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Monday, July 01, 2013

Griper Blade: How Gerrymandering is Forcing the GOP to Self-Destruct

It's not well-remembered -- mostly because the media didn't do much with the story -- but earlier this year the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) released a report praising their own gerrymandering efforts and giving those efforts credit for the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. In other words, they admitted to stealing elections. The organization poured money into state races, with the strategy of redrawing district boundaries around solidly conservative populations -- i.e., choosing voters, instead of voters choosing them. "The rationale was straightforward," RSLC's report bragged. "Controlling the redistricting process in these states would have the greatest impact on determining how both state legislative and congressional district boundaries would be drawn."

These lines were so unfairly drawn that Republicans kept their House majority despite the fact that the Democrats got 1.1 million more votes nationwide. Want to know why congressional approval ratings are so rock-bottom low? There ya go: we wound up with a House that's the opposite of what we voted for. The fact that democracy was thwarted doesn't have to be well-known for the effects to be felt. All that we have to know is that the House of Representatives is going in the opposite direction than that for which most of us voted. Not surprisingly, there are consequences to this -- and they aren't good for the Republican Party.

Politico: Some top GOP strategists and candidates warn that the ruby red districts the party drew itself into are pushing House Republicans further to the right — narrowing the party’s appeal at a time when some GOP leaders say its future rests on the opposite happening. If you’re looking for a root cause of the recurring drama within the House Republican Conference — from the surprise meltdown on the farm bill to the looming showdown over immigration reform — the increasingly conservative makeup of those districts is a good place to start.

The shellacking Republicans took in 2012 has triggered months of consternation that the party is too white, too conservative and too male. But tell that to the increasing number of House Republicans who are safely ensconced with nary a worry that a Democrat might unseat them in the next election.
But what they do have to worry about is a primary challenge from the right. By choosing only the most reliably rightwing voters to elect them, Republicans haven't given themselves a lot of wiggle room. These are the talk radio-brainwashed types for whom compromise is more than a dirty word, it's a crime. Republicans must toe Rush Limbaugh's completely unworkable line or be thrown out as RiNOs or "Republicans in Name Only" -- which is somewhere in the conservative spectrum between communists and people who deny that Obama's a secret illegal alien Muslim terr'ist...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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