A Way To Stop Gerrymandering: Another Way To Fix The Federal Government

So a friend an I were at a bar a couple weeks ago, I know regular readers of this blog would be shocked I was in a bar or had friends (one of those is sarcasm) talking about politics and ways to fix the government (because that’s what we do at bars, and might be why neither one of us has a girlfriend).  Anyway both of us are in agreement that the two party system needs to be destroyed and the power any political party has over the national debate or over any politician should be limited and while talking about Gerrymandering and how they create Congressional Districts and he, in a moment of scotch soaked brilliance, came up with a very decent plan for ending the Gerrymandering of Congressional Districts.  See many districts are arranged in a way to ensure that only one party will ever get elected or so a certain ethnic or racial group will always be in control.  This guarantee of power is not appropriate and is another problem in the US system.  I don’t like the idea of racial politics and they have no place in a society that is supposed to be color blind (yes some people are not but racism is wrong no matter who does it and we cannot smile and let anyone get away with it).  Identity Politics is inherently harmful to any society because we can never truly live as one nation as we segregate ourselves into smaller and smaller groups all the while antagonistic to any who are not part of the group.  OK I have gone over before my dislike for Identity Politics before and how I don’t care about race, gender, class or any other things we feel the need to use to distance ourselves from every one else and this isn’t about that.  It’s about Congressional Districts.

See in order to stop Gerrymandering we need to take the power to decide how Districts are divided up out of the hands of people who only want to use it for political gain (ie. every politician in the country) and put in into the hands of something that won’t or can’t try to game the system, a computer program.  After the Census is taken the number of people in each state is divided by the number of seats avaliable and you get average number of people each District should hold taking into account that it cannot always be even State to State.  Then after figuring out how many Districts each State is entitled to you begin dividing up the State into Districts using Zip Codes the number of people in the Zip Code and the proximity of Zip Codes to one another.  What this does is make sure that outside forces can’t pick and chose portions to make sure they can get reelected but also still have Districts that are represented by and voted for by people in a common geographical area.  Now since the program only tabulates population and geographical area it sometimes break up Minority and even Majority Districts (as in the White vs. Not White or Republican vs. Democratic sense, it also breaks up Districts that might be made up of one city because it might cut it in chunks and put them with other Districts) it’s not a problem because it forces the people running for the local District actually try to win the vote and really represent the people that live there.  Is this a perfect solution?  No, but it’s better than what we have now. What this does is takes the politics out of Redistricting and only relies on geography and numbers.  This also makes it easier for Third party candidates to get elected because the District isn’t automatically made so that either a Democrat or Republican will get elected.  Now that isn’t always going to be the case, sometimes it will still be a majority Democratic District but that will be because it just happened to work out that way rather than it was an intentional move on the part of politicians (aka, scum) to keep themselves in power and other parties out of power.

My friend who thought this up said that in order to make sure that this could be made and made well we should pay the people who could figure it out at least 4 times the going rate for creating a computer program, “Yeah we are over paying them like hell but it would be worth it in the end” he said.  I could not disagree with him on that.  One of the points I brought up why people would be against it  was that it might destroy many Minority Districts and since unfortunately Identity Politics – particularly Ethnic Politics –  is so prevalent in our system that many people would be against this for fear of losing power.  Both of us could have cared less because being Black or White or whatever else isn’t a political philosophy and while race might explain skin color while ethnicity might explain the food you grew up on it doesn’t control how you think and if it does you have bigger problems.  People should be elected on the power of their ideas and the strength of their arguments not the color of their skin and that is how it should be.  If you don’t like that I don’t care, but America is a nation of hypocrites.  It’s OK for a Black man to vote for a Black man because he is Black but if a White man does it it’s wrong.  No! It’s always wrong, at all times it’s wrong, no exceptions.  But some people do it, they vote only for people of their own race, or gender or class and they get angry when someone who isn’t part of their group does the same thing for theirs.  A  nation of hypocrites, welcome to America son, but I’m not going to play that game and the rest of you need to do the same.  Be an individual, a real one, not the bullshit kind that says it doesn’t matter that your skin or hair color is, job, how many tattoos you have or religion as long as you all think the same.  No be a real individual be you, and that’s it, find out who you are, in your own head and what you really think and believe because everything else doesn’t really matter and everything else is just silly.

Anywhoo, back to the point, we need to make this computer program and now.  It won’t fix everything but it’s a good start and along with my many brilliant ideas (some helped on by my many barroom conversations with my friend) for fixing the bullshit that is the Federal Government we might have a chance of saving this country from the bastards in DC and well, ourselves.

This is basically an addendum to an earlier post about fixing DC but I had more to say on this on and it came later.

I hate it here.

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11 Comments

  1. nice point – that happens globally and it seems to be a system that works but it does have its own shortfall.

    i think we see the bad bcuz the ones in charge fail n have their own agenda.

  2. Yeah they all suck and all have an agenda the best you can hope for it to throw them out fast enough that they can’t screw anything up that bad and move on to the next guy and do the same to him.

  3. Four times the going rate? Hey, if youv’e got so much extra money, send some my way… software to do redistricting is a topic that interests me. If you are curious, I’ve found a few sources online. There’s “Brian Olsen’s Solver redistricting” which I consider too random. There’s “Minimum Perimeter redistricting” and “Splitline Algorithm redistricting” which don’t take into account the borders of Cities and Counties. There’s no market for redistricting software. Half a dozen companies offer gerrymandering services based on their proprietary software. It’s probably a multimillion dollar market, as a safe seat is a lot cheaper than funding a campaign. Today’s gerrymandering software using voter records is so effective it scares me.

  4. I wouldn’t use voting records, only population and geographical location. I could care less about city or county borders as long as the districts are reasonable. I know there isn’t a market for it because politicians don’t want want to pay for something that could stop their BS. I don’t want safe seats, I want them to have to fight for them and the more competition the better. Granted I also believe in term limits for everyone, with the Presidency and seats in the Senate should be one six year term with the House seats being one four year term. Even with the term limits like that it won’t stop the parties from finding some way of only keeping their people in a seat even if they do have to rotate them through through Gerrymandering so this helps cut them off on both ends and potentially destroy the two party system.

  5. Good post. I’ve also heard that the size of congressional districts have become way to large. According to thrity-thousand.org:

    The framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights intended that the total population of Congressional districts never exceed 50 to 60 thousand. Currently, the average population size of the districts is nearly 700,000 and, consequently, the principle of proportionally equitable representation has been abandoned.
    The historical trend relative to our federal Representation is illustrated in the charts below. The vertical bar chart illustrates that the total number of congressional districts was increased every ten years from 1790 to 1910 (with a single exception). These increases were a direct result of the growth in total population as was intended by the framers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

    Note that the last increase in representation occurred after the 1910 census when the total number of congressional districts was increased to 435. It has remained that size ever since (except for a four-year period when it was temporarily increased to 437 after the admission of Alaska and Hawaii).

  6. One district for every 50 thousand people would give us over 6000 congressional districts with the current population. It would be nice to dilute power more but that might be a bit too much.

  7. It would be interesting. Currently, though the representatives watching over 800,000 (which is a decent little city) get caught up in the various special interests that are associated with trying to represent such a large population while ignoring the citizenry. Perhaps with a smaller base one would have the occasional politician that got put in a local district with UAW works and would represent their interest. HOwever, you’d have the other 6 politicians each representing their districts of regular citizens. Maybe one might get stuck in the slum district and he represents them, one in the rich district, etc. But the districts are getting their fair representation. With 800,000 the politician just ends up supporting the largest groups, organized labor, teachers union, chamber of commerce, etc. This isn’t representation….

  8. Very true, and having 6000 people in the House would make if very hard for them to come together on something, it’s just my natural dislike of politicians that makes me look at the idea of 6000 of them in horror. I think it’s better to find a way to destroy the 2 party system first and worry about that later, however we might be able to further the destruction of the party system by flooding the market with more politicians that are not beholden to a party. Granted having more will be more costly but I think we could mitigate it a bit by drastically cutting the salaries of people in the Senate and the House (something I think we need to do anyway).

  9. I like this idea, and I agree that the number of representatives needs to be increased, probably by to a 100,000 to 1 representation ratio or something like that. The thing is that this would also put more power back in the hands of the states and open up the possibility for more political parties to be represented. — thus forcing compromise and minimizing political buyoffs.

  10. You have a valid point. OK I will give you your 3000 politicians if we can keep them in cages.

  11. You have a deal. They are all mostly criminals anyway; may as well treat them that way.


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