Poltical gerrymandering versus racial gerrymandering

Discussion in 'Every Day Debating' started by Julie, May 5, 2011.

  1. Julie

    Julie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,293
    Likes Received:
    31
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Belgium
    Ratings:
    +41 / 0 / -0
    Kay! This is kind of a specific question about American politics. I understand the concepts political gerrymandering and racial gerrymandering, and I know political gerrymandering is allowed (Bush v. Vera) and racial gerrymandering isn't (shaw v. Reno). However, well, a state could claim the redrawing of the constituencies is political gerrymandering and not racial gerrymandering, right? I mean, it can redraw the constituencies knowing that the african-americans almost all vote democratic to get a democratic seat there, but claiming that it doesn't have to do with race. So how can you check it's racial gerrymandering? Or is it more of a symbolic agreement??
     
  2. JIM

    JIM zombie Turncoat

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    6,499
    Likes Received:
    211
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    chasing the zombies
    Ratings:
    +327 / 1 / -0
    ok, my understanding of it, and i am forced to use my own country as an example, is:
    if the restructuring limits the representation of a minority group it is considered racial and is as such illegal,
    for example, the qld premier from 20 yrs ago restructured qlds voting borders to give the whites on the coast more seats while limiting the inland aboriginals to 0. he did this by making sure that the aboriginal lands no longer constituted even 1 seat singly, but where shared by nearby cities dominated by whites, hence in every election the aboriginal population were outvoted and were unable to get a voice in gov.
    in the case u mention, where african americans are given MORE say, MY opinion would be that it is political and therefore legal. the government is not trying to use political borders to limit any 1 race, and is in fact increasing the rights of the minorities. were they to lose anyway and the next government to redraw them again, limiting the seats of the african americans they ould have a legal issue on their hands.
     
  3. Julie

    Julie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,293
    Likes Received:
    31
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Belgium
    Ratings:
    +41 / 0 / -0
    Ohh okay like that.. That makes more sense!
     
  4. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,900
    Likes Received:
    46
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Toronto the Good
    Ratings:
    +58 / 0 / -0
    Julie,

    All gerrymandering in American politics is political. No one in either of the major political parties is motivated by race enough to risk votes over it. When race comes into the scene it's always showboating to try to get votes. All claims that gerrymandering is racial is just showboating for votes.
     
  5. Julie

    Julie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,293
    Likes Received:
    31
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Belgium
    Ratings:
    +41 / 0 / -0
    Yeah that makes sense, Greybeard. It's all about the votes.

    Its a pathology in the system. However, I think racial gerrymandering might be a good thing, if you create a constituency with a majority of a minority (f.e. african-americans), they will probably vote for a congressman or woman who is of their minority, and this way they will be better represented in congress. Right?
     
  6. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,900
    Likes Received:
    46
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Toronto the Good
    Ratings:
    +58 / 0 / -0
    That's not the way it works. Gerrymandering is all about concentrating your opponents' voters in one district so they get 90% of the vote there and spreading your voters out so you take 55% of the vote in four districts. That way you get four of your party's representatives to one of your opponents'.

    The African-American population of the US is about 10% IIRC. Depending on who did the gerrymandering, Blacks would have either 25% or 2% of the representation. What is fair is to assume that every American voter has the same worth, and can vote for the better candidate irrespective of other considerations. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of the population of any nation with a democratically-elected government vote with their brains.
     
  7. Julie

    Julie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,293
    Likes Received:
    31
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Belgium
    Ratings:
    +41 / 0 / -0
    Hmm, yeah. I think the best thing about democracy is not that the people elect their leaders, but that the leaders are accountable to the people.
    Maybe they shouldn't leave the setting of the electoral districts to the states..
     
  8. Greybeard

    Greybeard Geezer

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Messages:
    1,900
    Likes Received:
    46
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Toronto the Good
    Ratings:
    +58 / 0 / -0
    It's really not worth debating. First, I'm not sure the federal government would do a more honest job. They're politicians, too. Second, amending the US Constitution isn't easy, and requires overwhelming support among the states. So the states would have to vote in favour of losing power to Washington, and they aren't likely to do that.
     
  9. Julie

    Julie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,293
    Likes Received:
    31
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Belgium
    Ratings:
    +41 / 0 / -0
    Maybe supreme court?
    Yeah true, your political system benefits the status quo a lot.
    In general I do think it's a really clever system.