Ending Gerrymandering Is a Good Thing

It took Republicans controlling state legislatures and Republicans using that power to gerrymander state legislative and congressional districts to finally move judges to end gerrymandering.  Republicans in Congress ought to pick up the baton and pass a federal law ending gerrymandering at the state legislative and congressional levels for good.

How might that law read?  Something like this: "All state legislative and congressional districts shall be drawn to be compact, contiguous, and without intentionally granting partisan or racial advantage."  Actually, Republicans when they controlled Congress in the early part of the last century did pass such a federal statute with regard to congressional districts until the Supreme Court interpreted that law to continue partisan gerrymandering. 

Judges at the state and federal levels also rejected for almost a century every Republican lawsuit to end partisan gerrymandering by Democrats as an area in which state legislatures had constitutionally protected power to draw legislative districts as those legislatures thought fit.  The "crisis" of gerrymandering magically appeared only when Republicans gained control of most state legislatures.

Democrats used gerrymandering for almost a century to ensure utter dominance in state legislative chambers and in congressional districts through most of the nation.  Republicans often actually won most of the popular vote for their state legislative and congressional races but ended up with fewer seats than Democrats because of gerrymandering.  Democrats even bragged about the disenfranchisement of millions of Republican voters because of gerrymandered districts.

While ending gerrymandering in the 2018 election cycle would probably cost Republicans state legislative and congressional seats, this would be minimized because of the power of incumbency, which is routinely worth five to ten percent of the vote.  Over time, Republicans will be much better off if Democrat gerrymandering is banned because, like voter fraud, gerrymandering is the sort of nefarious trick that helps corrupt political parties more than honest political parties.

Ending gerrymandering would also end the absurdity of racial gerrymandering.  Sensible black legislators could still win elections, but they would need Republican as well as Democrat votes.  This, over time, would reduce creepy folks like Maxine Waters to irrelevance and impotence.

The reality of these long-term consequences for Democrats might lead many Democrats in Congress to actually oppose a federal bill ending all gerrymandering and leave Democrats in the crazy position of whining about Republican gerrymandering while at the same time opposing a federal law to end gerrymandering.  Certainly, the lunatic fringe of black congressmen would shriek madly at any attempt to end automatic re-election for their members and force these members of Congress to actually appeal to white and black voters.

Ending gerrymandering would also create a favorable condition for another important reform:  increase dramatically the size of the House of Representatives so that members of this body would be compelled to be closer to the people.  Originally, the House of Representatives had about one member for every 30,000 constituents.  Today, each House member has about 750,000 constituents, a number large enough so that only expensive media and huge, slavish staffs focusing on "constituent service" can win or keep a House seat. 

If gerrymandering were abolished and the size of the House of Representatives increased by a number large enough to truly allow congressmen to see and to know the voters they represent, then the prospect of having Congress truly reflect the will of ordinary Americans, rather than special interests in the Beltway, would be real.

Good government always favors Republicans over the long run.  Ending gerrymandering is emphatically a step in the direction of good government.  Republicans ought to embrace this reform and compel Democrats to either embrace it as well or expose their cynicism about having government reflect the will of the people.  Either way, Republicans win.

It took Republicans controlling state legislatures and Republicans using that power to gerrymander state legislative and congressional districts to finally move judges to end gerrymandering.  Republicans in Congress ought to pick up the baton and pass a federal law ending gerrymandering at the state legislative and congressional levels for good.

How might that law read?  Something like this: "All state legislative and congressional districts shall be drawn to be compact, contiguous, and without intentionally granting partisan or racial advantage."  Actually, Republicans when they controlled Congress in the early part of the last century did pass such a federal statute with regard to congressional districts until the Supreme Court interpreted that law to continue partisan gerrymandering. 

Judges at the state and federal levels also rejected for almost a century every Republican lawsuit to end partisan gerrymandering by Democrats as an area in which state legislatures had constitutionally protected power to draw legislative districts as those legislatures thought fit.  The "crisis" of gerrymandering magically appeared only when Republicans gained control of most state legislatures.

Democrats used gerrymandering for almost a century to ensure utter dominance in state legislative chambers and in congressional districts through most of the nation.  Republicans often actually won most of the popular vote for their state legislative and congressional races but ended up with fewer seats than Democrats because of gerrymandering.  Democrats even bragged about the disenfranchisement of millions of Republican voters because of gerrymandered districts.

While ending gerrymandering in the 2018 election cycle would probably cost Republicans state legislative and congressional seats, this would be minimized because of the power of incumbency, which is routinely worth five to ten percent of the vote.  Over time, Republicans will be much better off if Democrat gerrymandering is banned because, like voter fraud, gerrymandering is the sort of nefarious trick that helps corrupt political parties more than honest political parties.

Ending gerrymandering would also end the absurdity of racial gerrymandering.  Sensible black legislators could still win elections, but they would need Republican as well as Democrat votes.  This, over time, would reduce creepy folks like Maxine Waters to irrelevance and impotence.

The reality of these long-term consequences for Democrats might lead many Democrats in Congress to actually oppose a federal bill ending all gerrymandering and leave Democrats in the crazy position of whining about Republican gerrymandering while at the same time opposing a federal law to end gerrymandering.  Certainly, the lunatic fringe of black congressmen would shriek madly at any attempt to end automatic re-election for their members and force these members of Congress to actually appeal to white and black voters.

Ending gerrymandering would also create a favorable condition for another important reform:  increase dramatically the size of the House of Representatives so that members of this body would be compelled to be closer to the people.  Originally, the House of Representatives had about one member for every 30,000 constituents.  Today, each House member has about 750,000 constituents, a number large enough so that only expensive media and huge, slavish staffs focusing on "constituent service" can win or keep a House seat. 

If gerrymandering were abolished and the size of the House of Representatives increased by a number large enough to truly allow congressmen to see and to know the voters they represent, then the prospect of having Congress truly reflect the will of ordinary Americans, rather than special interests in the Beltway, would be real.

Good government always favors Republicans over the long run.  Ending gerrymandering is emphatically a step in the direction of good government.  Republicans ought to embrace this reform and compel Democrats to either embrace it as well or expose their cynicism about having government reflect the will of the people.  Either way, Republicans win.