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No. A Donut Shape with a Hole Separating Voters Should Not Be a Legislative District

American democracy is failing. The world knows it, many of it’s people know it. As we discussed last week, America is hardly the only country whose democracy is under threat, but the size and influence of American democracy, even diminished as it is, is critical to a future of representative government globally.

Yet here we are again, with another round of voter suppression and electioneering being thrust upon the American people from state houses across the country. We once again are witnessing politicians attempting to choose their voters, instead of the other way around. Nearly 40% of the states have already passed laws making it harder to vote, and now that redistricting has begun, we can see the gerrymandering begin in earnest. As is being covered by many outlets, the near surgical precision of district drawing is allowing an unprecedented degree of control in shaping the electorate of each state. Changing the composition of districts change the tenor of their representatives and thus the entire national discourse. It can also shift the balance of power in the house of representatives without ever winning a single extra vote.

To make matters worse, we of course are not starting from neutral. As we’ve discussed multiple times at DSOT, voter suppression is a perennial tactic in American politics. While both sides do participate, this activity is not equal. Republicans both past and present engage in reckless and blatant election manipulation tactics far outstripping Democratic party efforts. Each election that passes without correcting these distortions to our democratic process is rachets us further towards perpetual minority party rule. The Guardian (among many others) has a good breakdown of how this process works in places like North Carolina and Texas.

As usual this behavior is a radical departure from what the American people want from their politicians and government.

Do you support or oppose partisan Gerrymandering which benefits one party over another?

Support: 8%

Oppose: 89%

Democrats: 92%

Republicans: 88%

These fights are underway as we speak across state legislatures, so it’s important that we all get involved and pay attention. Incredibly, it looks as if the Democrats are still unable to muster even the self preservation at the national level to pass voting rights legislation to protect the vote, so it will be up to activity at the state level to protect our vote.

The most nefarious aspect of these activities of course, is that they make it ever more difficult for the will of the people to be heard through normal political mechanisms. To succeed in protecting democracy we need not just political power and organizing, but economic power. As the voices of the many are shoved aside in favor of the economically privileged, it becomes ever more critical, to have an economic cudgel to wield on behalf of the people. So join us each Tuesday in growing solidarity, as we build that cudgel, and help protect our democracy from the elites that threaten it!

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