We have a standard for judging partisan gerrymandering. The Supreme Court should use it.

In his farewell address to the nation, then-President Barack Obama called for an end to partisan gerrymandering, saying that congressional districts should be drawn “to cater to common sense and not rigid extremes.” After his presidency, Obama will work with former attorney general Eric Holder, who will lead the National Democratic Redistricting Initiative, a group established to challenge Republican-drawn district maps in the courts.

One obstacle is that the Supreme Court has yet to recognize a discernible and manageable standard for identifying unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. In our recent book, “Gerrymandering in America,” we show that there is indeed a standard to judge these cases that can be directly derived from the Constitution (Monkey Cage article by Anthony J. McGann, Charles Anthony Smith, Michael Latner and Alex Keena)

The bell tolls for us

“Then you will have to fight in your country as we fight here.”

“Yes, we will have to fight.”

“But are there not many fascists in your country?”

“There are many who do not know they are fascists but will find it out when the time comes.”

“But you cannot destroy them until they rebel?”

“No,” Robert Jordan said. “We cannot destroy them. But we can educate the people so that they will fear fascism and recognize it as it appears and combat it.” (SLO New Times Commentary)

My Reflections on the 4th

In the face of today’s polarized, partisan environment, with the country’s political leadership caught between spasms of incompetence and arrogance, many are nostalgic for the days of yore when, the story goes, moderate centrists worked together and governed through bipartisan cooperation.

The problem is, this vision of centrist leadership is mostly bullshit (New Times Op-Ed)

The Health of Nations

The U.S. political system faces a monumental challenge in its capacity to fight off parasitic disease in the form of the Republican Party’s attempt to dismantle Obamacare and use the proceeds to enrich its biggest donors. Historically, it is rare for democracies to establish a widely beneficial entitlement, then to have a major political party attempt to simultaneously roll back those services and redistribute resources to the most affluent members of society, intentionally exacerbating inequalities that have been growing for decades (SLO New Times).