Saturday, March 10, 2012
Gerrymandering has been here in the country towards the very beginning, and is a good example of something that is unavoidable in government. Somethings cannot be helped but be used in this game we call politics. From the beginning, in order to create change, one must choose a side. Neutral gets people no where. This problem of having to choose sides is where gerrymandering comes from, because its all about manipulating the people around you so that your "side" has better players. After reading the article and watching the documentary, I have come to the conclusion that gerrymandering is the winner's reward, since both sides have the chance to get that benefit. Gerrymandering isn't agreeable and is very low, but hey, that's politics. Everything is about underhand deals and working the people you know to get where you want to be. Stuff like manipulating the public to your advantage is almost expected. So gerrymandering doesn't seem like a problem. Only the ones who don't get to choose whine about it. I don't think it should be changed, since it has served us pretty well. Its an unwritten benefit of being the majority. Nothing else to it.
Friday, March 9, 2012
One of the things we mentioned in class was how overwhelmingly "popular" the incumbent always seems to be in Congressional races, the video it specifically uses the example of a 70%-30% race, which makes it basically impossible for anyone but the incumbent to win. I was very surprised by the amount of people that had no idea what gerrymandering even is, considering most people have to take a class on government at some point in high school. I was also surprised to hear Gerrymandering dates back to the days of the country's founding fathers. Before the video I was naive to the amount of time gerrymandering had been around, but it certainly does make sense that the founding fathers did it, considering they trusted very few of the voters. The Gerrymandering concept is a tough one to tackle, and something should be changed, but the question is, "what?" One thing that I think could change is for a potential incumbent to not have authority over drawing the district lines, maybe for an independent third party to step in and have to approve it or do the redistricting itself. Another possible option is for a handful of other congressmen or to have the people themselves approve or disapprove the redistricting. Politics appears to be much more of a "contact sport" than what I anticipated with the "not letting another f***ing Asian in the district" and whatnot.
The "Gerrymander" law was established in order to ensure that the state in its entirety is represented in the House of Reps, but instead it turned into a political battle for who can tweak the system to make it easiest for himself. I agree that this is one of the unintended consequences of the law in that the law must have been passed assuming that the politicians would hold themselves to a higher standard. The fact that the congressman have been able to play with the system once a decade to ensure reelection makes sense of the fact that Congress has become more polarized and less moderate. If the district lines were drawn at random, as normal shapes (as the state borders are drawn) I believe that the candidates for congress would be more inclined to stay moderate to have to appeal to a more broad demographic, and it would also give any possible challengers a decent chance to win.
There is nothing in the Constitution that bans the act of Gerrymandering, so I do believe that it is constitutional, but that certainly does not make it an OK thing to do. Like I said before, I think the founders, among others, held the politicians to a higher standard and therefore did not expect something like this to happen.