Our country recently celebrated Veterans Day and rightly paid homage to American soldiers who gave their lives in battle. Presidents have called on our military to make this sacrifice to promote democracy. It is sadly ironic that back home in this country elected representatives routinely betray democracy with partisan gerrymandering.
Now the U.S. Supreme Court has joined in this betrayal by refusing to uphold the constitutional principal of one-person-one-vote enunciated by that court decades ago. The court is leaving it to legislators to decide whether to preserve democracy or continue the partisan gerrymandering that protects their grip on their offices.
In Wisconsin, Republican legislative candidates drew only 48.6% of the assembly vote state-wide in 2018. Yet despite mustering an anemic minority of the votes, their gerrymandered districts allowed them to retain 60 out of the total of 99 assembly seats. A stunning betrayal of democracy.
The GOP’s partisan gerrymandering allows them to control the legislature even when they don’t have majority support statewide. Because of this, they cynically refuse even to hold hearings on proposals for a non-partisan commission method of redistricting. Republicans in Iowa adopted such a method in 1980, and it has worked well for them ever since. Wisconsin legislative leaders clearly prize partisan control over democracy.
Abraham Lincoln urged the country to dedicate itself to a principle of self-government; that “government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.” It is now time for the people to insist that legislators publicly pledge to preserve democracy and end partisan gerrymandering. Failure to do so is a betrayal of democracy.
Calvin R. Dexter, Wausau
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