Jerame Davis

Why This Election Matters More Than You Think

Filed By Jerame Davis | November 01, 2010 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Democratic Party, election 2010, Redistricting, Republican party, US Census

Sure, folks are pissed-off, disappointed, disaffected or just disillusioned right now. But, if you don't get out and vote on Tuesday, you're going to have a lot more to kvetch about for a lot longer than screwed.jpgyou might think.

Here's the problem - everyone is so focused on the Congressional horse races they're missing the serious implications for state and local politics in this election.

As with all years ending in zero, the US Census was taken in 2010. This non-political, once-a-decade counting of the population has a very real and lasting impact on the political process: redistricting.

You see, in most states, the political party that controls the state legislature in the year after a census is in charge of redistricting. This means that party that gets to draw the district boundaries for both state and federal legislative districts using the new Census data. These boundaries are in place for a full decade - until the next Census and next reapportionment.

This has huge consequences, folks.

The power to draw district boundaries means you can carve up various constituencies that aren't favorable to your party's candidates in ways that dilute that group's influence. For example, say you have an area that's heavily populated by LGBT folks and you know they tend to vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. If you're the Republicans, you want that voting bloc divvied between as many districts as possible so all those LGBT folk aren't voting in the same contests. When you control the legislature during a redistricting year, you control this power.

What you get are districts that are tailor-made - using sophisticated computer software, detailed demographic info from the Census and prior election data - to ensure the controlling party's candidate is favored over the opposition by insurmountable margins.

So you think things are bad now? Imagine what it will be like if the Republicans are allowed to control the state and federal legislative district boundaries for the next 10 years.

Remember - the Republican party nearly universally opposes:

  • Inclusive ENDA
  • Hate crimes protections
  • DADT repeal
  • DOMA repeal
  • Adoption rights
  • Marriage equality
  • Federal benefits for legally married couples
  • LGBT-inclusive immigration reform
  • Any form of transgender inclusion/acceptance

Are these the people who should be given the power to draw political boundaries that will be with us for a decade?

Should good, pro-equality state and local candidates have to suffer and be at a disadvantage for years to come because of missteps in Washington?

Is being dissatisfied with the real and quantifiable progress of the past two years really enough to give the Republicans the advantage in federal, state and local politics for the next decade?

The answer to each of those questions: Hell no!

So go vote tomorrow. The progress of LGBT rights over the next decade may depend on it.

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This is another topic that draws blank stares from many folks I've been pestering to vote.

Not only will anti-equality people get to redraw the districts, they will not EVER consider reforming the redistricting process.

Thanks Jerame for such a detailed, timely, and to the point posting.

Traditional the Democratic Party was known for its "social consciousness".

In many states the races are going to be very close with the winners receiving margins which are quite close. It is scary to hear that with the stakes being so great, Democrats are not voting.

Excellent points, Jerame.
Thanks for the reminder- we can get lost in the smokescreen of high-profile (read sensationalized) national issues.

I think the screw in the animation with this article has to be bigger or the person getting the screw job be smaller for it to be an accurate cartoon representation of the situation we will be in if the ubber conservatives get their way this time around. One thing we can say however is after 8 years of Dubyah in office and the lack luster two years of the Obama Administration on LGBT issues, we are used to getting "Screwed".

Another reason to vote. There are plenty, it's just that sometimes you have to look for them.

I still haven't found any reasons to vote in my district, other than to keep on beating my head against this particular wall. I'm not going to change uber wingers Cindy Noe and Mike Delph's employment status with my vote.


This is the tensest election for me in 6 years, and all the additional grays on my scalp can attest to that. I can't imagine not voting in this one. Its just crazy.

I got to cast my vote early in Illinois, and I'm glad I did, so now all I have to do tomorrow is GOTV.

Phil-Thanks for voting and for GOTV!

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | November 2, 2010 4:18 AM

House Forecast: G.O.P. Plus 54-55 Seats; Significantly Larger or Smaller Gains Possible Nate Silver in Mondays NY Times

The election remains volatile because of the economy - we're in a Depression. "We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression." economist Jack Krugman, NY Times 06 28 2010

It doesn't matter in the least whether the Republicans or the Democrats win today because the rest of us are going to lose.

• LGBT folks are going to lose this election, like we've lost every election since Stonewall. Bigots will win this election.

• Working people are going to lose this election no matter which party of austerity wins. So will unions. Both parties are run by union busters.

• Environmentalists and everyone affected by the growing destabilization of the atmosphere and oceans are going to lose this election. BP and Haliburton will win this election.

• Immigrants and imported workers victimized by racist decisions like Obama's denial of health care and the Republicans immigrant bashing are going to lose.

• Thousands of GI's and tens of thousands of civilians in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are going to be crushed, burned, and torn to pieces because the Pentagon, BP and Haliburton are going to win this election.

• The nearly 17% permanently unemployed, the homeless and those callously thrown into poverty by the malign neglect of the Democrats and Republicans are going to lose. Both parties enrich the rich and deny passage of multi-trillion dollar bills to end unemployment, create a green economy and recreate a green infrastructure.

We've had decades of right wing policies under Reagan, the Bushes, the Clintons and now Obama. Thankfully people, very large numbers of people, are beginning to learn. Vote for socialist or AFL_CIO Labor Party candidates, write in, or join the millions tired of being duped and sit it out.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | November 2, 2010 4:29 AM

Oops - Paul Krugman - "Paul Krugman joined The New York Times in 1999 as a columnist on the Op-Ed Page and continues as professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Mr. Krugman received his B.A. from Yale University in 1974 and his Ph.D. from MIT in 1977. He has taught at Yale, MIT and Stanford. At MIT he became the Ford International Professor of Economics."

You know what doesn't matter - what the post says because Bill Perdue is probably gonna disagree if it's about politics. I think we could say the sun is shining and Bill would grumble that it's too bright and he's getting skin cancer from it.

For those who actually care about not losing the progress we've made over the past two years, please vote and vote Democrat.

There are those of us who think that the Democrats retention of DADT and DOMA while dumping ENDA is not progress. There are those who think Obamas policy of killing and wounding a few thousand more GIs and a few more tens of thousands of innocent civilians is not progress. And there are those who think 15 million unemployed is not progress.


Vote for socialist or AFL_CIO Labor Party candidates, write in, or join the millions tired of being duped and sit it out.

Lets just hope the pollsters are wrong on this one, and that the cellphone users that seldom get polled show up in force. The last I heard is that there is generally about a 10 to 14 point lead for many of the conservative Republicans and that the GOP hopes to get control of both the House and Senate. Hopefully they are wrong. I would hope that like myself many who are cellphone only users did not get included in the polls many publish. I know I am one of those who dumped my wired service a few years back so they never poll me anymore and I am happy not to get those phone calls anyway.

Redistricting is one of the most important reasons to vote this year. We've been stuck in this polarized mess for a decade because of the last redistricting. Why can't people just remember why things happen the way they do? Especially when they're helping it to happen!