Electoral votes, gerrymandering and politics redux… what you can do

== Citizens can fight back without waiting for courts or politicians ==

Yes I am talking about you.  And you don’t have to agitate or march or petition or write your Congress-critter.

Here’s my one final point about gerrymandering and all of that. As I have said repeatedly, there is a way that citizens can rebel against the foul crime committed by both parties against our right to vote. Sure, try all the methods I described last time. Push for other blues states to follow California and Washington by going to neutral (and sane) districting.  Push ballot initiatives. Make a major issue out of the fact that all red states adamantly refuse to stop blatantly cheating. Take it to court… but while all of that is simmering, there is something each of us can do, as individuals. A simple but effective measure.

Re-register to be a member of whatever party rules your district.

Think.  Except in a few blessed states where citizens rebelled, the politicians have rigged electoral maps so you’re in district that’s overwhelmingly either democratic or republican. This is why especially GOP office holders only care about primaries and their radical base, not the average citizen. But this scheme will fall apart if all the democrats in a republican-gerried district simply re-register as republicans!  (Or vice versa in Dem-gerried districts.)

cloutWhat will you lose?  Nothing. In fact, you may get a giggle out of shocking your friends with your official party ID!

It does not commit you to that party’s agenda.  In merely allows you to vote in the only contest that matters, the primary.

And suddenly, you gain clout! You might make a difference between (say) two republicans, one of them a screeching dogma-harpy and the other a somewhat reasonable Goldwater-type who believes in science and pragmatism, along with a creative free market.  Even if you disagree with the latter candidate over a million matters, she or he is more likely to negotiate.  And possibly even listen to folks like you. Heck, if enough folks re-register, like you, that might encourage the Goldwater types to step up.

This assertion was proved absolutely true when California switched to non-partisan elections, and suddenly two dems were fighting it out in liberal leaning districts. (Gerrymandering as it declines: Surprising results!) And lo… both dems suddenly discovered: “We got a lot of republicans here. If I talk to them, they might help me win.” Suddenly, in lefty Santa Monica, long time conservatives who thought their vote would never count woke up to find candidates eager to shake their hands,

Seriously. This is the short term solution.  If the pols rig things so that one party owns a district, then join that party! All you will do is expand the power of your vote and undermine their vile scheme. You’ll throw all the connivers’ calculations into a cocked hat.  It’s called jiu jitsu. We need to become good at it.

And now…

…I had allowed a fair number of political matters to pile up.  So let me follow that last posting with a potpourri of items.

== A sober assessment of 2030 ==

2030According to a new report, Global Trends 2030, prepared by the National Intelligence Council, comprising the 17 U.S. government intelligence agencies. “We are at a critical juncture in human history, which could lead to widely contrasting futures.”

Much of the 2030 report highlights potentially positive developments, anticipating a healthier, more educated and more prosperous global population and a trend toward greater democracy. The report also warns about resource conflicts, the danger of nuclear war and global political gridlock. But its writers have nevertheless faced some criticism for an overly “optimistic” perspective….

On the other hand, as I forecast a decade ago in a report to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (http://www.slideshare.net/davidbrin/war21brin-part1 ), the intelligence community is coming awake to non-state and non-terrorist dangers.  “With more access to lethal and disruptive technologies, individuals who are experts in such areas as cybersystems might sell their services to the highest bidder.” The emphasis on individual empowerment was not highlighted in earlier NIC reports. The geopolitical shift from West to East did get attention previously, but one author said in hindsight it could have been given greater emphasis.

Should no group of countries prove capable of that cooperative leadership, the world could suffer, according to one author of the report. “You probably don’t want to live in [that world].”


Lest we forget: there’s an America that hates the rising nerdish era. It isn’t taxes but the growing influence of scientists and all manner of geeks, that is behind Culture War, as stoked by certain media chains. One surface manifestation? You’ve all heard of the petition drive by some mostly southern-red malcontents to secede from the union. Now now… the numbers are small and bearable…. Still, I would love to ask their neighbors for pictures of these folks just a few years back, waving U.S. flags with fevered patriotic gusto while shouting “Yew-Ess-Hay!”

They are the “summer soldiers” Thomas Paine wrote about. They are Jefferson Davis, who led the cadets at West point in swearing undying oaths to their nation “right or wrong,” then scampered off in indignation when his “grievances” amounted to whining that his side lost an election for the first time in 30 years. Schoolyard whining whenever the other team gets its turn at-bat. I am not afraid.

A side note. The American Christian communities and seminaries weren’t always so doctrinaire on abortion.

realityRevenge of the Reality-Based Community: This interesting commentary comes from Bruce Bartlett, former Reagan aid and Heritage fellow, now a contributor to the American Conservative. Other dissident conservatives such as David Frum and Andrew Sullivan have joined Bartlett in condemning “epistemic closure” or the fact that today’s American right is all about telling itself incantations and stories, with no remaining points of contact with science, pragmatism or reality-based thinking.  I have long predicted the rise of The Adults on the right — the Buckley and Goldwater types — finally angry enough to try taking back the conservative movement.

Ah but frankly, though I welcome Bartlett’s migration toward the light… and admitting that President Obama is center-right by any rational view of things… I can’t help feeling a bit cold.  His missive, while interesting,  comes across as self-referential and you must skim a dozen paragraphs listing his past conservative credentials before getting to the meat, including his concession that Paul Krugman has been right far more often than anyone else on the national scene.

== Will the next Bubble/Crash come from “stuff”? ==

Mark Anderson of the Strategic News Service warns: Because of staggering levels of excess inventory: Like a global tsunami, world markets are about to be hit with a supply of any-price goods in almost every category, from commodities to high-end electronics. Personal computers from champion Lenovo, today, are generating about .5% margins, with Dell and HP reeling. Lenovo doesn’t care. Telecoms equipment is going for half price already, and likely will drop from there, via ZTE (whose profit fell 48.5% over the last half-year, and 85% YTY in the last quarter) and Huawei (with only a 22% drop).

Container ships that leased for over $100,000 a day on the world market four years ago, today – thanks to a huge over-buildout by China – are going for $2,000.  Watch out.  This could be the next big bruise.

== Puerto Rican Statehood? ==

Another statehood referendum forPuerto Rico … and this one passed. Other votes failed in 1967, 1993, and 1998. Though in fact it seems that while the State initiative won the most votes… only 46 percent of people voted in favor of it. A number left it blank. Thus they may require a second ballot initiative asking just if they want to become the 51st State in the Union. Then congress must pass a bill.

I let others list reasons why Puerto Rico won’t be the 51st state. My own is the simplest of all and has no implications having to do with ethnicity or language or poverty or any of that.

It is simple. What if they later change their minds? Seriously, we fought a civil war over that and we do not need the kettle re-opened. (Despite occasional fantasies of spinning off Charleston SC as a new Hong Kong. Ah, if only.)  I am perfectly fine with Puerto Rican statehood.  But I want the word “irrevocable” to be on the ballot and it has to pass by 75% or more! Decide you plan to stick with it.

== Political Potpourri ==

Might open source methods do a far better job of running smooth U.S. elections, rather than the deeply suspect voting machine companies now contracted in so many states?

EconomyArticles and speculations by David Brin about Taxes, economics and markets… especially pertinent as the House and Senate start negotiating the Big Budget Deals.

Virginia lawmaker: Children with disabilities are God’s punishment to women who previously had abortions.

For a variety of reasons, the best computer models suggest that – even if culture war ends and the dems and gops negotiate a sensible budget agreement, and many other good things happen — the US unemployment rates will be stuck well above the Pre-Bush rates, for the foreseeable future.

Ah well.  Let’s put politics aside for a while longer.



Filed under politics

2 responses to “Electoral votes, gerrymandering and politics redux… what you can do

  1. sftheory1

    Registering as a Republican in my local district would make a lot of sense. No Democrat ran for office in the state house, congressional, or state board of education races. And before 2010, our congressman was a Democrat!

  2. Registering for the dominant party in your area also gives you pull on local elections. School boards and county commissions usually have a much larger personal impact than national election do.

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