Politically Correct: A genuinely Republican shutdown


A Tea Party Rally in Washington (Fibonacci Blue-Flickr)

A Tea Party Rally in Washington (Fibonacci Blue-Flickr)
A Tea Party Rally in Washington (Fibonacci Blue-Flickr)

A neighbor comes over and asks, “Can I burn down your house?” Obviously, the answer is no. He then asks, “Just the second story, the first story will be fine.” Of course, again the answer is no. He then complains, “But, you aren’t negotiating!” That essentially is the Republican Party’s negotiation tactics, but the party would not be resorting to these tactics if Congress reflected the views of the American people.

On Tuesday, the government shutdown due to House Republicans’ demand to effectively weaken the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The Senate rejected the offer and sent a bill that simply funded the government to House Republicans, but they rejected the Senate bill and now America is in a mess that it did not vote for.

A CNN survey, before the shutdown, found that if the shutdown occurred, 46 percent would blame the Republicans, while 36 percent would blame the Democrats, so what were the Republicans thinking? Were they just forgetting that America is a democracy and that we have the power to vote them out for stupidity?

No, most Republicans just did not care because they have nothing to lose.

In 2012, the Democrats beat the Republicans in the popular vote for the House by 1.4 million votes, according to The Washington Post, however the Democrats hold 32 fewer seats than the Republicans.

That is counter to our basic understanding of a democracy. How can the minority govern as the majority? What is the purpose of voting if our voices are matched with people that do not represent our views?

The answer lies in a political strategy called gerrymandering, or the redrawing of congressional district maps to ensure representatives are re-elected. State legislatures draw districts to help the party in charge win more congressional seats. This strategy allows representatives to have very radical ideologies without the fear of being voted out by the public.

For example, in North Carolina, the Democrats won seven seats in 2010, which was the year that the Republicans took back the House. In 2012, after redistricting, the Democrats only won four seats.

The Republicans create districts that are composed with a clear majority of conservatives, and then put a weak amount of Democrats in their districts. By spreading out Democrats, Republicans can reduce the number of Democratic districts, and reduce the number of Democrats in Congress.

The safely conservative districts elect ultra-conservative politicians that legislate as ideologically conservative as possible. They put everything on the line to score political points because they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Republicans who are elected in those districts have to prove their absolute conservatism by taking on ideological agendas or fear the chance of a more conservative Republican beating them come election time. Those Republicans, then, consistently move farther and farther to the right.

This development creates a small faction of right-wing absolutist Republicans, and they are taking over the Republican party and deeming it incapable of passing sensible legislation.

Republicans are going to argue that those districts are fair because they were drawn by state legislatures that are composed of Republicans that were elected by the citizens of the state.

That argument has no weight because California, an obvious blue state, has tried its best to lessen the effects of gerrymandering by creating third party commissions to create districts. The third party commission has reduced the number of ideologically partisan districts according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a think tank at the New York University Law School.

Another Republican argument is that the state is drawing districts to reflect population changes. However, Republicans have been packing traditionally Democratic voters to weaken their power.

For example, in Texas, the Latino population has been on the rise and they represented 38 percent of population in 2011, according to Pew Research. However, they hold only six of the 36 available House seats from Texas, 16 percent of available seats.

Republicans in Texas, grouped Latino voters, a rising Democratic constituency, with more traditionally conservative voters, whites. They try to weaken the chance of a Democrat gaining office by weakening the concentration of Democratic voters.

The American people did not vote for the Republican Party in 2012. They voted for a Democratic House and instead the Republican Party hijacked the election and gave them a Republican House.

The shutdown was caused by a bunch of illegitimate Republicans that cheated their way into Congress.