Structuring electoral districts for political advantage has a long and proud tradition in American history.
Did I say proud? I meant disgraceful.
It happens though, and it looks like in the face of a possible turn-around in the coming election, Republican governments in some states might be looking to game the system to avoid losses in 2012.
A Huffington Post article said “the Supreme Court on Friday night announced that it will hear oral argument to consider the constitutionality of Texas redistricting plans drawn up by a lower federal court.”
The problem being Texas failed to account for a rise in the Hispanic population, a group not known for voting Republican.
Another issue occurred in Arizona. An Arizona Republic article said the Arizona Supreme Court overturned Republican Gov. Jan Brewer’s decision to remove the state’s redistricting commission’s chairwoman. The commission is independent and thus
outside the governor’s control.
I’m sensing a pattern here. This is nothing new, but it doesn’t make it any less corrupt. Is the GOP so worried about its position that it’s rigging the system in its favor? Or is it just seizing its chance, since the redistricting only occurs once every 10 years?
The Democrats would probably do the same thing if they had the chance, so I’m not picking on the Republicans for the fun of it. Not just for the fun of it, at least. Though the temptation to rig the system while you’re in power is obviously present, politicians need to step above the temptation.
As soon as the opposing party gets a chance, they’ll probably try and rig the system themselves. So the benefits of not rigging the system aren’t very great, but they are there.
There is a fine line between proper redistricting and gerrymandering, and staying on the moral side of that line will resonate with voters, giving one party the moral high ground. That won’t make up for the moronic policies and gross mishandlings of the government, but it’s better then nothing.
This issue is almost as old as the nation itself and it probably won’t go away. Again, it doesn’t make it right or fair, but when it occurs it needs to be stopped. There are so many ways to game or rig the system that it’s about time of those ways were stopped. The incidents in Texas and Arizona are a good start, but more issues are probably going to occur.
Stopping gerrymandering won’t be easy, and there will be times when those who do it succeed; they have for decades. And it might seem like there are bigger issues to deal with – and there are – but it doesn’t mean those issue should be ignored. It might not rate high on the scale of corruption or unethical action but it’s still wrong and needs to be avoided and stopped.
Gerrymandering will still go on, there’s little question of that. Just as sure as other forms of government corruption continue, this one will as well.
Still, by preventing it when possible and making sure redistricting is done properly and fairly, hopefully we can keep the system a little more fair and a little less corrupt. In the great scheme of things it might not seem like much, but every little bit helps.