I hate redistricting, gerrymandering, or any other politically motivated act aimed at disenfranchising citizens and preserving “party power”. Over the last few years, more and more political pundits have posited that the solution to the increasing incidence of political polarization is the de-politicization of legislative redistricting.
However, there is no such thing as a non-partisan commission. Let’s just drown that idea right here and now. I’ve heard countless suggestions for how to make redistricting more fair, but because all of those suggestions involve people, it is simply ridiculous to assume that they wouldn’t be political, or that they’d even be less political than having our State Legislatures performing the task. Courts, commissions, academics, or whomever you might believe would be more fair than the legislature surely have their own political and personal agendas which would contaminate the process as thoroughly as any state political motivation.
There are only two potential solutions to the problem of redistricting that make sense. The first, is to end redistricting. The districts are what they are and we’ll all just have to live with it. The second solution is purely mathematical. We take measurements of population and of square miles determining population maximums and population minimums. If a district exceeds its population maximum, it would shrink toward its’ center. If a district fell below its minimum, it would extend outward from it’s center. There would be no people making these determinations. It would be entirely computer based and only the inputs, such as number of citizens per district, would be factored in.
These are the only two non-partisan avenues we have for addressing our collective distaste of redistricting.
Furthermore, I am not convinced that redistricting has anything to do with an increasingly aggressive political polemic. The most daunting problems we face politically are cultural and philosophical in nature. As much as the ruling class would like to believe that the rubes they represent are merely frustrated and ignorant, there are very real issues at the heart of the nations’ dissatisfaction with their government and their political parties. Debt, Corruption, Corporatism, Fiscal Irresponsibility, and Increased Regulation are serious matters with which the populace will never make peace.
While we may now be a small majority, a majority of Americans want their liberty, their privacy, their individual sovereignty, and as few restrictions on their economic and personal lives as possible. Both political parties are moving in an entirely different direction. If this government believes that it can temper Americans toward a future which contradicts their core values and beliefs, then the government has seriously miscalculated. It won’t work. It hasn’t worked. We’ve only become more divided.
The real cause of antipathy between citizen and government is the question of who obeys whom. Ayn Rand wrote that, “we are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force“. She was right and this is the reason so many Americans are angry, even if they don’t fully comprehend the germ of their own antagonism to it; the anger is the same regardless.
These are the serous issues of our age – and while redistricting is a loathsome and corrupt thing and while I believe we should choose between the two courses I outlined above, I do not believe that solving the redistricting problem will have any effect on the heart of our growing political polarization.