Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Political Strategy

It's amazing what people in power will do, even going so far as to make the most unethical decisions that have no basis in law simply to maintain their power. Arizona lawmakers recently impeached an indpendent who was the chairman of the Independent Redistricting Commission.

What's striking about this is that it is the most brazen act in the current fight over redistricting going on in many states. As far as can be seen, there was no evidence given for Colleen Mathis's impeachment, and there are serious questions about whether the move was politically motivated.

The strategy for this year's redistricting process seems to be to cut out as much of the people's vote as possible and alter districts in such a way that Republicans will be the favored candidates in any election, regardless of popular vote. The implications are staggering. This is the first time in my memory that a group has coordinated such an effort to limit our democracy and deny people their rights.

The plan has a couple of different parts to it.

1. Pass legislation that limits people's access to the polls (in the name of preventing voter fraud), even when they are legal and registered voters. This targets groups that tend to vote Democrat.

2. Redistrict the states so that the Republican majority areas outweigh the value of the Democrat majority areas in the state (rather than striking a balance) so that the state is more likely to go red, even if the majority of people vote the other way. Gotta love that Electoral College.

3. Make sure that approval ratings for everybody are in the cellar. When the government is mistrusted and disliked, the party that mistrusts and dislikes government as a platform of their campaign wins. Republicans in Washington are sitting on their hands to make government ineffective, because it means they have a better chance at nabbing seats in the election, as long as people are ill-informed.

These are the three major points of the campaign. They deal with every aspect of voting in our nation: the laws, the districts, and the people. The laws limit who can vote and how, the districts are designed to reject the popular vote, and the people are being convinced to take on the party that wants to destroy the government that they say is ineffective.

This is America. Voting rights are right up there with education rights. It's what makes us unique to many parts of the world. Unfortunately, the pursuit of power has come between us and democracy, and our leaders are feeding this drive to disenfranchise the people and keep them from expressing themselves politically.

Now, consider if all of these measures come together and the Conservatives gain the upper hand in all branches of government. Consider the stated goals of this group, and consider the implications if they have no one to challenge them, or to keep them bound by constitutional limitations (which we already know they don't mind breaching). The results for our way of life could and (I believe) will be catastrophic. If they think they've got a problem now with protesters on Wall St. I wonder what they'll think when the majority of Americans realize they're vote has been silenced by the government.

Government must work in balance. It must have at least two opposing groups to maintain the checks and balances of political power and process. I don't think that Democrats having the upper hand in Washington is a good thing either. I think we need to let everyone speak and be heard. One-sided governance is dictatorship.

No comments: