Gerrymandering Killing Democracy One District At A Time

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One of the things that had me beating my head against the desk during the 2010 mid-term elections, where we saw tea party candidates sweeping into state houses, was the casualness with which many Democratic operatives shrugged their shoulders over their own ineffectual campaigning. Because, as trite as it is true, elections have consequences, and every ten years, the politicos in charge get to draw congressional districts based on the census results. When you allow Koch-beholden, ALEC-brainwashed, tea party candidates with few demonstrated critical thinking skills in charge of determining the congressional districts, you run the risk of losing progressives like Dennis Kucinich, at a time where we can hardly afford to lose another one. But moreover, besides the loss of sympathetic politicians, inevitably, the redistricting we're seeing isolates the poor and minorities by the processes known as ">"cracking, packing and stacking":

Cracking means dispersing a group of voters into several districts to prevent them from reaching a majority. Packing means combining as many like-minded voters into one district as possible to prevent them from affecting elections in other districts. Stacking occurs when low-income, less educated minorities are grouped together to create a perceived voting majority but are placed in the same district as high-income, more-educated white voters who turn out in greater numbers.

Many who spoke at the hearing said Republicans are lumping black voters (84 percent of African-American voters are registered Democrats, according to 2008 data from the state board of elections) in districts that will ensure minority representation. In turn, this aggregation would make it easier for GOP candidates to win in neighboring white districts.

Ben Griffin, vice president of the New Hanover County NAACP, called the plans "segregation for partisan advantage."

That kind of sneaky maneuvering kills democracy, plain and simple. Marginalizing minority votes, in combination with the voter ID laws cropping up around the country is putting us closer and closer towards that permanent Republican majority with which Karl Rove has threatened us for years.

Melissa Harris-Perry talks with NYU Constitutional Law Professor Kenji Yoshino, Republican strategist Katon Dawson and National Urban League President Marc Morial on this practice. Shira Toeplitz wrote on just how"> ridiculous the Ohio redistricting was for Kucinich and Kaptur:

The Buckeye State lost two House seats, and Republicans moved Democratic Reps. Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich into the same lakeshore district. But the two Democrats don’t exactly live next door to each other — more like 120 miles apart. So Republicans drew a thin district connecting their homes, stretching from west Cleveland to Toledo along the Lake Erie coastline. The district is connected by a bridge that’s only 20 yards wide, as well as by a single beach at one point. When Crane Creek State Park beach is covered during high water, Democrats argue the district is not even contiguous.


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