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It takes only two things to keep people in chains: The ignorance of the oppressed and the treachery of their leaders..
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To “gerrymander” is “to divide a state, county, etc., into election districts so as to give one political party a majority in many districts while concentrating the voting strength of the other party into as few districts as possible.” (Dictionary.com)

You hate gerrymandering, right? It’s unfair. It denies the voting public the right to select its democratic representation.

Done “right,” gerrymandering can give a few thousand voters the same voting powers as a million voters.Image result for gerrymandering

Such a power ratio seems unfair and undemocratic on its face — except that is exactly how it is done in the U.S. Senate, the so-called “upper” body of Congress (for a reason other than prestige or power).

The U.S. Senate is one of the most gerrymandered legislative bodies in America. The 800+ thousand people in Wyoming have the same representation and voting power as do the 40 million people in California. How fair and democratic is that?

And that difference also is reflected in the way we elect the President, which is why the current President of the United States won despite losing the popular election by 3+ million votes — more than the total population of the least-populated 18 states.

So yes, gerrymandering is an anti-democracy scam we all hate because it unfairly negates the votes of millions of people. And, it is exactly what the Constitution prescribes — for the Senate and for the Presidential election.

I live in Illinois, a traditionally blue state. My Presidential vote is meaningless. It will have no effect on the next election. Whether I vote Republican, Democrat or 3rd party, all Illinois electoral votes will go to the Democratic candidate.

In short, I have no Presidential vote. It has been gerrymandered away from me.

Now, that we accept the principle of gerrymandering for some of our government, let us examine our outrage for House of Representative gerrymandering.

The research that convinced SCOTUS to take the Wisconsin gerrymandering case, explained
Updated by Nicholas Stephanopoulos Jul 11, 2017 (Nicholas Stephanopoulos is a professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School. He is also one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs in Whitford.)

In June, the Supreme Court agreed to hear its first partisan gerrymandering case in more than a decade. This case, Gill v. Whitford, involves a challenge to the district plan that Wisconsin passed for its state house after the 2010 Census.

The case also involves a quantitative measure of gerrymandering — the efficiency gap — that has created a bit of a buzz.

The efficiency gap is, in fact, a simple and intuitive measure of gerrymandering, and I’ll explain why in a minute.

For more than three decades, the Supreme Court has recognized that severe partisan gerrymandering can violate the Constitution.

(Gerrymandering violates the Constitution in the House and in State “House” elections. Not in the Senate or comparable bodies in the states.)

But until Whitford, not a single federal court had struck down a map on this basis. However, in a 2006 case, five justices expressed interest in statistical metrics that show how a plan benefits (or handicaps) a given party. The efficiency gap is such a metric.

Gerrymandering: Either a party cracks (that is, splits) the other party’s voters among many districts in which their preferred candidates lose by relatively narrow margins.

Or a party packs the other side’s voters into a few districts in which their preferred candidates win by overwhelming margins.

At this point in the article, which I urge you to read, the author describes the statistical methods available to measure the amount of gerrymandering in any state.

This presumably can provide the Supreme Court with what it has been missing: Measures by which it could set standards. (i.e., this amount of gerrymandering is O.K. Anything beyond is unconstitutional.)

Whether the Supreme Court has the political will to apply these measures is another question, entirely.

Professor Jowei Chen used a computer algorithm to create 200 state house maps. They complied with the Constitution’s one person, one vote requirement (because each district had about the same population).

As we said, the Constitution has no such requirement for the Senate. Where is the logic in having the requirement for half of Congress, but not for the other half?

The gerrymandering built into the Senate and the electoral college is a result, first of history. Each of the original 13 colonies was a nation unto itself, jealous of its power. To encourage the smaller (population) colonies to join the Republic, they were given the same voting strength as the larger colonies — in the Senate.

The excuse for continuing the system lies in the myth that the residents of each state have unique characteristics, differentiating them from the residents of other states.

But, while American voters do have unique characteristics — rural vs. urban, religion, race, age, wealth, etc., these characteristics are not marked by state borderlines.

The geographic majority of, for instance, Illinois, is rural, while the population majority is near Chicago. Much of the state more closely resembles Tennessee and Kentucky than the Chicago metropolitan area.

The notion that people in Illinois, as a whole, have individual and unique characteristics simply is not true. Illinois people are as diverse as are the people of the entire nation.

In summary:

If gerrymandering is unfair and unconstitutional, the entire U.S. Senate and the electoral college similarly are unfair and unconstitutional.

What are the solutions? What would make our government more representative of the people’s wills?

The elimination of the electoral college, with the President elected by the voters as a whole?

A merger of the Senate and the House into one deliberative body, with each member representing a given number of geographically adjacent voters?

Both would increase fairness and “one man, one vote” Constitutionality. But, a government body seldom votes to reduce its own power. Any proposed change would be evaluated by members of Congress according to “What’s in it for me, and what’s in it for my party?”

Any sort of redistricting will produce winners and losers, and even the winners will fear to be losers, later. So, Congress will do nothing to reduce gerrymandering.

Even the Supreme Court is not immune to this self-serving stance. I predict that because state voting patterns currently favor the Republicans, the right wing of the court will be much less willing to correct state gerrymandering.

The Court is as much a prisoner of political partisanship as is any Congressional, smoke-filled, deal-making room.

As a result of Whitford, there may evolve some slight tweaks to gerrymandering, but anything that dramatically would affect the outcome of elections is unlikely.

Gerrymandering not only is built into our Constitution but into our fundamental “winner take all” psyche.

One day,  a winner really will take all. Our gerrymandering will deny enough people their vote to produce a full-fledged dictatorship, from which escape is rare and agonizing.

It could happen sooner than you might expect.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty

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THOUGHTS

•All we have are partial solutions; the best we can do is try.

•Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.

•Any monetarily NON-sovereign government — be it city, county, state or nation — that runs an ongoing trade deficit, eventually will run out of money no matter how much it taxes its citizens.

•The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes..

•No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth.

•Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.

•A growing economy requires a growing supply of money (GDP = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)

•Deficit spending grows the supply of money

•The limit to federal deficit spending is an inflation that cannot be cured with interest rate control. The limit to non-federal deficit spending is the ability to borrow.

•Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.

•Progressives think the purpose of government is to protect the poor and powerless from the rich and powerful. Conservatives think the purpose of government is to protect the rich and powerful from the poor and powerless.

•The single most important problem in economics is the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Austerity is the government’s method for widening the Gap between the rich and the rest.

•Everything in economics devolves to motive, and the motive is the Gap between the rich and the rest..

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY