December 14, 2005

OUR SUNNIS (via Kevin Whited):

Where will vote be fairer, Sugar Land or Nineveh? (CRAGG HINES, 12/14/05, Houston Chronicle)

You don't need to know much about the representational models, however imperfect, in the Iraqi elections this week to understand that they certainly are no more egregious than U.S. House districts in Texas.

What hypocrites Republicans can be: All this breast-beating about representative government in Iraq while they continually try to jigger the vote at home.

Is it more than a touch ironic that as ballots began to be cast in the first post-Saddam parliamentary elections in Iraq, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision to hear multiple challenges to the mid-decade, politically inspired redrawing of the 32 U.S. House districts in Texas as demanded in 2003 by then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land?

Folks who've held power illegitimately are naturally reluctant to give it up, even, or especially, to the democratic process. All you really need to know about the tattered status of democracy in Democrat-controlled Texas is that in 2002 when 60% of Texans voted Republican that got them 17 Democrats and just 15 Republicans in their House delegation. Tom DeLay fixed the problem, much like W has fixed the Ba'ath Party's domination of the Iraqi population. One man/one vote is a silly idea, but if the Left wants it to prevail they can live with being the minority.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 14, 2005 11:27 AM

One man/one vote is a silly idea...

The longstanding position of men from wealthy families.

Posted by: Brandon at December 14, 2005 2:10 PM


Of men.

Posted by: oj at December 14, 2005 3:16 PM

what's the ideal system ?

Posted by: noam chomsky at December 14, 2005 3:45 PM

There isn't one. All voting systems are flawed. It's just a question of which flaws we want to live with.

Posted by: David Cohen at December 14, 2005 3:52 PM

The ideal flaws though are those which tend to protect the ends of the society and its constitutional regime.

Posted by: oj at December 14, 2005 4:11 PM

All voting systems are flawed

Brandon: the formal statement and proof of this is called Arrow's Theorem. Wikipedia entry is ok, not great. Will look around for something clearer.

Posted by: joe shropshire at December 14, 2005 5:31 PM

If the TX plan is overturned, then I would immediately expect the Supremes to nullify Mel Watt's district in NC, which snakes up along I-85 for probably 120 miles, picking up black voters as it goes. For most of its length, his district is only about a mile or two wide. It is much more tortuous than anything in TX.

The problem the Dems have is that if their "votes" are concentrated in minority districts, and then the districts are drawn that way, they have little hope of winning in almost any 'normal' district (apart from liberal pockets like Marin County, most of MA and NJ, and the Upper West Side). The new industrial South is solidly Republican, and so is most of FL and TX.

Meanwhile, this article typically ignores history: gerry-mandering has been the name of the game since Eldridge Gerry (all the way back to 1800). The beginnings of the modern version were in CA, when Phil Burton (Dem from SF) rigged the CA delegation in 1980, even though CA was a strong GOP state at the time.

But when the Republicans do it, well - it's just hypocritical and evil.

Posted by: jim hamlen at December 14, 2005 11:37 PM