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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Regarding the Commission Approved Draft Legislative and Congressional Maps

Click to see draft maps
If you look at recent statewide races, you see that Republicans have a 10 percentage point advantage, about 55% to 45%. That said, statewide races are close when the Democrat is highly qualified and has a clean record, and when their Republican challenger has a history of corruption or incompetence. Redistricting will have no effect on this,but it gives a sense of the population of Arizona.

The same is not true in many congressional and legislative districts. We can easily find examples of blatantly incompetent and corrupt representatives elected in safe districts due to the dynamics of a primary election with too many or too few competitors. In safe districts, we find incumbents who are guaranteed reelection in all but the most extreme cases. Are vote splitting primaries with too many candidates vying for a safe party seat followed by term limits really the way we want to select our representatives?

Competitive districts provide a safeguard against this.Competitive districts are not an advantage for Democrats. They aren't even an advantage for so-called moderates and centrists. They're an advantage for sane people.

So is that what the draft maps provide? Not really. The drafts offer only a handful of competitive legislative districts. Less than half of the congressional districts are competitive.

And how are the uncompetitive districts divided? In a state that polls at 55% Republican, of legislative districts with a 15 point spread or more, 65% percent are safe Republican seats. In a state that polls at 55%Republican, of congressional districts with a 15 point spread, 67% are safe Republican seats.

If you make the reasonable assumption that Republicans would still take competitive seats half the time, that still leaves our congressional delegation and legislatures over 60% Republican. For those of you who are bad at math, that's higher than 55%. That gives Republicans a louder voice that they would get under a truly representative system of government

They already have that.

So why are Republicans so upset with this map?

They've controlled the state legislature for decades. Do these draft maps threaten that control? No. But if you think about, it makes sense. There is no such thing as enough for them. They follow an ideology that elevates self interest and greed above all other human values, even beyond the natural balance of these forces in a sane and healthy human being. They will never have enough. There is no way to appease them.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Drinking Liberally @ Lux Central, Thursday

What: Drinking Liberally
When: Thursday, 6:30 - 11pm
Where: Lux Central, 4402 North Central Avenue in Phoenix (at the Campbell light rail station)
Where, specifically: probably a semi-hidden room in the back, not too hard to find though

It's time to sit down for a serious, soul searching, talk. Perhaps over drinks.

The consensus in the mainstream media is that the #OccupyWallStreet protests are lacking a clear message and have no policy solutions.

Well then, maybe they should vote Republican -- nobody has a less clear message than them. After all, the GOP is the party of tax cuts while their leading presidential candidate wants to raise taxes on 85% of us and the Republicans who run our solidly red state have managed to do so already. They believe in small government, but they want to regulate women's health and sexual orientation. They are the pro-life party that wants to expand the use of the death penalty and let the uninsured working poor die in the street from easily treatable medical conditions. They are proud of their fiscal restraint, yet they see nothing wrong with racking up another trillion dollars of debt to fight a war under false pretenses and another trillion in giveaways to their wealthy cronies which they hope to pay for later by cutting expenses in programs that already pay for themselves.

On second thought, not so much. By comparison, I would say the #Occupiers have a pretty clear message. Corporate power is the problem. To be fair, the GOP has a clear message, too: government is the problem. And if you don't believe it, just watch them govern and they'll prove it to you. But don't try it sober. To understand the GOP style of governing, you need to be drunk or otherwise brain damaged. I prefer to drink or to simply not understand.

So join us at Lux this Thursday evening, and we can do it together. (We're still deciding where to settle this bi-weekly event, but this looks like a really good option.)