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Redistricting and “Gerrymandering”: A Fight for the Soul of Democracy

2017-10-06

The Supreme Court held oral arguments the other day on a critically important gerrymandering case from Wisconsin.

The facts of this case are these: the Republican Party of Wisconsin, buoyed by a big election win and a temporary legislative majority, took over the redrawing of that state’s district lines in 2010 and applied a computer program to yield district lines that assured them maximum bias for their elections.  The following election, in 2012, gave the Republicans, with 48.6% of the vote statewide, 60 of the 99 representatives in the state Assembly.  In 2014, they garnered 63 seats with 52% of the vote (figures are from Time magazine’s website.)  Similar tactics have yielded a federal House that is majority Republican despite a minority of voters.

Someone sued, and the case has wound its way through the courts for five years, now finally appearing at the Supreme Court.  This case is the reason that it was so important to prevent Barack Obama from nominating a Supreme Court Justice when Antonin Scalia died.

If this case is decided in favor of the Republicans, it will have a distinct negative effect on Democratic representation.  The Republicans will have more time to persuade people of color to vote white before they become submerged by the inevitable demographic tide of non-white people and suffer the fate of California, the first minority white state.

(I’m telling you there’s going to be trouble!  Right here in River City!)

 

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