Western PA, where Pittsburgh interacts with surrounding areas some of which are presumably more rural, and showing the result of the 2012 election after the post 2010 census and 2011 redistricting.

 (Immediately below)
Here we see 3 complete US House Districts.  One is a red wormish type thing that ends in a non symmetrical hammer head shape. Then there's a squirly blue triangle with a "guinea worm" sticking out, and just below the triangle an amorphousred stain (bordered by West Virginia to the west and south at the edge of PA).

Let's contrast with the results of the 2002 election in Southwest Pennsylvania (below):

Like in 2011, a restructuring of districts was done in 2001 following an election dominated by Republicans.  But apparently the Koch brothers and ALEC hadn't gotten new enhanced Gerrymandering instruction to the PA Republican party as they did after the 2010 election.   There were actually 2 Democratic districts created in southwest PA by the 2001 redistricting.  You can almost see the head of the hammerhead worm from the 2012 map.  That's obviously a democratic corridor that they took great pains to disappear in the 2011 redistricting and it is now red.
Looking at the numbers in the 2011 redrawn districts after the 2012 election in districts that are shown on the map above and left, the 3 we see in entirety are PA 12 (the Hammerhead worm), PA 14 (the Pittsburgh triangle with guinea worm), and PA 18, (the blob that emerges from the lower right corner).

Their 2012 House seats election results are (winner denoted with **):

PA  12
**R votes 173,340 51.8%
D votes 161,397  48.2%
PA 14
R votes   74, 955 23.1%
**D votes  249,012 76.9%
PA 18
**R votes 212,712 64%
D votes 119,791 36%

The close race in PA 12 shows why the nonsense of the guinea worm sticking out of the Pittsburgh triangle was so important.  It drained PA 12 of some Democrats, I'm guessing just enough to keep PA 12 in Republican hands even while it devoured the Democratic corridor of the hammerhead area. BTW, notice the red 76.9% win total of PA 14.  That's another great way to drain another district of voters you don't like, stuff them uselessly in an already one party dominant district.

I'll have to it to them, that showed 24 carat Nazi genius.

If you add all those numbers up you could get 3 Democratic districts, and yet there is one out of three.  You don't make such fantastic shapes and then claim the demographics made you do it, cities made you do it, or even the devil made you do it.  And, in fact, in CA where we took the matter out of the hands of politicians and gave it to a committee of people of good will we got much more sensible districts, and more of the proper representation for minorities.  We saw Hispanics take seats long held by rich white people like Mary Bono Mack.  You may recognize her middle name, it used to be attached to her late husband, onetime singer US Representative Sonny Bono whom she succeeded after he was killed in a skiing accident, and then held onto the seat in her own elections.  So this white husband and wife were dominating a majority Hispanic/Democratic area and that wasn't fixed until someone we changed the game, and the bipartisan commission gave proper representation to the people the duo represented during their terms.

Democracy works when it's done right.  Before the bipartisan commission the House districts were decided for California by the US House caucus for the state.  No wonder nothing ever changed in our DC caucus though our state had changed greatly demographically.  I've seen differences in the Michigan state districts  and their US House districts that make me think the MI US House caucus chooses their own districts, too, and I suspect other states do as well.  How incredible is that?  It's like me going into Tiffany's and naming my own price!  "I'll take everything for $10, thank you!"   People need to figure it out.  They are having their democracy stolen from them.

And Pennsylvania has the worst Gerrymandering I've seen yet.  Folks, fix your state.  This can be done by petition, even without the approval of your Gerrymandered state legislature, and you don't have to wait 10 years as decided by the Supreme Court itself 10 years ago.  Even Chief Justice Roberts couldn't ignore that decision. Remember also that SCOTUS in 2003 said that Texas districts for both their state legislature and their House caucus could be redrawn in League of United Latin American Citzens vs Perry "for any reason".

Don't let anyone tell you that your state can't do redistricting again until 2020.  That's faulty reasoning at the least and an intentional lying at the worst.  Contact anyone who has some clout in your state and tell them you will help getting signatures or whatever it takes to get a proper redistricting done.  Don't let your state become like Pennsylvania where each voter is worth 1.25/5ths or 1/4 of a human being.  Don't let them make you into a worm to powerful and wealthy interests.  It is literally your ability to earn a decent living or even to not be killed in a war for another nation's benefit.

Shrot URL: http://bit.ly/18ZTP0a