Gerrymandering, just another tool in the Republican arsenal

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Recently in this space, I wrote about how the Democrats might be finally taking the “gloves off” as far as how they react to aggressive, and frankly borderline illegal maneuverings by the Republican Party. Specifically, my argument centered upon on the theory that Democrats merely put Christine Blasey Ford on the stand out of purely partisan reasons to embarrass and damage Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. My argument was: So what? It’s about time.

Also, I wrote a piece detailing the purely political and dirty tricks Republicans have resorted to as far as voter suppression, especially the recent suppressive actions in North Dakota, as well as Georgia. There’s a pattern here. It’s out there for all to see: The Republican Party will resort to whatever tactic they think necessary to maintain their power. And it’s not something that has emerged out of the blue. This has been a calculated effort, going back several years and election cycles.

Frankly, the Democrats have been left wondering what went wrong. And now, there’s a Supreme Court in conservative hands for years to come, with an upcoming election that will spell disaster if at least one branch of government does not shift control to the Democrats. Desperate times call for drastic measures and only by looking at what Republicans have done, and the length they will go to win will Democrats be able to fight back with the kind of vigor necessary for victory over entrenched Republican power.

To show how far Republicans have gone to assure majorities in Congress, as well as statehouses throughout the country, all you have to do is look at how they approached the concept of gerrymandering and how the Democrats were caught asleep at the wheel. An article originally posted in The Atlantic on October 28, 2017 details far better than I could, how the Republican Party capitalized on new technology to re-draw congressional districts in such a partisan way that they were able to gain control of several statehouses, as well as win more congressional seats.

What they were able to do bordered on surgical precision. The article likened Republican actions to “Moneyball,” the baseball book by Michael Lewis, which detailed the analytical approach by General Manager Billy Beane of the Oakland Athletics whereby statistical algorithms and other numbers-based data were used successfully to build the team to contending status. My point here isn’t to debate the merits of Moneyball type analytics as it pertains to baseball. No, my point is that the Republican Party saw how technology could help them and they invested in it. Heavily.

But to seize upon the new and substantially improved gerrymandering technology, the Republicans knew that they needed to act quickly to gain advantages at the state level. One of the first goals was to win control of vulnerable statehouses in purple states in the 2010 elections, which would allow them to grab ahold of the redistricting process, a process that sets the district’s political maps for 10 years. The result of this endeavor was a gain of over 700 state legislative seats.

One of the other goals was to concentrate on specific states’ gubernatorial races, which thanks to outspending Democrats by $300 million, netted them six additional governor’s mansions, including the pivotal states of Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Mission accomplished.

To be sure, gerrymandering is not just a Republican thing. Democrats have also used the process to their advantage over the years. It’s how things are done. But the length at which Republicans have gone to push the limits of constitutionality is breathtaking in its boldness. They’ve pulled out all stops, not caring whether their actions pass muster in  courts. In other words, it’s all hands on deck. Just win baby … just win.

While winning on the national level is paramount, we see with how the Republicans reacted to Barrack Obama’s overwhelming victory in 2008, gaining control of statehouses and gubernatorial chairs were of equal importance. It was a pretty simple plan: win governorships in crucial states … win majorities in those states and other statehouses … rig the districts for years to come.

Oh, and of course make sure that the Supreme Court remains extreme-right … indefinitely.

Again: mission accomplished.

So my message to the Democratic Party? Do what it takes. Do whatever it takes by any means necessary. No, not with violence. Violence is never the answer. I’m talking politics here. The other side has played you. They’ve played you and will continue to play you until you start figuring out that the only pathway to victory is to fight them toe to toe … district by district … precinct by precinct.

Cede nothing to them. Openly question their motives. Call them out for every lie and every misleading statement they make. If you need to push the limits on gerrymandering? So be it. Nothing is off the table as far as I’m concerned.

The mid-terms of 2018 are merely the beginning. A beginning to what I hope will be a more disciplined, confrontational, and win-at-all-cost Democratic Party. We have no way of knowing whether Democrats will have a good night on November 6. All I know is … they better.

Because like clockwork, Mitch McConnell just yesterday proclaimed that because of higher deficits, ‘entitlements’ must be cut. Yes, after a two trillion-dollar tax cut for corporations and the wealthy, he really did go there.

Of course he did. It’s who they are. They lied that the tax cuts will pay for themselves. And they’re lying now saying it’s the ‘entitlements.’

If those aren’t fighting words, I don’t know what is.

3 comments

  1. I couldn’t agree more. And here in PA, our Republican controlled legislation is voting on their bill to criminalize peaceful protesting because they are tired of citizens protesting (their words) against the ME2 hazardous liquids pipelines through highly populated areas and schools. These pipelines are built by Sunoco, which has the highest rate of leaks/explosions in the industry.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It never ends. This party is so off the rails. Since I see you’re from PA I do have a question for you. Did they not re-draw the districts there just a few months ago? I know R’s had rigged the districts to their advantage. Is it better now? Oh, and thanks so much for the follow!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My assessment of Republicans have changed over the past few years. Where once I thought they were simply Americans with different viewpoints than mine (but still Americans) I now think they’re nothing but a bunch of evil bastards bent on destroying everything that makes America a great country. Voter suppression, gerrymandering, obstruction, lying, propagating fear and conspiracy theories… it’s the only things they know. I agree and share in your hope that the Democrats must transform themselves into street fighters to knock the Republicans down. It’s not even a ‘gloves off’ thing anymore… think ‘dog fight’. I hope we’re up to it.

    On a somewhat optimistic note, I’m seeing something in the neighborhoods I’ve not seen since 2008 and 2012. There are WAY more Democratic political signs in the lawns than there are Republican signs… I mean an avalanche more… and that’s a good thing at least since it’s far better than if it were the other way around as it was in 2016. I know it’s just one or two areas in Ohio and hardly an accurate cross-section of voters in my state, but for years they’ve always presented me with what’s been a fairly accurate sense of how elections ultimately go around here. I think it’s going to be a nasty fight in Ohio on November 6. We don’t have it won yet but I get a sense that the Democratic voters are pissed… and that can only be a good thing.

    We MUST keep it going!! This is NOT a time to relax! We can’t win by thinking we have it won already any more than we can win by thinking it’s already lost. The only way we can win is to get out and VOTE!! Let’s show the Republicans that Democrats can indeed go to the polls in droves for midterm elections!! Through our votes, we need to break their noses and knock their teeth out.

    Like

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