Monday, May 18, 2015

Cheating




Christopher Ingraham in the Washington Post explains gerrymandering with one simple chart. Note how on the right the minority Republicans can win more house seats, i.e. win the House, and theoretically even the presidency.

Ingraham goes on to explain with examples that both parties are doing this, and that there is computer software that would take district drawing out of human hands.

He doesn't address the matter of minority representation. Courts have in some cases ordered some gerrymandering to create some districts that will result in giving minority populations some say in government.

In theory this is important, but as we have seen recently in places like Baltimore or New Orleans, when so called minorities get in control of government they adopt the values and policies of the ruling class and help them oppress the minority population they came out of -- i.e. practices like redlining, disproportionate policing, police violence and gentrification continue apace.

New Orleans is a classic case. Under Black city governments all public housing has been demolished, much of the Black population has been forced out of the city and the public schools have all been closed or converted to charter schools.

In other words, gerrymandering should probably be looked at through the lens of class, not race/ethnicity. Economic class. In the end its always the defining factor.







4 comments:

  1. Excellent civics lesson, I saved the image for later use.

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  2. I found it interesting also. One wonders a couple of things: does it work out the same for different, larger numbers......what does it do at equal percentages, although that's not that common.
    Another thing would be to look at a (relatively) socialist society with elections or similar representative instances, where they do a version of the gerrymandering. Do they show any variance in what happens in places like NO where a minority assumes the standards of the ruling class, vs their own cohort?
    A good PhD project for some poly sci grad student.

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    Replies
    1. Good questions! I can speak to the larger number, I think. Theoretically it would work out just the same. There would be some geographical barriers, and the way those are overcome, with the long skinny irregularly shaped districts, is what gave the practice its name way back when. A Boston paper combined the name of the governor at the time -- Gerry -- with salamander.

      As for your other queries, I don't know!

      Thanks for the comment.

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