277 Comments

I’m white(ish) and don’t want to be ruled by a small, white, rural and mostly male minority.

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I’m an old white male. I don’t trust the small white rural male minority

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Sadly I doubt they are all rural!

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Exactly same here!

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“ But it seems equally unlikely that an increasingly urbanizing, multicultural nation will continue to accept being governed by an ever-smaller white, rural minority.”

As an urban, white, middle-aged gal, I’m beyond ready for a true Melting Pot — we the people, ALL this time!

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I'm white (not ish) and I dont want to be ruled by a small white rural & mostly minority EITHER! I think thats a question for everyone - even more for women!

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I am predominantly of UK origin and I definitely don’t want to be ruled by a small, white, mostly male minority. Unfortunately I also live in rural California and am surrounded by Trumpbots and Qidiots.

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So if you want to see a change in redistricting policies away from gerrymandering, cracking, and stuffing--which all go on all the time despite laws against these practices--the only way to do so is to vote the people who engage in such activity out of office. That means your state legislators. Those of us living in urban areas in rural-focused states also have the added fun of being un-voiced because our Dem representatives are a minority in Rethuglican-dominated legislatures. We are forced to rely on the "kindness of strangers" to change that and it is likely not going to go well because, y'know, that racism thing.

Places like TX, where if the population that doesn't usually vote were to do so, have a chance to make that change. Change always has to happen from the bottom. Then we have to go after the limitations of congressional representation, which skews the Electoral College to those tiny-population states and will always do so unless we get fair representation.

Part three of what should be (IMO) the agenda: once there are enough people committed to democracy at the foundations of our political community, then we have to get statehood for DC, Puerto Rico, and all the other territories that make up our imperial holdings: either they become states or we let them go. The continued domination of small islands throughout the globe for the purposes of tax sheltering and exploitation is a crime. The continued disenfranchisement of people living in Washington, DC is a crime.

We know that the Ghastly Obstructionists and their fascist agenda will resist all of these steps. That is why it has to start at the bottom: on the local level. And that is also why this is a long process, one that cannot be accomplished in a few short years.

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Agree with every point of this 3 tier plan. Especially Part 1 coming up in 2022. A focus on state legislatures is crucial. There are many Republicans already considering not voting “red” in 2022. And a few have mentioned to me their desire is not to “switch parties” but vote for strong NPA or Independent party candidates. And then NPA (no party affiliation) voters complain about the primary setup and not having any voting influence on who might end up representing them.

But I think the state legislator contests is where change must begin. It is a long process. But way overdue.

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I agree with all your points but also reply that, for better or worse, perhaps mostly worse. we have a political system that heavily favors maintaining only two dominant political parties. There are too many guardrails, rules, and electoral idiosyncrasies in American politics to expand on them here at length. However, the reality of our system is that it is a two-party system quite literally from its founding. So, for all those who are considering NPA or independent candidates, I admire your aspirations but also remind you to WAKE UP. If you want changes in the system, get those candidates to run as Democrats and organize and support them. Yes, I admire much about the few independents who make it to Congress, but in order for them to accomplish anything, they must align themselves (caucus with) one of the major political parties. Hopefully, that will be the Democratic Party. So in the end they are really Democrats who simply chose a more difficult path to get there.

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Good Morning Linda, Please don't lump all islands together into one. Although I lived in Missouri, for many years, I have resided on St. Croix, US Virgin Islands since 1997. Please do not get the USVI (think Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett), mixed up with areas which are not under the US flag. https://www.ncsl.org/Portals/1/Documents/magazine/articles/2018/SL_0118-Stats.pdf

I follow Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler of Missouri's 4th District both because I knew her long before she went into congress and to continue to get an idea of how rural white people are thinking. It is rather appalling to read the comments on her posts much of the time. While Congresswoman Plaskett is a non-voting member of the house, I'm glad to have her working for the USVI and for the USA. You probably don't really want to cut us loose.

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But Linda, wouldn't you rather that your congresswoman be able to represent a STATE rather than a territory? Wouldn't you rather that your neighbors actually get a voice? I am not saying that the USVI is not a valuable component in the US. I am saying just the opposite: all territories should have the opportunity to vote to become states, given full citizenship rights, and elect two Senators and have membership in the Electoral College. And if a territory (American Samoa for example) decides it would rather be its own country, they should have the chance to do that--and be financially supported in that transition. It's not about "cutting people loose." It's about fairness.

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With a population of 100,000 the USVI cannot hope to become a state. If PR gains statehood, then we might become a "branch" of PR but that would mean loosing most of our identity. Statehood for very small areas will not occur because existing states certainly won't want to see areas like ours with two senators and at least one voting representative. Becoming an independent nation is not economically viable nor do most residents want that. It is very difficult to have a clear idea of what is happening in areas, such as ours, that few statesiders have visited except on vacation or a cruise. That is rather like some of us commenting on what should be happening in Sedalia or Warrensburg.

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Linda Mortland: This late response has nothing to do with the content of your post, but rather the odd coincidence of your name. My wife of 49.5 years, Linda Kay Stavig Mortland, passed away on Jan. 14, 2015. So, when I saw your name, my scanning mind halted abruptly and went back to look again. What an unusual coincidence. If you'd like to expand this conversation, perhaps we can find a way to exchange addresses?

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You are so right Linda. We need to keep focused on the outcome and it will be a long process.

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I listened to Ezra Klein's most recent podcast today "How Identity Politics Took Over The Republican Party", I realized the only way out is to form an alliance with non-Trump Republicans. I think it would be best if they formed a break-away party so we could play parliamentarian government and break the tyranny of minority rule.

That's what I'm thinking about this weekend when I'm not thinking about the movie Coda. What a beautiful piece of work at the perfect time....but I digress....again.

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Will we amend the Constitution enabling us to switch to a parliamentary form of government before the end of the century?

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No, I don't think so. If it happens it will be organically born out of frustration with a system with one political party and one political cult.

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Absolutely right about the importance of state legislatures. Republicans were very smart about them leading up to the 2010 elections by having a game plan, called RedMap I believe, well executed by then RNC Chair Michael Steele (a smart Republican whom I grudgingly respect), where they quietly flooded state legislator races around the country with immense cash, and won majorities of legislatures in the majority of States. They were then able to create legislative districts that tilted Republican in all those states, and have benefitted since. I really wish Dems could pull off a few plays like that, before we fully succumb to the madness that Republican policies seem based on (climate catastrophe, racial war, armageddon, etc. etc.).

So I agree with you there. But I've got to say, statehood for Washington DC doesn't seem likely. Even though I would love the added Democratic seats in the Senate, turning a single metropolitan area into a state goes against my innate sense of balance. The idea was picking up steam this past Spring though, when Democrats gained control of Congress. But the wind in its sails died down right around the time I saw the Republican response, which was to make the city part of Maryland, with a smaller Federal District just for the places containing the buildings that house the most important functions of national government. That feels like a more common sense way to give DC residents representation, and more likely to win the day if the issue is forced.

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Political considerations aside, making DC a state is quite reasonable based on its population size, which is larger than that of Wyoming.

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Sure, but several cities have more citizens than Wyoming, they don't get to claim statehood. I don't think that argument has legs is all I'm saying. The issue with statehood for DC is framed around representation for its residents in Congress. When I saw the Republican response to incorporate most of the city into the state of Maryland, it made sense to me at a gut level, and I haven't seen a counter-argument to it yet. I have trouble thinking of one myself.

Believe me, I'd much rather have Democratic rule over Republican. Not saying D's are perfect, just preferable.

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"A long process, one that cannot be accomplished in a few short years," you write. I don't know the ages of those that make comments on here, but I suspect most of us are retired or otherwise at a point where we will not be around to witness the results of that "long process." Can democracy in America survive that long?

Some people who live in a totalitarian, authoritarian, state ultimately reach a point where they can take it no longer and, as occurred in Europe during WW Two, go "underground" or go into the woods becoming "partisan" fighters. Even in Nazi Germany, there was a "White Rose" movement, most members of which were caught and executed. I hope we do not have to reach that point in preserving democracy here.

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This census could be among the least accurate in the modern era, thanks to Covid, unauthorized immigrants laying low, and the Trump administration's political meddling. Speaking of meddling, the NYT this week disclosed how Trump's most serious machinations failed thanks to key Census Bureau staffers fighting back. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/12/sunday-review/census-redistricting-trump-immigrants.html

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Michael, You bring up a key to democracy's survival and greatly needed improvement here in the USA -- key 'staffers', bureaucrats, elected official and citizens are fighting against the lies, conspiracies, racism bigotry, self-interest, corruption and autocracy. We are dealing with a lot of bad news and need to face reality -- part of that is the good work and commitment we are making to democratic principles and a civil society.

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It would be nice if congress voted to redo the census count in a couple of years, since the 2020 census most likely is not accurate. Just a wish.

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Today, I received notice of payment, after my first year, of my subscription to your truly wonderful articles, HCR. What an extraordinary year to have been in your company and that of your followers. I start each day with your clear assessment of events, I rage and wonder with the respondents. Thank you!

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Having coffee with Heather first thing in the morning has literally been what's gotten me out of bed since I started reading her a couple of years ago. She has given me hope when I couldn't see any. And since I've been on this subscription, I know how many people agree with her who also know the ins and outs of government. I feel like she's my new best friend!

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C'mon, Dr. Heather, a long solid discourse on the census of 1890 is just what this crowd desperately needs, and they'd like it.

The longer the House goes unreformed as regards membership, the more corrupt it gets. We are in a similar position to England in 1830-32, in the great battle over Parliamentary representation that resulted in the Reform Act of 1832.

If we took the representation level of 1912, there should be around 1,400 members of the House.

The English Reform act was as close as they came to an out-and-out Revolution in the 19th Century - a riot over representation in Bristol in 1831 resulted in 109 deaths and property damage of 300,000 pounds (in comtemporary finance - around 5 billion today).

And our Tories would fight such reform with the same tenacity their English forebears did. For the same reason - they need their "rotten boroughs."

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Let me have the honor of calling attention to TCinLA's piece last night [8-12-21] on the census and gerrymandering:

"Almost all population growth nationwide was due to growth in minority POC communities. The Republicans, as the White People’s Grievance Party, have even more reason to monkey with the structure of how political decisions are made, since they represent the community that is losing voters."

"All of this means that when the Congress reconvenes in September, voting rights legislation MUST BECOME THE TOP PRIORITY."

https://tcinla757.substack.com/p/let-the-redistricting-wars-begin

Which begs the question asked and answered by the intrepid trooper Marc Elias and Democracy Docket:

"What can I do to ensure my state draws fair maps?

There are many Democratic and voting rights groups fighting to ensure that fair maps are drawn all across the country. All On the Line is one, and they’re working on getting grassroots volunteers involved in the process in every state. You can find a volunteer opportunity near you on their website."

https://www.democracydocket.com/2021/08/what-does-the-new-census-data-mean-for-voting-rights/?emci=17404527-7cfb-eb11-b563-501ac57b8fa7&emdi=b7ef4fe1-97fb-eb11-b563-501ac57b8fa7&ceid=12481454

https://www.allontheline.org/

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Thanks, Ellie. I'm not much of a "people person" but I've signed up, and will give it my best shot.

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Ditto Pete.

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Thanks Ellie. Love The Democracy Docket and Marc Elias!

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Excellent Ellie! In Michigan it was We The People, All of Us This Time, who got the nonpartisan Redistricting Commission proposal on the ballot in 2018, and got it passed, and today the fairly appointed commissioners begin their work of making Michigan an honest state, appropriately representing us all (even if we did lose one delagate to The House). You The People Can Do It Too!!

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And with "rotten boroughs" too as you rightly say...seats "owned" by the local property owning wealthy as they controlled the extremely small number of voters by fear or social, financial, family or historical pressures. No different from what's happening in many parts today. It took a while for them to be closed down. 1832 started the job but it took well into the 20th C to finish the job for "even" women and "unpropertied" men to vote The job is still going on in England as the political districts are just now catching up with the disappearance of heavy industry in the North .......that is Birmingham and upwards and including the lowlands of Scotland.

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When you mentioned “seats “owned” by the local property owning wealthy,” I immediately thought of McConnell. The poverty I saw in Kentucky on service trips I chaperoned for a Catholic school was widespread and crushing. And it went hand in hand with low levels of education, unsafe housing and poor health. McConnell is corruption and evil personified. Horrible, deplorable man.

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"Horrible", "deplorable" are the nice words. I'd add f*&ker, and evil a@#hole.

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Thanks for this bitter reminder of the blatant yet often hidden disparities in our nation. Caused me to consider that, albeit both being old white guys, Sen’s Bernie and Mitch appear to represent opposite interests in our social spectrum. Bernie = generosity

Mitch = control

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Yes, excellent analysis.

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My thoughts exactly TC.

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TC.....I have a question, totally unrelated to today's discourse but I know you are an expert historian. I have started to realize that while I think I know a great deal about WWII, I have very little knowledge of WWI. Would you recommend a book or two that you think highly of? Thanks.

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Ahah! Books on World War One you should read is a partular specialty of mine. Here they are, with why:

Barbara Tuchman: "The Guns of August" - the first great book on the topic. Tuchman "crossed a line" by being a woman treading in this territory, and her work was a total eye-opener. Other books have come since with more specific detail, but this one you can re-read (I have, four times) and get something new every time.

Robert K. Massie: "Dreadnought: Britain, Germany and the Coming of the Great War" - the best one-volume military/diplomatic history of Europe between Waterloo and the outbreak of war in 1914, seen through the lens of the increasing competition between Britain and Germany over naval development (but it's a whole lot more than boats). Another book one can profitably read more than once. The final chapter, of how events played out between the assassination of the Archduke in Sarajevo at the end of June and Grey writing in his diary "the lights of Europe are going out; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetimes" the first weekend of August is worth the price of admission alone (and everything other chapter is equally good).

Sir Max Hastings: "Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes To War" - the lead-up top the outbreak and the first months of war before it settled into stalemate. (If you see any history book with Sir Max's name on it, it's going to be good and worth you purchasing it - he's my model for history writing).

Margaret MacMillan: "The War That Ended Peace" - a new work, with a lot of new information, very skillfully woven. The book is heavy-duty history and yet has become a best-seller.

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Thank you! I knew you would have a great list.

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I haven't read the other authors but have read a fair number of Tuchman's work - she's very readable. She received a Pulitzer for "The Guns of August" (and another for "Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45", my favorite of her works).

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BTW - these are all 'big books" - the size and weight of large bricks. Massie is almost 1,000 excellent pages.

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And a further point: it's really impossible to understand the modern world without understanding the Great War - the events of the war and the issues created through the fall of three empires (Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary) affected history for the rest of the 20th century and beyond, since so many of them were unresolved, first leading to Act Two - the Second World War and then being "put on ice" for the 45 years of the Cold War, to come out of the freezer and reactivate in our times.

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Thank you, TC. You answered my question.

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TC, Why these books -- WW I -- 'especially now'?

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Because I asked him for a list. Full disclosure, I've started to get hooked on Downton Abby (never watched it before) and it reminded me of how little I know about WWI.

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My question Annette, was how these books concerned with WW 1 were particularly relevant at this time. He answered that in a subsequent comment. At first, there was his list of books, which seemed come out of the blue. Clearly, he was responding to your request, and then indicated another good reason to read them.

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Widely credited with being the most successful political party ever...and one of the oldest. An absence of a too restricting ideology and a great sensitivity to self-interest helps. They have always managed to "morph" with issues arising on their end of the political spectrum and have never been afraid to stand on their heads when it comes to acceding to or maintaining political power. It takes an awful lot to displace them. Current opposition is somewhat frayed at the edges...and somewhat confused in their fundamentals.

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Yes, another excellent explanation and analysis.

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What did the Red victory change. russia remains as always a monarchist, conservative nation .

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Gorbachev was a decent man. His economy was bankrupt. He had no choice. Putin stopped it totally falling apart....unfortunately for us and them.

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I would love to see a whole post about the 1890 election.

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If that was a teaser for a future post, it worked for me too.

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Not election, The 1890 census.

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6 Wisconsin voters filed a Lawsuit today in Madison Federal Court seeking to throwout WI's exsting maps as unconstitutional & to prohibit them from being used to start the re-districting process. Fundamental Fairness (due procees) is a relevant inquiry as well.

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We need more voters like the Wisconsin 6!

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There are 'more voters' many more voters. We will need a couple of weeks to review the multi-state Actions.

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Oh, please, don't spare us. Do write a post about the 1890 census ;)

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Yes, please.

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A post on the 1890 census would be most welcome, particularly if it provided what you provide all the time: an historiacl illumination of what we need to be aware of today.

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Interesting to read a post from HCR on the census and redistricting that never mentions gerrymandering. The problem is not just that smaller, rural states have disproportional clout in Congress and the Electoral College. It is also that state legislatures use gerrymandering to draw district lines that favor political parties. Although there are a few states where Democrats have gerrymandered to their advantage, the vast majority of gerrymandering today takes place in red states, to the advantage of Republicans. For just one example, in 2020 2.66 million voters in North Carolina voted for Democrats while 2.63 million voted for Republicans (50% for Dems versus 49% for GOP). Despite that Democratic majority, Republicans ended up with 8 Congressional seats versus 5 for Democrats (38% for Dems versus 62% for Republicans). This is because district lines were drawn by the Republican state legislature to give an obscene advantage to Republicans. Gerrymandering, which is clearly unconstitutional, was recently challenged in the Supreme Court. The Republican majority on SCOTUS found that gerrymandering is just fine, no problem here. Now that the census is out, Republicans in red states are hastily redrawing district lines so that they will “win” Congress in 2022, no matter that they will win far fewer votes. It’s not just the distortions of the 1920s favoring rural, white states that enables minority rule in our “democracy”, it’s gerrymandering (and voter suppression) as well.

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And remember, the House passed a bill to make Washington DC a state. The Senate, led by Moscow Mitch and a host of disgruntled pols, shot it down. Perfect sense, right? More people live in DC than in Wyoming or Vermont. White folk will soon be a minority but will continue to be in control.

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The right wingers who rely on rural white (and not-always-white evangelical) voters are already a minority with far too much control.

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Mitch will block anything that takes power away from the GOP. That’s why the For the People bill (which outlaws gerrymandering, amongst other voter protections) won’t be allowed to pass. And why Mitch will never allow DC to become a state. The GOP is an anti-democratic force.

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If only Mitch would pass...

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My friends and I raised a glass at Scalia’s passing, not in commemoration, but in gratitude. For McConnell we will express our gratitude by raising many glasses.

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Here's hoping we all outlive the b*****d!

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This is why we need to get rid of districts. Period. And count the votes - one person, one vote.

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Cracking and packing = gerrymandering

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What a concept by Karen Fields and Barbara Fields to factor wealth into redistricting.

Imagine the subsequent modification. From this:

"...it seems equally unlikely that an increasingly urbanizing, multicultural nation will continue to accept being governed by an ever-smaller white, rural minority."

To this:

It seems unlikely that an increasingly urbanizing multicultural middle class nation (99%) will continue to accept being governed by an ever-smaller (1%) white upper class uber-wealthy minority.

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I think this gets a little closer to accuracy. Representatives of rural areas may have outsized power, but to say that white, rural people benefit doesn’t necessarily follow. Economic decline (factories leaving New England in the 1970s, for example), high representation in the military (one way to get out and get a good job), addiction, obesity, lack of affordable housing—all of this is having an impact on people who live in traditionally rural areas.

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That’s what the “culture wars” are for: convince rural voters to ignore economic realities and vote for white supremacy.

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Sadly, convincing.

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!!!!!!!!

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This Letter is still another of Dr. Richardson's simple, straightforward, and knowledgeable explanations of a complex process which is crucial to Americans, and which should be required reading. (Has she written about this before? She constantly makes me hungrier to learn the important history of my country!)

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"Happy Birthday Social Security! You’re looking great at 86 years!!” Est in 1935, by FDR.

I wish I could say the same for David Crosby, who turns 80 today; Steve Martin turns 76.

That means a lot of us who love our social security were doo-whopping 50 years ago to “Suite Judy Blue Eyes.” And I still do! Cue the “turntable” and let’s sing along!

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Aw, shut up and stay in line, as we all march to the tar pits.....

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I see David and Steve up there ahead of us.

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Speaking of CSNY, the sad lyrics from Cathedral 1977 echo...

"Open up the gates of the church and let me out of here

Too many people have lied in the name of Christ

For anyone to heed the call

So many people have died in the name of Christ

That I can't believe it all"

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Indeed; very poignant and sad, but true

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👍

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The Census, Redistricting, and Critical Race Theory

We now have the results of the 2020 Census and ... no surprise, our country has gotten considerably more diverse, younger, and more urban. So what does that mean for redistricting? It should mean that our representation in Congress is more representative of that younger, more diverse, and more urban population. However, with Republicans in positions of control in many states what are the odds that is the way it turns out?

OK, let's turn for just a moment to the relationship between Critical Race Theory and redistricting. Critical Race Theory (CRT), unlike what Conservatives contend, essentially says that racial discrimination is systemic in America due to our history of racial bias. It is important to understand the difference between systemic racism and individual racist tendencies. Systemic racism is not about those individual biases and prejudices. Sure, those individual biases exist but that is not what CRT is about. Rather CRT recognizes that many aspects of society such as residential housing, education, employment, and yes even Congressional Representation continue to reflect our history of racial discrimination in America. That is to say that some races that have been historically discriminated against, continue to suffer unequal treatment by and within those aspects of our society.

So despite Republicans' outcry about wanting to ban any discussion or recognition of CRT, they are about to prove its very existence by reflecting that historic discrimination in the process of redistricting by deliberately redrawing Congressional districts to underrepresent that more diverse, younger, and predominantly urban population.

So when Republicans try so hard to suppress any discussion of CRT, what they are really doing is advocating for the systemic discrimination that CRT was supposed to expose and explain. Thus they will prove the very need to have discussions about CRT.

And, by the way, among the most vicious and ugly forms of systemic racism and discrimination is depriving people of representation in their government. It seems something about that was the reason our founders sought their independence from Britain when our country was formed. I seem to remember something about taxation without representation?

I guess that says something about Republicans' respect for our history and the founding principles of our country despite any protestations to the contrary.

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WOW: "So when Republicans try so hard to suppress any discussion of CRT, what they are really doing is advocating for the systemic discrimination that CRT was supposed to expose and explain. Thus they will prove the very need to have discussions about CRT.

And, by the way, among the most vicious and ugly forms of systemic racism and discrimination is depriving people of representation in their government. It seems something about that was the reason our founders sought their independence from Britain when our country was formed. I seem to remember something about taxation without representation?" Yes, THIS.

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As with so much of the Republican agenda, the real evil and intent often are not revealed until you pull back the covers.

I have been in the fights for equality, against poverty, dignity for all, preservation of our natural resources and the earth, educational opportunity, improved access to healthcare, and affordable housing for so long now ... over 50 years. Although I always realized this was a multi-generational struggle, I had imagined that we would make more progress while I was still alive to see it. I know that we have made some progress, but we have also regressed in many areas. Little did I realize how Sisyphean the task of achieving progress on these causes would be.

I spend my time now not only engaged in these efforts but trying to recruit those needed now to carry on the fights for these causes in the next generation. I am encouraged that there are many joining the fight but dismayed by the forces still arrayed against progress.

I urge all to join the battle while also working to recruit, educate, motivate, and activate those needed to continue to fight. Progress will always be hard but so necessary.

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This is the best description of CRT I have read anywhere. It is clear, concise and written in terms anyone can understand. Then your applying what it really is to redistricting is brilliant. Can you submit this for publication in a local or even national newspaper or find other ways to have it more widely circulated? A letter to the editor to friendly newspapers in states such as Georgia, Florida, Texas and others, might go a long way to exposing the Republican lies and duplicity around this issue.

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Thank you. I have already submitted this to our local paper here in Texas. It is also published to local social media Democrats and Independents and a Social Justice Advocacy groups I manage who have over 750 members between them. Doing all I can to get exposure to this idea. I invite all who wish to use it as a basis for submitting their own Letters to the Editor of local papers and place in their own social media threads and groups. We need to do all we can to expose Republican lies and disinformation for what it truly is.

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Great! I will use this as a model and do all I can to get it distributed/published. Thank you!

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Just posted, gave you credit Bruce C.

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Hear! Hear!

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Good job, Bruce. Thank you.

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Thank you, Heather. Your Letter today is most informative.

You describe a situation in our country that is undemocratic, as it favors white voters in rural areas and penalizes multicultural voters in large cities. It's hard to imagine any nation that might be accurately described as "a democracy" that strays as far from the one-person/one-vote/my-vote-equals-your-vote standard as ours does. Of course there are historical reasons for this, but the ideals of the European Enlightenment that inspired our founding fathers to write the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution (weren't there some founding mothers, too?) were never inspiring enough to cause the inclusion of anyone besides propertied white men of northern European (ideally English) descent in the actual exercise of power and governance.

It took a civil war for African-Americans to officially become human beings, not mere private property, a few more years for them (only the men) to get the vote (on paper, at least) in 1870, and another 50 years for all women to get the vote (in 1920), each step forward via constitutional amendment, yet we are still far short of each voter having equal influence in the voting booth.

Then the Reagan Revolution came along and legitimized greed and selfishness as an alternative to community, cooperation and the notion of the common good, and then technology made it possible for anyone to say anything to nearly everyone and immediately attract a horde of fanatics willing to support a lying bastard like you know who. We have elected two recent Presidents (Dubya and we all know who) who both lost the popular vote by large margins. Now we are on the verge of yet another civil war, though this may "feel" hard to believe. Democracy?

But assuming most Americans - when they take a break from being ferocious political animals - are still pretty much like most other Americans (and like people generally in all the world), I have to believe there is a way out of our dilemma. Of course, just trying to be nicer to one another will not cut it, though it might help a bit or even a bit more than a bit. No, not enough, we need more constitutional amendments. Yes, I know it is politically impossible, will never happen, blah, blah, blah, but we are playing a modern game with an ancient rule book. We have discovered that when enough Americans grow tired of having to adapt to a changing world we face the danger of sliding into autocracy, likely of the Fascist variety. Our Constitution cannot save us and this is happening just as the necessity for all of us to get on the same page to block climate change, defeat a nasty international virus and make a good quality of life be a reasonable goal for EVERYONE EVERYWHERE is unavoidable. And, ironically, success is actually within human reach.

If we cannot reinvent our "democracy" to become a real Democracy - by making the Senate proportional to state population or simply eliminating it, by eliminating the useless and dangerous Electoral College, by ending all forms of gerrymandering and by making voter registration automatic for all citizens 18 and over - we will fall into a bottomless pit and drag the rest of our species down with us.

If anyone is left to remember anything, this is what we will be remembered for.

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It would be big steps in the right direction for Congress to pass not only currently proposed voting rights laws, but also a repeal of that cap on the size of the House of Representatives. In the process, delay redistricting to 2023 and require it to be done without gerrymandering.

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Yes indeed, whatever it takes.

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Clearly the choice is ours and the time is NOW

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Greed got a green light with Reagan. That’s his legacy that we still live with.

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While fantasizing about possibility amendments needed, I wonder about the idea of Senators not running at large but to represent either urban or rural representation.

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Another timely, well-written post. I studied a lot of the town/city data from Massachusetts (my home state, where I vote; I live in Europe) and I noticed there, the largest increase (even in western MA towns that got smaller) was Hispanics--in my own town the number nearly tripled.

What Heather refers to, is something that became super-stratified in the 2016 election. Look at a "hotspot" map (CNN's is perfect) and it looks like Hillary Clinton voters all lived on a chain of coastal islands around cities, while DJT was "supported by the heartland." This was successfully propagandized by The Right subsequent to that election to show "most of America really voted for Trump." (followed by my usual retort: "Oh, I didn't realize that LAND was voting instead of people now."

My one comment on all of this is that if, God willing, we ever get around to amending our amendment on this (resetting the Congress cap in some way) that we do so in a fair-minded way (in fairness, in an alternative universe this could've gone the other way) not something seething with currency bias. This current situation has, unfortunately, also given rise to the (I believe) misguided debate that the Senate itself is unfair. Such people apparently never studied the historical precedents and thinking by folks like John Adams that created a BICAMERAL legislature--it was (partially) to keep populous states from bullying rural ones (yes, this absolutely could happen), so the hope here is that 1) yes, we need to reset this and 2) do so in an elegant, thoughtful way that won't shoot ourselves in the foot another 30-50 years later.

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Resetting the cap on the size of the House is legislatively simple: repeal the law that imposed the cap. Set the smallest district to the population of the lowest-population state. The hard part is political: overcoming or removing the Senate filibuster that would be used to block it.

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