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I Don’t Understand

07/26/2014

There are many things that I do not understand.  For example, I don’t understand why it takes years to build a road.  I don’t understand what makes window treatments cost so much money.  I don’t understand why women are so obsessed with shoes.  But, most of all, I don’t understand what happened to moderate politicians?  Maybe, they were a species of animals, like dinosaurs, that just became extinct?

No, wait — I DO understand what happened to them!  It was a political purge to get rid of “compromisers” or those people who aren’t true to the faith.  The tool used was called “redistricting.”  Unfortunately, the purpose of re-drawing the boundary lines of political districts every ten years, based on data from the latest population census, is NOT to draw boundary lines of each district that are “contiguous and approximately equal in population, not square miles.”  Theoretically, neither ethnicity nor past voting history should matter.  In fact, the ONLY thing that does matter is making the district SAFE for either an incumbent Democrat or an incumbent Republican.  Most Congressional district elections are determined in the partisan primary.  If it is a safe Democratic district, the Democratic primary effectively determines who will win the general election against a Republican, and the same process is true in safe Republican districts.  If I am running in a safe Democratic district, I need to appeal to left-wing voters and ignore the right-wing voters.  In that case, I would have to be a true-blue politician, who will fight everything the evil Republicans propose.  A moderate Democrat will not win the primary.  The same thinking is true if I’m running in a safe Republican district. A moderate cannot win the Republican primary.  Protecting the incumbent should NOT be the objective of redistricting . . . but it is.

If we don’t allow foxes to guard the henhouse, why do we allow politicians to draw these all-important political boundaries?  Politicians say that they represent the people, when they represent only their political party.  Some states have appointed redistricting commissions that have been no better, UNLESS their final decision is binding on the state legislature, which politicians abhor.  The alternative is to let the state judiciary draw political boundaries.  Because both political parties oppose this, it is probably the only semi-workable solution.  It could not be any worse.

Otherwise, we’ll have to see our moderate politicians in the museum . . . as fossils.

Maybe, that is not so bad as I understand extinction . . . better than I understand partisanship.

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