Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

04 April 2012

Congress is Disrespected, but Incumbents Almost Always Re-elected

The Cato Institute is having a forum called Citizens v. The Ruling Elite.  I am copying the announcement I just received below.  Please read the text on Congress, how much it is disrespected by the American people, and yet how often the incumbent incompetent Congressman is re-elected.  Then I will show you my new Congressional District Map as supporting evidence of how carefully we are controlled by the political party dominant in our home state.

Citizens v. the Ruling Elite

Mark Meckler
Co-founder, Tea Party Patriots

Eric O’Keefe
Co-Chairman, Campaign for Primary Accountability

Geoff Pallay
Special Projects Director, Ballotpedia

moderated by
John Samples
Director, Center for Representative Government, Cato Institute

Only 12 percent of Americans now approve of the job Congress is doing. Despite that, incumbents are overwhelmingly re-elected. Eighty-six percent of them survived the 2010 elections for the House of Representatives. That’s not much of a surprise when you consider that 80 percent of House districts are safe for one of the two major parties and 62 percent of incumbents face no primary challenge at all. No wonder many Americans feel those who “represent” them in Washington don’t really represent them at all. A new organization, the Campaign for Primary Accountability, is trying to level the playing field and to restore real representation by making incumbents more accountable to citizens. Its efforts have won praise across the political spectrum and condemnation from fans of the status quo. But it is not alone. Mark Meckler, a founder of the Tea Party Patriots, is launching a new effort to change American elections for the better. Please join us to hear these leaders talk about their continuing struggle to take back America.
Friday, April 20, 2012

(Luncheon to follow)

F. A. Hayek Auditorium • Cato Institute
1000 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001

I was until recently in the highly gerrymandered 4th Congressional District in Maryland, once known as the Free State. This district consistently elected whichever highly socialist black candidate won the Democrat primary. For years this has been Donna Edwards, a member of the Democrat Socialist Caucus in the House of Representatives. I am now in District 3 which is represented by John Sarbanes of Towson, a town north of Baltimore. I live in the northeastern part of Montgomery County.  The District 3 map after the 2000 Census re-districting was as shown below:

Clearly the people in this district were lumped together because of their similarity of interests and because it would be very easy for their Congressman to gather them together in town hall forums to learn about their concerns with government. OK, yes, I am being sarcastic. Clearly the interests of the people were of no concern and that is indicated by the boundaries of this district. The 2010 Census lead to a re-districting plan and Congressional District 3, in which Democrat John Sarbanes, of the infamous Sarbanes-Oxley accounting burden law, is running for re-election now has a very different look. This is because the Democrats believe they can challenge and remove the 20-year Republican Congressman Bartlett of the 6th Congressional District in Western Maryland with the new 6th District. The new District 3 that I am in looks like this:

This is a district composed of fragments of Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County, Howard County, Baltimore City County, Baltimore County, and Carroll County. There is no complete county in the district. Most of the Montgomery and Howard County citizens along U.S. 29 are federal employees. Large numbers of state employees live in and near Annapolis in this district. A fraction of the district citizens would have a special interest in issues relating to the Chesapeake Bay, but many would not. Substantial areas are very rural. This district is not only designed to take high population density Democrat areas and combine them with many rural areas with many Republicans in them, but it is also a classic case of divide and conquer. Any of many special interest groups that might become angry at John Sarbanes or another Representative is perfectly incapable of preventing his re-election due their fragmentation between the 8 Congressional districts in Maryland.

I challenge anyone to present me with a Congressional district in which they live that can rival mine as the very symbol of gerrymandered excess! If the people ever want to have a chance to control Congress, they will have to insist that their states use algorithms for forming Congressional districts that make the districts reasonably compact, honor local government boundaries such as county lines, and make it more likely that people with similar concerns will be in the same district. The divide and conquer issue is a very rational concern which ought to be addressed.  This is government dividing and conquering the People!


Harry Dale Huffman said...

This cries out (in my opinion) for someone to do a systematic evaluation of recent redistricting across the U.S. (over the last 40 years or so, I think). Do political science majors ever do such analyses to get their doctorates, or master's degrees? Is any group doing such analysis on a continuing basis?

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Harry, I do not know the answers to these questions. It does seem clear that there are many interesting issues with respect to district boundaries and the interests of the people roped into a single district that could and should be explored. I believe the divide and conquer issue is a major one with regard to making the citizens feel that Congress is serving them badly. In any case, a Congressional District as diaphanous and distorted as mine is a clear case of the politicians thumbing their noses at the People. Our welfare is clearly of no concern to them.