Apr 29, 2019
Drawing electoral districts to deliberately discriminate against voters of one party or another was just ruled unconstitutional by a 3-judge federal panel in Michigan. When redistricting was last done – after the 2010 Census – by the Republican controlled legislature and Governor’s office, the results went way beyond what was normal bias. One political scientist testified at trial that Michigan Senate maps “have more pro-Republican bias than 99.7 percent of all state Legislature maps across the country in the last 45 years.”
Damning emails submitted as part of the League of Women Voters lawsuit exposed the contempt for ordinary people that went into the redistricting process. One Republican email talked about jamming Democrats into only four Congressional Districts. This “makes it easier to cram ALL of the Dem garbage in Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland and Macomb counties into only four districts.” Another email said the goal was to “increase the black population in the black districts.”
The judges ordered the Republican legislature to produce new voting maps before Aug. 1, 2019 – meaning new voting districts would be in place before the 2020 elections. Republicans say they will appeal this ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.
This order for immediate redistricting is separate but somewhat parallel with a measure passed in 2018 by 61 percent of Michigan voters. That referendum aimed to set up a new system for redistricting that would lessen the control of political parties – starting in 2021.
Yes, gerrymandering is wrong and needs to be addressed. Yet it is an illusion to believe that drawing up “fair districts” will lead to “fair elections.”
The massive sums of money the owners of capital pour into elections will continue to allow them to wield political power. The gerrymandering that has become routine across the U.S. – with abuses by Democratic and Republican politicians alike – won’t be stopped for as long as the two party system predominates.
The old joke that the rich have, “the best democracy money can buy”, is funny because it is true!