Cheating for America

Cheating for America

by digby

You have undoubtedly already heard about the Virginia legislature's off year redistricting scheme which they waited to pass until one of the State Senators was attending the inaugural. Yes, they actually did that. They have taken a tied legislature and gerrymandered a new one with potentially a seven vote GOP majority. They're not even pretending to follow the rules anymore.

And why is this legal? Thank the Hammer:

In 2003, a new Republican majority in the Texas legislature attacked the congressional map developed by both parties in 2001. They forced through a gerrymander that ousted most of the state's white Democrats; Democrats, in a vain attempt to stop this, had fled the state to deny a quorum. In 2006, the Supreme Court upheld the mid-decade redistricting. Curiously, only Republican legislatures have taken advantage of this.

Yes, very curious, isn't it? In fact, Democratic states are going the other way and forming non-partisan redistricting schemes, which is really awesome except for the losing thing.

This sort of thing is hardly new. But as I wrote before, I don't think it's ever been a systematic national scheme before. As David said below, this shows the Republicans know they are on the losing side of history so they have to cheat to compete. The big question for me is whether the people will stand for it. And, so far, it's not looking good. They stood for a bogus impeachment. They had no problem with the Supreme Court deciding an election. Scott Walker survived. These gerrymandering schemes are happening in plain sight. It seems absurd, but I honestly don't know that anyone would care if Reince Priebus succeeded in his plan to game the electoral college. The Republicans would say that it's perfectly legal --- and strictly speaking it probably would be.They'd have a hissy fit if anyone tried to stop them and the Supreme Court would probably uphold because rules.

But as I think about it, this isn't really a political problem, it's a cultural problem. From Wall Street to sports to politics to .... everything, cheating is rewarded so hugely --- and the punishments are so meaningless --- that it's now the norm. We just had a presidential campaign in which one of the major candidates refused to reveal his tax returns almost certainly because he ... cheated. It didn't matter. For a lot of people, you're a chump if you don't do it. Sure we have Lance Armstrong doing his ritual humiliation tour, but he's still fabulously wealthy and will very likely end up being one of those guys who wins again through the repentance game. And anyway, we throw someone on to the pyre once in a while just so that we can ostentatiously preen and rend our garments over the horror of it all, even as we cheer on all the others. Makes us feel good about ourselves anyway.

It's Elmer Gantry's America. We just live in it.

"He had, in fact, got everything from the church and Sunday School, except, perhaps, any longing whatever for decency and kindness and reason."