How To Beat The GOP’s Election Rigging Gerrymandering Scheme
In state after state, a Republican party that’s deeply unpopular with the popular majority and fresh out of ideas that are good for anyone but religious fanatics and the rich, is relying on rigging the game wherever they can. This means that where there’s a Republican majority, they push to disenfranchise likely Democratic voters in every way they can think of.
One of the most successful methods has been gerrymandering – redrawing congressional districts however they can to give the GOP an electoral edge. The GOP’s widespread embrace of gerrymandering is a leading cause of their holding on to power in Washington D.C., despite not having a majority of support from the nation itself.
In Florida, Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis has now turned over his recommendation for Florida’s congressional districts. The court had previously found that in clear violation of the “Fair Districts” 2010 voter initiative, which prohibits gerrymandering, Florida’s Republican majority had rigged multiple districts.
The map which Judge Lewis recommended was drafted by the League of Women Voters, a proposal they labelled CP-1. The League worked by modifying the original district map, to give the least amount of changes while meeting the letter of the law. This does not fix all issues, but does at least do the most repair with the least disruption possible.
Florida’s Congressional Map – GERRYMANDERED VS. NOT
Here is the unconstitutional current congressional district map of Florida:
And here is the League’s now approved proposal.
There are alternatives to the League’s proposal as well. Multiple automated methods for redistricting are available, from the shortest split line method to Brian Olsen’s computer generated method. Because they are computer generated, they can handle districting without human meddling. Both options linked to here are available with their source code, meaning that independent audits can verify that the code was not tampered with as well. How well did the League do against these computerized systems? Lets compare against Brian Olsen’s system (source code available here).
While similar, the League’s district maps were designed to more clearly follow Florida’s city and county lines, while the computer disregarded those in its methodology. But that they reached similar conclusions in the key districts, those which were stretched out into strange shapes, tells us that the League of Women Voters hit upon the right idea with their proposal.
GOP In trouble
This change has put several seats at risk for the Republican Party. Because they gained those seats by picking their voters, rather than the voters picking their leaders, this is to be expected. This is significant because the damage done by Florida’s gerrymandering has been severe on the national stage. Florida’s Republican Party has caused significant deadlock in D.C., with members of the Florida delegation supporting efforts to shut down the government. Now we are witnessing the end result, wasted taxpayer dollars defending a redistricting plan which could never pass constitutional muster.
The Republican Party has degenerated at this point, and no longer recognizes that the political trickery it engages in is ultimately a failing strategy. By focusing on short term gains, they are ultimately destroying any long term future for their political viewpoints. But, all they have left are tricks, with no true policy in place. Single position elections work, once.
Continuing to campaign on the same same issues, and plans, over and over again causes voter apathy. Gerrymandering was a trick to retain power in the face of apathy. Now that strategy, too, is falling apart. So Florida Republicans are already seeking the next trick, packing districts with prisoners. The problem of course is that according to the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, prisoners still only count as 3/5th of a person. As such, this redistricting plan of theirs, to unseat popular Democrats, is already looking to fail.
This just shows what an ultimately flawed tactic Gerrymandering is, yet one the GOP seems unable to move past. Their reliance upon rigged districts should be a warning to them… With a voter base aging out and dying off, the Republican party as we know it is doomed to extinction. Unless they embrace the new demographics, there is no future for the GOP. And the sooner the people of other states where the GOP’s gerrymandering is an issue follow Florida’s lead, the sooner the GOP will ultimately reach that dead end.
The voters of Florida now will need to learn their new district number, and in next year’s election we will likely see Florida sending fewer Republicans to congress.
Cover photo by Renee Silverman
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