When discussing why the Republicans in the House of Representatives feel they can vote against a law granting a path to citizenship for the children of illegal aliens, children who, through no fault of their own, wound up growing up illegal in America, the analysts on National Public Radio noted that 75% of these Republicans come from districts which are so conservative and white that they are actually representing the will of their constituents, or at least in no danger if they vote against this bill.
Of course, as the demographics of the country change, voting against bills which are ardently supported by Hispanics or Blacks i.e., non whites, can, in a national election hurt Republicans, but all politics is local for Republicans. And how can this be? If the demographics of the country are shifting toward non white, how can the Republicans keep their death grip on the House?
This is a phenomenon which has to do with the details, and apparently the details play out this way: In a state like North Carolina, if you had a long, slender corridor which has a dense Black population, you can make that one Congressional district, so all the Black votes elect only one Representative, whereas, if these voters were not packed together, they would be voting in 3 different districts and their numbers would be sufficient to elect three Representatives to the House.
|Packing in North Carolina|
Or, in the case of Ohio, if you have a dense population of liberals living in a city, who could elect a liberal Representative, you can split these voters off and group a third of these voters in each of three surrounding conservative suburbs, so their votes are diluted and no liberal Representatives are elected.
|Cracking in Columbus Ohio|
So now we have not only the best Congress money can buy, but the most Republican Congress the Gerrymander can produce.
As a result, we can elect President Obama, but he is faced with a Congress which can block every action he recommends. We have a Congress which believes in austerity budgets, which froths at the mouth about the fictitious bogeyman of "budget deficits" and balancing the budget , a Tea Party House which digs in its heels, determined to block every attempt at governing. We have a Republican Congress which is committed to anarchy and the Tea Party Way.
And this process is aided and abetted by a Supreme Court which, as a political legacy of 8 years of President Bush, will continue to support the Tea Party for the next 20 years.
We have no easy way to fix any of this, but one thing is sure: If even the good guys, like Senator Jeanne Shaheen cannot be persuaded to vote to change the Supreme Court, then we are truly lost. The Democrats have looked into the eyes of the beast, across the aisle and they decided that the soft answer turneth away wrath. They have decided the worst thing they can do is to look confrontational, combative, unpleasant. They are confronted with a tiger and they pull from the scabbard at their side a large, white feather.