The best way to kill the democratic republic is not simply about the long-debated and bitterly fought over legislation pushed by Texas Republicans (Senate Bill 1) to tighten Texas election laws.
The very best way to kill a democratic republic is to allow the party in power to wield their redistricting ax to pick their voters through gerrymandering. Whichever party is in power gerrymanders while demonizing their opponents. What they’re doing is denying all voters the right to competitive (not fixed) elections.
Don’t fall for it! Redistricting is the subject of the soon to be called third special session by Governor Greg Abbott.
Let’s not allow manipulators working in and around our political system to confuse the heck out of people with claims that the U.S. is “a republic,” and “not a democracy.” Oh really? Perhaps our parents who fought in WWII to defend democracy might have been told this. Folks, don’t forgot there once was a Soviet Republic. And, there still is the “People’s Republic of China.”
We have elections, now don’t we? That is quite simply our democratic republic.
But then there are those who claim that our elections are a total sham. But, think again people. Do you hear anything from those same people about how elections are “rigged” before we get to the polls? They have yet to join us independents who have fought since 2001 for redistricting reform in Texas. These are partisans working for their party and, more so today than ever, one faction within their party.
Reforming redistricting — politicians drawing their own lines — and ending gerrymandering by any and all parties, is the motherlode of protecting U.S. elections. Think, people!
It is always the party in power that uses their redistricting pen like a sword against the opposing party. This has cost voters of all parties and persuasions an enormous financial expense involving litigation and special sessions. It’s also created tremendous ill will between us, with members of both parties hating the other members, even members of our own families!
We, independents, are sick of the whole
It is NOT big news that the Democrats will go to court while pushing federal legislation to preempt S.B. 1. This Tribune article explains it well.
What is big news is the little turd that just got dropped in the current gerrymander’s punch bowl. We write of the federal lawsuit filed on Wednesday, September 1, by a well-known Republican former Texas Supreme Court Justice, Wallace Jefferson. Mr. Jefferson represents State Senators Sarah Eckhardt (D-Austin), Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio), and Tejano Democrats.
The federal lawsuit challenges the right of the Governor and Secretary of State to carry out redistricting of Texas House and Senate districts until after the next regular session – 2023. On its face, it appears the Texas Constitution is on their side. Mind you; it says nothing about Congressional Districts. Therefore, we assume that show will go on with Congressional redistricting in a third special session.
We hope the plaintiffs prevail. We trust a court far more than the Legislature — no matter which party is in power.
In the future, we prefer the courts to draw the lines until we put in place an independent citizens redistricting commission (ICRC).
Eight states have commissions for Congressional redistricting, and 14 states have commissions for state legislature redistricting — see more here at Ballotpedia.
Independent’s History on Redistricting Reform
We – Texas independents – hit the ground running advocating for redistricting reform back in 2001. That’s when we began advocating for independent redistricting – by a non-partisan commission.
Please note for you old-timers; we understand that the Democrats under Lt. Governor Bob Bullock made gerrymandering into fine art in Texas. It wasn’t fair then, and it’s not fair now to the Democrats.
Since the Republican takeover of Texas state government in the early ’90s, the Republicans have swung the ax to an even sharper level. Who can forget Rick Perry and Tom DeLay’s special mid-census redistricting in 2003? See here.
The Solution – independent citizens redistricting commissions
The solution is to remove the redistricting pen from the hands of all parties and politicians. The next step is to put that power into the hands of a non-partisan independent citizens redistricting commission (ICRC).
Texas independents were first out of the gate on this issue back in 2001, when we brought Steve Lynn, then chair of the Arizona citizens redistricting commission, to visit Texas legislators.
A whole new genre of truly independent citizens redistricting commissions evolved into randomly selected qualified commissioners screened by randomly selected qualified auditors. LIV leader, Linda Curtis, helped get the independent citizens redistricting commission passed as part of Austin’s geographic district system called “10-1”. Read pages 2 through 4 to see how it works. You can visit the Austin Commission’s site here.
The Right to Petition is Key
The ICRC has long been a top priority at LIV. But where they exist, they do so because it was put on the ballot for the voters to pass. Politicians don’t easily give up their guns – redistricting pens – now, do they?
Texas is one of the few western states without the right to petition to place statewide measures on the ballot – known as initiative and referendum (I&R). We can petition at the municipal level only.
The Austin commission is in its second round of redistricting right now. Please read all about it in the Austin Bulldog story here.
Redistricting Hearings Schedule
We’ll be talking about this at our next LIV meeting on Zoom on September 7, 7 pm.
Hearings in the Texas House are listed here. The first hearing is on September 8. You may testify in person or virtually.
Hearings in the Texas Senate are listed here. The first hearing is on September 7. You may testify ONLY by video conference.
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