It is hard to believe but the election season if already fast approaching. We are only about one year from the next election cycle. We get a sneak preview in only 6 weeks with the governor elections in New Jersey and Virginia. Things change and remain the same. The Voting Rights Act covers Virginia but not New Jersey. Virginia has elected a black as governor, New Jersey never has in spite of a very substantial black population. The Voting Rights Act had nothing to do with the Virginia election rather it was the quality of the candidates and the changing demographics of Virginia with so many Yankees moving there to take those plum Governmnet, Inc. jobs. Surely you have noticed over the last 50 years that DC never has a recession. No matter what is going on in the rest of the nation the Feds have not cut back, ever, on spending for their favored programs and they have never cut back on adding new programs and federal workers and bureaucrats. Thus the growth in northern Virginia over the last 50 years. All those new residents are dependent directly or indirectly on the Federal government and its continued expansion for their own economic well being (think lobbyists and contractors doing government work) and thus will vote for the party who favors government growth and expansion.
Next year will also be tense politically because it is the time for the census and the re allocation of Congressional seats throughout the States and the drawing of Congressional district boundaries. It appears at least that we will not have to endure the ignominy of having an organization like ACORN being involved in the census process and thus the Congressional district selection process. Teen age prostitution was enough to embarrass the Democrats this time around. They aren’t as tough as the old days when Huey Long said he could be re elected as long as he wasn’t caught with a dead boy in his bed.
Those boundaries make for the most intense of political fights even though most of them are more or less done behind the curtain like the man in the Wizard of Oz. Those gyrations and manipulations d0n’t garner much public attention but they do consume the politicians because those outcomes affect their very existence and livelihood. It has been so for over 200 years. You recall the expression “Gerrymander” and that it came from the earliest days of our nation when the good folks and politicians in Mass. decided to shoe horn a Congressional district to assure the re election of the good mister Gerry. Things have not changed since that time to this. At least we can be happy that the manipulation is limited to boundaries and counting bodies as opposed to really arcane voting rights and rules like they had in Britain for several centuries before the reforms of the 19th century.
England had a crazy history of electoral districts based on a variety of factors that were not based on population distribution or really any particularly logical system. The members of Parliament were selected from different districts around the country based on ancient noble rights, church influence from long ago and special grants by varioius Kings of England over the years. By the time of the American Revolution there even a name for this method, or lack of method, and the electoral districts that came from this system–they were called “Rotten Borroughs”. They were mostly in the southern portion of the country. That also was the result of historical accident and happenstance as much as anything. That was the area closest to Europe. That is the area most heavily settled by the Romans and then the Normans after the invasion by William the Conqueror, or Bastard. (They weren’t as timid in those days about being politically correct and called a spade a spade.) The southern half of England had the most population for a very long time but as the industrial revolution grew the population exploded in the midlands and they were terribly under represented in Parliament as a result of the Rottend Borroughs in the south. It took a couple of generations for this in balance to be corrected. It did happen, peacefully and democratically and without a punishing statute like our Voting Rights Act. Many in Britain would question whether they have really improved all that much with a more equal distribution of members of Parliament. The are after all still politicians whatever their origination geographically.
“Every soldier carries a Marshall’s baton in his knapsack”–Napoleon. I like the optimistism of this one and the belief in the cream always finding a way to rise to the top. www.olcranky.wordpress.clom