Fog again this late-afternoon Tuesday here in California’s Central Valley — tule gloom thick and depressing. After days of this shit, life seems to be a little sadder and ominous than even in the thinnest sunshine, which after a certain time seems farther and farther away.
Whining, I know, but what the shit?
Also in a fog growing thicker by the minute is American democracy, which with the current situation next year’s mid-terms are looking more and more like a national disaster unparalleled in modern times — maybe in 150 years. This country is awash in division, although the vast majority is losing the fight against a crazed, unscrupulous and nefarious minority to just about all aspects of life. Republicans scream at the top of their lungs about useless, unimportant shit, while Democrats speak in measured tones, a circumstance leading to an unspeakable end.
On top of that, despite some good news with the economy and COVID, Joe Biden’s standing with Americans is in the toilet, which doesn’t help for the 2022 cycle.
In the new Washington Post-ABC News poll, Biden is down to 41-percent approval and 53-percent disapproval.
A deficient unheard of by any president except for the Orange turd:: ‘At the same point in their first term, Presidents Jimmy Carter (30.1-percent), Ronald Reagan (35.3-percent), George H.W. Bush (22.9-percent), Bill Clinton (44.2-percent), George W. Bush (9.1-percent), and Barack Obama (41.7-percent) all had much lower disapproval ratings. The only recent president with a higher disapproval rating at this point in his tenure was the man Biden beat in November: Donald Trump, at 56.7-percent.‘
Even more unpleasant: ‘Sixty-one percent of registered voters in the Nov. 9-10 survey said Biden should make way for another figure in 2024.‘
Max Boot at The Washington Post this morning: Even worse, the poll shows that registered voters prefer Republicans over Democrats in congressional races by 10 points. If the midterm elections were held today, the result would be a GOP landslide. Given how extremist and authoritarian the Republican Party has become (the 13 House Republicans who voted for a bipartisan infrastructure bill are receiving death threats), that is deep cause for concern.
All of this shit stands against the tradition of the party holding the White House most-always loses big in the mid-terms. and despite the absolute horror boiling from the Republican party — from insurrections/riots to CRT to Big Bird and the list goes near-forever — the bottom line is that America’s mental state is way-precarious, to say the least.
Adding to that public notion fermenting a ‘deep cause for concern,’ Republicans are wickedly manipulating democracy:
Forget historical precedent: Democrats may lose the House next year before campaigning even begins thanks to redrawn district maps that are more distorted, more disjointed, and more gerrymandered than any since the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965.https://t.co/SbV5braYnz
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 16, 2021
Backstory on this frightful state-by-state of affairs from The New York Times this morning:
A year before the polls open in the 2022 midterm elections, Republicans are already poised to flip at least five seats in the closely divided House thanks to redrawn district maps that are more distorted, more disjointed and more gerrymandered than any since the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965.
The rapidly forming congressional map, a quarter of which has taken shape as districts are redrawn this year, represents an even more extreme warping of American political architecture, with state legislators in many places moving aggressively to cement their partisan dominance.
The flood of gerrymandering, carried out by both parties but predominantly by Republicans, is likely to leave the country ever more divided by further eroding competitive elections and making representatives more beholden to their party’s base.
At the same time, Republicans’ upper hand in the redistricting process, combined with plunging approval ratings for President Biden and the Democratic Party, provides the party with what could be a nearly insurmountable advantage in the 2022 midterm elections and the next decade of House races.
Congressional maps serve, perhaps more than ever before, as a predictor of which party will control the House of Representatives, where Democrats now hold 221 seats to Republicans’ 213.
In the 12 states that have completed the mapping process, Republicans have gained an advantage for seats in Iowa, North Carolina, Texas and Montana, and Democrats have lost the advantage in districts in North Carolina and Iowa.
All told, Republicans have added a net of five seats that the party can expect to hold while Democrats are down one. Republicans need to flip just five Democratic-held seats next year to seize a House majority.
“They’re really taking a whack at competition,” said Michael Li, a redistricting expert at the Brennan Center for Justice.
“The path back to a majority for Democrats if they lose in 2022 has to run through states like Texas, and they’re just taking that off the table.”
In most states, the map drawing is controlled by state legislators, who often resort to far-reaching gerrymanders.
Republicans have control over the redistricting process in states that represent 187 congressional seats, compared with just 75 for Democrats.
The rest are to be drawn by outside panels or are in states where the two parties must agree on maps or have them decided by the courts.
Gerrymandering is carried out in many ways, but the two most common forms are “cracking” and “packing.” Cracking is when mapmakers spread a cluster of a certain type of voters — for example, those affiliated with the opposing party — among several districts to dilute their vote.
Packing is when members of a demographic group, like Black voters, or voters in the opposing political party, are crammed into as few districts as possible.
The Republican gains this year build on what was already a significant cartographic advantage. The existing maps were heavily gerrymandered by statehouse Republicans after the G.O.P.’s wave election in 2010, in a rapid escalation of the congressional map-drawing wars.
This year, both parties are starting from a highly contorted map amid a zero-sum political environment. With advancements in both voter data and software, they have been able to take a more surgical approach to the process.
“Fear is driving all of this,” David Pepper, a former Ohio Democratic Party chairman, said on Wednesday at a hearing to discuss a proposed map that would give Republicans 13 of the state’s 15 congressional seats.
“Fear of what would happen if we actually had a real democracy.”
Odds are not on the side of the good guys.
Yet it’s not supposed to be this way — “In a democracy, oftentimes, other people win,” but in some elections through cheating, democracy ‘oftentimes’ is already gone:
Once again, here we are…
(Illustration out front: M.C Escher’s ‘Scholastica,’ found here)