Category Archives: Redistricting

GOP is a Cancerous Entity that is Reactionary, Undemocratic, and Xenophobic

It has come to this. Today’s America (and Arizona)  is the result of 40 years of conservative southern strategizing, negotiating Faustian bargains with segregationist Democrats and the evangelical community. It is the result of dog whistle ads like the “Willie Horton” ad in 1988, obstructing two Democratic administrations on issues like infrastructure, healthcare, raising wages, and immigration that the people wanted. It is the result of gerrymandering congressional districts that give them majorities when the Democrats win the national vote, and embracing underhanded tactics with domestic and (in the case of 2016) foreign sources that “stole” the election from the people’s choice for President.

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The death of democracy is in our demographics, and our antiquated Constitution

Ezra Klein at Vox.com made several important observations about our democracy in a recent post about President Trump’s nomination of an associate justice to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court vs. democracy:

Such appointments are becoming the norm. With Justice Kennedy’s replacement, four out of the Supreme Court’s nine justices — all of whom have lifetime tenure — will have been nominated by presidents who won the White House, at least initially, despite losing the popular vote.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. America, for all its proud democratic rhetoric, is not actually a democracy. Until and unless the country chooses to abolish the Electoral College, it will remain not-quite-a-democracy, with all the strange outcomes that entails. Liberals may complain, but the rules are the rules, and both sides know what they are.

But the Supreme Court’s conservative bloc doesn’t just reflect the outcomes of America’s undemocratic electoral rules; it is writing and, in some cases, rewriting them, to favor the Republican Party — making it easier to suppress votes, simpler for corporations and billionaires to buy elections, and legal for incumbents to gerrymander districts to protect and enhance their majorities.

The Supreme Court has always been undemocratic. What it’s becoming is something more dangerous: anti-democratic.

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This Happened Because We Didn’t Vote!

Do you like the current events that inspired the drawing of these two editorial cartoons?

In the likelihood that you do not. Do you know how these cartoons came to be drawn?

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SCOTUS conservatives continue their assault on voting rights

After sending two gerrymandering cases back to the lower courts for further deliberation last week, SCOTUS punts on two gerrymandering cases, the Court had two additional redistricting cases currently under consideration.

The Court also sent the case from North Carolina, Rucho v. Common Cause, back to the lower court this morning as well, Supreme Court sends case on North Carolina gerrymandering back to lower court:

The Supreme Court on Monday sent back to a lower court a decision that Republicans in North Carolina had gerrymandered the state’s congressional districts to give their party an unfair advantage.

The lower court will need to decide whether the plaintiffs had the proper legal standing to bring the case.

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When a three-judge panel invalidated the map of congressional districts, it became the first to strike a congressional map on the grounds that it was rigged in favor of a political party [i.e., partisan gerymandering].

North Carolina has a past at the Supreme Court, with redistricting plans struck down as racial gerrymanders. So when the state legislature adopted new plans in 2016, Republican leaders made clear they were drawing the lines to help their party, instead of basing their decisions on racial data.

What these three remands mean is that Justice Anthony Kennedy is not yet ready to rule on partisan gerrymandering cases.

The conservatives on the Court did decide a racial gerrymandering case today from Texas, Abbott v. Perez (.pdf), in which a divided court split along ideological lines 5-4 largely siding with the state of Texas. Some disturbing opinions from Justices Thomas and Gorsuch suggested that the Voting Rights Act does not apply to racial gerrymandering in redistricting, in the conservatives continuing efforts to further gut the Voting Rights Act.

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SCOTUS punts on two gerrymandering cases

The U.S. Supreme Court began the day with 19 argued cases yet to be decided. This included two of the most highly anticipated cases of this term involving political gerrymandering, Gil v. Whitford (Wisconsin) and Benisek v. Lamone (Maryland).

Today the U.S. Supreme Court disappointed everyone by punting on these two cases. It was an anticlimactic end to these gerrymandering cases, which are likely to return in the future with additional cases moving through the appellate courts pipeline.

In Gil v. Whitford (.pdf) Chief Justice Roberts held that “The plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate Article III standing.”

The right to vote is “individual and personal in nature,” Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U. S. 533, 561, and “voters who allege facts showing disad- vantage to themselves as individuals have standing to sue” to remedy that disadvantage, Baker, 369 U. S., at 206. The plaintiffs here al- leged that they suffered such injury from partisan gerrymandering, which works through the “cracking” and “packing” of voters. To the extent that the plaintiffs’ alleged harm is the dilution of their votes, that injury is district specific. An individual voter in Wisconsin is placed in a single district. He votes for a single representative. The boundaries of the district, and the composition of its voters, deter- mine whether and to what extent a particular voter is packed or cracked. A plaintiff who complains of gerrymandering, but who does not live in a gerrymandered district, “assert[s] only a generalized grievance against governmental conduct of which he or she does not approve.” United States v. Hays, 515 U. S. 737, 745.

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Retired Air Force Colonel Hollace Lyon Offers a Consensus-Building Vision as a State Representative In LD11

Do you think anyone regardless of credentials can teach special education children?
❌ Do you think taxpayer money should be used to help upper-income earners apply for tax credits to send their children to private religious schools?
❌ Do you think it is okay for the state to tell cities and towns the voices of their residents do not matter when they decide by a 90 percent margin to require the names of campaign donors to be publicized?
❌ Do you think people should be charged with a felony if they help senior citizens who cannot walk to their mailboxes to mail in their ballots?
❌ Do you think the process of getting citizen-sponsored initiatives on the ballot should be made harder?
❌ Do you think it is okay for people to carry concealed weapons near or on school and college campuses?
❌ Do you think people can buy weapons without a background check?
❌ Do you think tax credits for the coal industry are the best long-term energy investment strategies for the state?
❌ Do you think it is anyone’s business why a woman exercises her right to choose?
❌ Do you think there were once I.S.I.S. training camps in the northern Mexico deserts?

If you answered no to most or all of the questions above, Arizona LD 11 State Representative Mark Finchem may not be the choice voters should be making this November because he subscribes to all the views listed above.

There is, however, another candidate that voters in LD 11 may should vote for:  Colonel Hollace Lyon, who is running on a platform consensus-building and fiscal responsibility that emphasizes, “Investing in Our Future, Protecting and Preserving our Communities, and Securing our Liberties.”

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