According to a new CNN survey more than half of Americans believe it’s bad for the country that the Republican Party controls the House of Representatives. The October poll found that 54 percent of those surveyed think it’s a bad thing that the GOP controls the House, and Just 38 percent say Republican control is a good thing. That’s a 13-point decrease from the end of last year.
Meanwhile, only 12 percent said that they approve of the job Congress is doing while 86 percent disapprove and yet, Congressmen enjoy a 90% reelection rate. So…nobody likes Congress but… everybody votes for their Congressman’s reelection…and that just makes no sense at all.
“We’ll vote the bums out!” Everyone says…and then no one does. Why is that?
We know that incumbents have always had advantages over challengers thanks to their name recognition, and the money advantage of interest groups who wish to curry their favor as well as the fundraising network they’ve built up from previous elections…but most importantly… there’s redistricting… or what has become known as gerrymandering, named after Elbridge Gerry, the 19th century Massachusetts Governor who had the diabolically clever idea to redistrict State Senate districts in Massachusetts, which resulted in the districts being changed in favor of the Democratic-Republican party.
And now fast forward to our last election more than 200 years later and even Governor Gerry would be amazed at how well his idea could actually work. Because in 2012, even though Democrats received 1.4 million more votes for the House of Representatives, Republicans won control of the House by a 234 to 201 margin.
How did they do it?
Well, back in 2002 Republican strategists like Karl Rove, created the Republican State Leadership Committee and their purpose was to focus on electing conservative Republicans to state offices. And according to Mr. Rove, “Republican strategists are focused on 107 seats in 16 states. Winning these seats would give them control of drawing district lines for nearly 190 congressional seats.”
Gerrymandering is not hard. The basic technique is to cram voters likely to favor your opponents into a few throwaway districts where you might lose lopsided elections. This is a strategy known as “packing.” Then however, the party in power arranges the boundaries of other districts to favor their own base of supporters in such a way so that they will always have the majority of votes necessary to win close victories. This is called “cracking”opposition groups into many districts. And in today’s world with the help of computers and advanced software, figuring out how to draw these districts exactly to one’s advantage has become quite easy…and once done, almost impossible to undo.
Why? Because your party would have to lose the election, that now can’t be lost, in order to change the district maps.
Apparently 10 states have been affected so far by extreme gerrymandering. 7 of them favor the Republicans and 3 the Democrats (yes, they do it too, just not as well) And the result is that in those 10 states the Republicans receive 7% more of the votes than the Democrats do, but with the help of gerrymandering, they win 76% of the Congressional seats! 109 seats to 62!
How’s that for representation…without representation?!
So…unless a whole lot of Republican voters decide to not vote Republican anymore or the United States adds a few more states to the union, The Republicans will have control of the House of Representatives until Karl Rove dies, goes to heaven and returns on the back of Jesus’ great, white steed. I’m assuming we won’t need Congress anymore once Jesus returns. Don’t ask me why.
So, the moral of the story?
Here in the states, It’s going to be a long and bumpy ride for quite some time.
Ain’t “Gerrys” government grand?