Thursday, June 22, 2017

Redistricting “reform” needs to break into desire of pols to let greed take over

It will be intriguing to see how the Supreme Court of the United States comes down when they ultimately rule on a case out of Wisconsin as to how fair that state’s process is when it comes to the crafting of political boundaries.
So colorful, these boundaries are powerful statements

For as we have seen in Illinois, we go through the once-a-decade spat between the political parties that ultimately ends with a lottery of sorts, a random drawing that determines which political party gets to craft boundaries that advance its own partisan interests while totally messing with the opposition.

I’M SURE THERE are many politically-oriented people who believe this is merely the way things are done – boundaries are political statements and it is absurd to think they can be made neutral. Because even that can become a political statement.

Although some say the situation in Wisconsin was so extreme (GOP Gov. Scott Walker wanted to neutralize the Dem-leaning, progressive tendencies of his state, otherwise his own ideologue tendencies to take on organized labor would have become gummed up in a bigger mess than the budgetary stalemate we now have in Illinois) that something now has to be done to alter it.

My own belief is that many of the states that are most heavily partisan in their political boundaries are Republican-leaning, and they are that way because the politicos know how to protect their partisan interests. So anybody who thinks that redistricting “reform” will mean taking down Mike Madigan as Illinois House speaker ought to take a closer look at a place like Texas.

Where in the Lone Star State the boundaries really are meant to ensure that a white settler-mentality prevails, rather than the people who’d be inclined to remember that Tejas was once a part of Mexico (and the New Spain colonies before that).

AS FOR ILLINOIS, I’m realistic enough to know Republicans really don’t have a legitimate argument about unjust behavior by Dems when it comes to political boundaries. Because I’m old enough to remember the era when Republicans had control of the process, and they behaved just as badly – if not worse.

Much of the reason Illinois leans so heavily Democratic is because it has such a dominant presence as Chicago, which is something that Republican partisans would go out of their way to downplay and neglect to advance their interests.

Which makes it possible for Madigan to make the claim he’s looking out for the interests of his home city in halting those who’d just as soon revert to a mentality that says Illinois is centered around Madison and St. Clair counties (the St. Louis area) rather than Cook and its collars.
Marble halls of high ct. to be mucked up by redistrict reality

For those who wonder how so many people can find it in themselves to back Madigan in political spats, that usually is why.

AS FOR ACTUAL cooperation, there was one instance during my lifetime when partisan leaders were able to craft together a compromise. That was the 1970s – and maybe it was the spillover of love and peace and flower children in the air.

But by the 1980s, Reaganism had clearly erased any thought of working together. We had to resort to the all-or-nothing lottery where Democrats won control of the process in the 1980s, Republicans in the 1990s (anybody remember the two-year time period of “Illinois House Minority Leader Michael Madigan, D-Chicago? I do!) and Dems again in the 2000s.

Technically, the 2010s that we’re now in were an era of compromise, but that’s only because the 2010 gubernatorial election gave us Pat Quinn who signed off on the maps crafted by Dems in the General Assembly.

Democrats can compromise with each other – and the GOPers got ignored. Which actually becomes a key issue for the 2018 election cycle.

A SECOND TERM for Gov. Bruce Rauner would make it impossible for Republicans to be ignored. But considering how budgetary matters are all bogged up, I’d hate to see how the level of partisan hatred will be so high that there’s no chance of the two of them reaching a deal.

It really is about greed – the concept that government officials can do something without having to consider compromise. Which really is antithetical to what our system of government is supposed to be about.

Of course, I’m not sure how the Supreme Court is capable of resolving this situation. They have their own partisan leanings, and if they really tried to undermine Illinois they might well find themselves harming their own interests in other states.

Because, invariably the biggest potential weakness of our political system is that we staff it with people who are politicians at heart. And when we try to staff it with non-political people, we get instances of ineptitude such as “President Donald J. Trump.”


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