Thursday, September 23, 2004

The fix is in

Henry Louis Gates Jr. explains that because of redistricting and racial gerrymandering, congressional elections in most districts are rigged in favor of one party or the other. And racial gerrymandering, while creating majority-black districts, has marginalized blacks left in majority-white districts:

The creation of black-majority districts was necessary when the Democratic Party had a monopoly in the South, and whites would almost never vote for blacks. But since 1990, districting deals between Republicans and black Democrats have led to political mischief. Shepherding black voters into black districts left other districts lily-white - and skewed to the right. You saw the consequences in 1994, when the House came under Republican control.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There have been very interesting articles written (NYT being one of the publishers) about how GOP legislatures increase the raw total of votes in rural, conservative districts by putting prisons there. You see, in the vast majority of states, inmates can't vote. But census tracks their numbers for population measurements. I know it's a nutty concept, but let's say a Republican-controlled legislature in Harrisburg decided to close, say, a major prison in Pittsburgh and transfer the cellblocks to another facility being constructed in the sticks or existing places such as Somerset.

The politicians could make local GOP committees happy because (1) increased local contracts for goods, services and construction costs at the new jail; (2) a great many young, poor, disproportionately minority people who, most conveniently, never get to actually vote!

Why, that kind of crazy planning would put major prisons in backwashes like Clearfield, Fayette, Northumberland or Wayne Counties? Even private prisons might be ordered for a major metropolis like Phillipsburg!

And the Dems wouldn't go equally nutty trying every measure necessary, including outright begging, to keep the inflated numbers and cozy contracting in their own districts, would they? Even micromanaging hiring at individual guard towers to keep the corrections union happy?

Naw. What am I saying? That would never happen here.

Well, at least we know there are no business interests at stake. We simply care about the men and women stuck behind bars, and hope only for a speedy rehabilitation.

7:17 PM


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