I believe in both majority rule and minority rights in the political arena, yet both seem to be manipulated in today’s America to the point that minority rule keeps winning the day and democracy is cynically cast aside.
In the U.S. Senate, where 60% of Senators are elected by about 40% of the people, filibuster rules no longer require the filibuster-er to actually show up. Senate Republicans—the minority—have exploited the no-show rule to routinely prevent Democratic legislation from ever reaching the floor for a vote (Majority Leader Harry Reid might have done something about filibuster rules by the time you read this, but…courage).
In the meantime, Democratic voters across America have been disenfranchised by new widespread extreme gerrymandering in states politically controlled by Republicans. In Pennsylvania, for example, Republicans won 13 of 18 Congressional House seats in 2012, but lost the aggregate popular vote, 2.7 million to 2.6 million.
So even though the new House received 1.3 million more Democratic than Republican votes, gerrymandering allowed Republicans to handily maintain a majority. Republicans enjoyed a 53.5% to 46.5% popular vote victory when they won the House in 2010. But in 2012, they only garnered 48% of the vote, yet lost just eight seats.
That’s what minority rule is all about.
One result: although polls show 55%-60% of Americans favoring a ban on assault weapons, and 57%-65% favoring a ban on high capacity ammunition clips, neither ban is given a prayer of getting through Congress.
America The Banana Republic.
In Lewisboro, we’re saddled with a newly gerrymandered 40th State Senate district that includes sculptured chunks of Putnam and Dutchess counties in addition to a curiously carved section of Westchester.
The district so created doesn’t look like a salamander: it’s a cat pouncing on a hunk of cheese.
Unfortunately, that cheese is called “democracy.”
To see the district map, go here: www.nysenate.gov/district/40 .
To compare it to the 2001 version, go here: bit.ly/T1hvQs.
Voter registration in the 40th favors Democrats over Republicans, 35.4% to 32.5%, but the actual voting tendencies of the Gerrycat’s anatomical parts were well known when the animal was created.
So this past November, state Sen. Greg Ball, who ran a sleazy, wholly dishonest “I-am-a-moderate” reelection campaign, even though he’s one of the Senate’s most doctrinaire far-right members, lost in Westchester, 48,384 to 43,767, but won in Dutchess, 5,161 to 3,243, and in Putnam, 15,761 to 10,476.
You really must see the district map to fully appreciate that virtually any Republican is all but assured of victory in the Gerrycat. Please: try the links.
BTW: Guess how Ball voted on New York’s new gun control bill.
During his reelection campaign, Ball bragged that “I partnered with Governor Cuomo” to bring wondrous good to New York. Yet the night the gun bill passed, Ball stated on the Senate floor, “We haven’t saved any lives tonight, except one: the political life of a governor who wants to be president” (and, “Good night, I voted no and I only wish I could have done it twice”).
In a Jan. 15 appearance on Sean Hannity’s fiction-fest, Ball also said, “You may be on drugs if you don’t think that Cuomo wants to confiscate (our guns)…And Gov. Cuomo’s staff will have more than seven bullets, I promise you that.”
Greg Ball, the voice of NRA minority reason.
Don’t you wish you’d been paying attention when Ball and fellow Senate Republicans were creating our Gerrycat-pouncing-on-democracy after violating their signed 2011 pledge to establish anti-gerrymandering legislation?
I wish I had (I’m not a cat-lover, anyway).
People: If we want to start fighting minority rule, we must get involved.
Good government requires citizens to be adults, which means taking responsibility for our actions and our society.
Each individual needs to find out what the heck is going on, not count on someone else to do it.
Because no matter how much we pathetic Majoritarians quietly fume (which is our usual level of actual involvement in local, state and federal government), the right-wing minority keeps getting its way.
To wit: We now have Greg Ball as our voice of reason in the State Senate for another two years.
And we have our Gerrycat until 2021.
Think about that.