There once was a thing called representative democracy, where voters chose the people who would represent them — at least in form. That form ends today as a perfectly partisan 5-4 Supreme Court determines that it is too much work and too hard to decide how to go from absolute Republican cheating to something more natural. Five of the great legal minds just can’t figure it out.
So now, states where more than half the voters choose Democrats wind up with state legislatures that have large Republican majorities, like Wisconsin does. And states that are split fairly evenly get 10-3 Republicans to Democrats in the US House of Representatives, like North Carolina gets. As Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., brazenly admits in his opinion:
As one of the two Republicans chairing the redistricting committee stated, “I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats. So I drew this map to help foster what I think is better for the country.” He further explained that the map was drawn with the aim of electing ten Republicans and three Democrats because he did “not believe it [would be] possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and 2 Democrats.” (citations omitted, bracket in original)
Understand what he is saying here: It is open season on “extreme partisan gerrymandering.” The fairest answer is for the “blue” states to gerrymander back. This is not fully satisfactory insofar as it does not cure the lack of representative democracy that the five reactionaries endorse today, but it brings the two parties closer to parity. If one is gerrymandering at this level, so too, must the other. Anything else would be analogous to the United States destroying it’s nuclear arsenal while permitting the Soviet Union to expand it’s arsenal.
Featured picture from video explaining how computers do ‘extreme partisan gerrymandering.’ Watch the video.
Justice Elena Kagan, and the three other Democratic appointees, spoke of the Court refusing to “remedy a constitutional violation” with “sadness”:
For the first time ever, this Court refuses to remedy a constitutional violation because it thinks the task beyond judicial capabilities. And not just any constitutional violation. The partisan gerrymanders in these cases deprived citizens of the most fundamental of their constitutional rights: the rights toparticipate equally in the political process, to join with others to advance political beliefs, and to choose their political representatives. In so doing, the partisan gerrymanders here debased and dishonored our democracy, turning upside-down the core American idea that all governmental power derives from the people…
Of all times to abandon the Court’s duty to declare the law, this was not the one. The practices challenged in these cases imperil our system of government. Part of the Court’s role in that system is to defend its foundations. None is more important than free and fair elections. With respect but deep sadness, I dissent.
We can be sad, but we don’t have to let Republicans roll over America this way. We must act to restore the long arc of history that is supposed to bend toward justice. Two things are essential: (1) Gerrymander back, and (2) Unstack the Supreme Court.
For decades, after the so-called “Reagan revolution,” opposition to the party of plutocrats has been disarmed by buying into the rhetoric of moderation, and the “both sides” nature of political debate — and particularly in the area of economic fabrications including American libertarianism and the Southern strategy. Today, the demons are out of the bottle. Polarization is here to stay for a very long time. The only language Republican oligarchs understand is force — to force them entirely out of power as the people smartly did from 1931 through 1947. We saved the world then. We can do it again.