On gerrymandering and the Fiscal Cliff “Deal”

Yesterday I saw a couple of people Tweet links to a study that indicated that a devastatingly high number of Americans believe that “politics” is ruing the country, to which I responded “Politics” isn’t ruining the country; these a******s and s***loads of money are ruining the country.”

But I left out gerrymandering, apparently. As we have seen take place in real time over the past handful of weeks—by way of this practice—political parties become entrenched in so-called “safe” districts, which has resulted in further political polarization. Instead of worrying that voters will oust politicians over bad legislative practices, politicians are safe unless challenged by ideological purists from within their own parties.

The primary benefit of the past month and a half of fiscal cliff nonsense, and the supposed “deal” that came together yesterday, is that people appear to be wising up to the fact that the result of 230 years of gerrymandering has probably been disastrous for “dialogue,” and it has developed in the GOP a disdain for participation and a debilitating obsession with purity.

Journalist Ronald Draper was interviewed on Fresh Air in September and he said: “I heard far less talk about how can we work together to achieve a solution and far more talk about how can I get my map redrawn so that I get the voters I want and I basically won’t have to take tough votes.”

Think Progress has crunched the numbers and have shown what this trend has developed by way of a growing disparity between popular votes and electoral votes.

I look forward to seeing if this issue remains in the public dialogue, or if it will be drowned out by the now never-ending talks on debt, fiscal cliffs and the like. After all, this is just the beginning of Congress, in the words of Guardian reporter Heidi Moore,  manufacturing non-solutions to manufactured crises.

Alex Steed

About Alex Steed

Alex Steed has written about and engaged in politics since he was an insufferable teenager. He has run for the Statehouse and produced a successful web series. He now runs a content firm called Knack Factory with two guys who are a lot more talented than himself.