Friday, June 08, 2012

California's "Independent" Redistricting Commission Only Opens Doors to District Manipulation from Outside

The Ghost of Gerrymandering Has Shape-changed into Updated Forms in California

Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814), inventor of "gerrymandering," one of many 'modern' techniques of subverting the representativeness of democratic elections, while keeping perversions of them alive. He went on to be Vice President of the United States. Corruption in the USA goes back a long time, and that is why a systemic rethinking of additional checks and balances are required--many suggested in Toward a Bioregional State (2005).
 
One crucial point about the bioregional state is that districts are to be independent of partisan factions in their creation. This is called avoiding the gerrymandering process. However, I have discussed before how important is the process of districting for elections to be both independent as well as unmanipulatable as based on stable biophsyical aspects of watersheds for election districts that have many positive multiplier effects. Additionally, there are other factors that make real democratic elections. Recent changes in California only concentrate on one of these, while undermining that change with other changes that makes it worse.

Recently, what is interesting is that in the U.S., both the State of Washington (complete) and the State of California (almost complete) are moving toward a more independent redistricting commission. This is partially on the way to the bioregional state--though at least California's version of this leaves much to be desired and is even undermining of its own representative function by other associated changes.

The California version of "non-partisan redistricting" seems to be mere show without substance. Why? Most districts are still wildly partisan. Only a mere 12 of 53 of all these novel districts are considered open enough for either of the major U.S. parties to win. (See data below.) Second, it is without substance because at the same moment, the Californian legislature has allowed greater external financial manipulation in their state's 'local' elections. This is noted below as well. It is exactly the same how Wisconsin was recently 'feudalized' to outside cash against the will of its native voters as well since outside cash gave Wisconsin a makeover and redesigned that state's formal institutional and formal policy arrangements instead of such issues being left to regional people living in the state. Similar issues like that in California now will entirely undermine any claimed 'independent' benefits to redistricting.

What use is it to have an independent election redistricting in California or any state when that state opens the door to allow the election process that takes place within its districts to be run even more by financing from outside the state and against the will of the people of the state? This is why the bioregional state supports public funded elections and other factors as a check and balance on financial corruption and gatekeeping of democratic processes. Maine is a good example of what to do.

Four Basic Requirements for a Democracy in Practice



In Toward a Bioregional State (Chapter 10, p. 45), there are four basic requirements to get fully democratic elections without cheating. Most places in the world prefer the cheating. Most democratic theory in the world passes over these 'informal and ecological checks and balances' required for democracy, by artificially concentrating only on formal checks and balances. Most states of the world that claim to be 'formally democratic' lack all of these actual informal and ecologically democratic checks and balances in practice. They have the form without the substance of elections. As a result, they have very corrupt and unrepresentative election outcomes as a result. Now, California barely reaches 1/2 a point in these criteria--though up from zero! The four basic requirements for a democracy in practice are:

1. geographically inclusive, competitive, ungerrymandered districts

The word gerrymander (originally written Gerry-mander) was used for the first time in the Boston Gazette newspaper on March 26, 1812. Appearing with the term, and helping spread and sustain its popularity, was a political cartoon depicting a strange animal with claws, wings and a dragon-type head satirizing the map of the odd shaped district.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Slide watersheds in as electoral districts, and you have a whole different (unriggable) ball game--closer to how citizens express their concern.

California is approaching this criteria. It gets a half point. It has made it districts less gerrymandered by incumbent parties, yes, though the result of the novel process for redistricting is still unconnected to particular biophysical features of the state. Such watersheds are the 'natural' areas where people of any ideology share the same environmental risk which can be organized into state policies. 

Moreover, ongoing redistricting opens the door to future gerrymandering. There are better ways to reallocate ongoing census changes as changes in the proportionality of particular stable districts and other ways mentioned in the book. So the 'independent' redistricting has yet to go very far on this first criteria--and many of its districts are still partisan 'geographic hacks' of the system with only 12 of 53 actually being seen as competitive! Let's be charitable: California has gone halfway or less on this criteria--and lets round up, giving California now 1/2 a point out of four required for having a fully transparent democratic election in practice.

A second critique of California's novel election system connected to this novel districting is that they attempt to minimize the 100% voting approval almost immediately via artificially introducing [1] the rule that a single open primary always will artificially have the outcome of only two potential candidates run for the election [2] in another artificial constant of a single seat. This is indeed more competitive than the past, though that is hardly saying much because the actual competition in the election itself is intentionally minimized! There is still is an artificial limitation on 100% of the voters determining the candidate that wins because the competition dynamics of the open primary in the actual election will always be less than 100% encouragement to vote by artifically limiting it to two parties to run. Moreover, since they are competing for a single seat, this artificially reduced competition in the election in the district will lead to unoptimal plurality wins more of the time for that single seat! This means smaller and smaller minority wins will occur which will make democratic process outcomes less legitimate instead of more legitimate despite ungerrymandered election districts. The gerrymander motif moves away from districting itself as the pre-rigging of the election, toward creating the artificial rigging of an election via the limited results of the open primary and the subsequent reduction of actual widespread competition for the real election. After the open primary, regardless of how high or low are the vote totals, its required then that only two candidates can compete to be the assured winner of the election. That means two levels are introduced in the election system where artificial pluralities determine the candidates to run and reduce the effect of 100% of the voters on the actual election run later.

2. Proportional Representation with Majoritarian Allotment Clause (discussed elsewhere, PRMA) that sets up a context for 100% maximization of voting and party competition 

California has somewhat moved toward this bioregional state recommendation, with the completely open primaries where all parties compete in the same primary. However, open primaries are a distraction for how closed the election becomes artificially after them! So California gets zero points here.

By having a single seat still keyed to being up for grabs--which is artificially stable--it assures more plurality wins become possible because the open primary is designed to encourage plurality wins by only allowing two parties to compete in the actual election. Why vote in the actual election, if you dislike either candidate and are unable to field another? For another solution, the bioregional state suggests that the seat outcome should be closely tied to the actual demographics of the win and thus a fluxing seat arrangement with particular characteristics of the win. This is described here and here Only this "PRMA" encourages 100% maximization of the actual vote in the actual elections. It is unimportant if the 100% of the vote is appealed to in an open primary vote because that is a distraction from the actual election. The actual vote for the power position fails to encourage voters at all, and actually artificially reduces the competition to only two.

It seems that California has adopted this situation that is quite like the suboptimal ways that IRV encourages parties to win with even lower vote totals without added competition that would change the actual formation of their campaigns. This Californian arrangement artificially filters this 100% potential of voting in elections by gatekeeping against it, and just puts the two largest plurality groups in competition with each other after the end of the primary. Thus there is little incentive for actually making representative campaigns when post-primary, minority-appeal parties know that one or the other 'have to' win--so why bother changing your appeals? If they can get past the open primary, it's clear sailing for an unrepresentative appeal because one of two lower appeals appeals have to win at that stage, so why bother with making the appeal even wider?

California virtually guarantees that the actual electoral voting for a representative after the primary will be based on much lower plurality wins regardless of who wins--i.e., will be a candidate that the majority of the district fails to want. Is this part of California's actual purpose? To make minority wins in districts more possible and to preserve unrepresentative campaign strategies from wider district-wide 'appeals'? There's nothing in this arrangement that actually encourages parties to really compete for 100% of the vote. That requires an open election (which is removed!), instead of merely an open primary. I argue there are better arrangements in PRMA.

My first suggestion thus would be to remove this artificially introduced open primary entirely to have all parties or individuals directly compete in an open election instead for the representative power itself--without that primary process gatekeeping the election.

The second suggestion would be to remove the artificially pre-rigged decision on a single seat as the only possible outcome in all cases because it will virtually guarantee low plurality wins for a single seat, and to instead to make the electoral seat outcome itself flexible under PRMA voting outcome rules.

3. Lack of corruptible special legislation that bans competitive party dynamics (by putting third parties under special rules that incumbent parties administer)

There is little discussion in what I have read about the removal of state laws that hamper the registration of third parties for appearing on the ballot for actual competition. You doubt that these exist? Tell that to the Green Party of Tennessee, founded in 2001 and fighting over ten years in the courts to have the right to actually appear on the ballot. It was allowed to finally be on the ballot--11 years after it was founded.

Many U.S. states have a notorious combined "petition and/or 5% rule" to even exercise your rights to form a party--meaning that citizen's novel parties lack the basic Constitutional right to participate in elections and to appear on the ballot unless the corrupt incumbent parties, that they are challenging, first 'approve' that they want a challenger via accepting a signature petition of people who want to see that novel party registered. Other parties can challenge these signatures in court, and they do avidly. So it's really a withdrawn right to appear on the ballot at all in many states.

Second, if a novel party does get on the ballot this way, then a party might be held to a "5% rule" to cut down on incumbent party competition that actually serves all citizens (unmentioned in any Constitution that I know of--so probably illegal to constrain party competition dynamics in this way intentionally). Under such rules like this, a novel party after it crosses the invented hurdle of getting on the ballot, can be banned later from appearing on the ballot unless they keep getting at least 5% overall in elections. For instance, despite some of its candidates getting up to 20% in some elections and rising, the Green Party of Texas lost its ballot access statewide this way.

Third, one of the rationales why parties by themselves are poor vehicles for sustainability, is that many incumbent parties fund third parties secretly with the design of breaking up the demographics of support of their challengers. This has happened both in the history of the Green Party of Arizona (funded by the Republicans to break up a Democratic seat/district--the Green Party rejected such funding there), and it happened to the Green Party of Texas (funded by the Republicans and accepted by the Green party in Texas: "Republican operatives linked to the reelection campaign of Governor Rick Perry helped to fund the [Green Party] signature drive for ballot access.") So it benefited incumbents in two ways: one, they could fund the Green Party illegally and then take it to court as well to invalidate all its ballot votes--which they did to have it removed from the ballot by this stratagem; second, they could use it simultaneously to break up the demographics of support for the Green Party and for the Democratic Party, which they did. However, the Green Party of Texas was successful in getting relisted on the ballot though only after another court battle.

Thus the bioregional state recommends removing all special legislation marginalizing third parties, while at the same time insisting that parties by themselves will seldom get us to sustainability without the bioregional state changes itself.

The argument of the bioregional state is that sustainability is unachivable without formal democratic institutional change (that would interact with other wider Ecological Reformation institutional additions in educational frameworks, local consumptive issues, and financial issues).

Other people have offered other methods to get to sustainability of course. What about these different methods to get there? Other routes are only indirect, susceptible to corruption, and have a history of backsliding.

First, however, the bioregional state argues that a single informal party is a poor strategy for change to sustainability. A single party can be corrupted like the fading greenness of Die Grunen in Germany (discussed at that link above).

Second, a single informal party can be used as a vehicle to be manipulated by other existing incumbent parties' strategies against each other.

Third, a single party is a poor strategy for sustainability because support for greenness comes from across the left-right spectrum seen in polls for global supermajorities supporting green politics. This makes a single informal party a poor strategy for mobilizing toward sustainability. It is perhaps ultimately self-defeating and self-divisive of the commonality of views on greenness to attempt to fit 'green' into one party framework. (That being said, I do support various forms of green parties however just without expecting that the model of political change for sustainability can ever be achieved by a singular party without additional formal institutional changes).

Fourth, the bioregional state argues that with so many solutions already in evidence though simply unapplied, it is unable to be said that there is a lack of solutions that is keeping sustainability from occurring.

On the contrary, it is political, economic, and technological corruption and gatekeeping against the massive supermajorities of the world that is keeping us from sustainability. Corruption is keeping us from living in representative democracies and maintaining a representative developmentalism. This corruption keeps us living within crony raw material regimes [more on this] instead of arrangements more democratic and consumer-choice driven that would look closer to the commodity ecology arrangement instead of commodity arrangements that destroy the planet, our health, and our economies.

In existing democracies many conflicts of interest keep unsustainability in place. Only by creating additional forms of 'informal and ecological checks and balances' can we address these conflicts of interest and innately allow our political economies to be more directly 'in sync' with this global support for environmentalism, sound economics, and sound health practices.

To summarize, [1] unsustainability is corruption and conflict of interest. [2] This corruption is created by 'out of sync' formal institutional arrangements in states that create an informal gatekeeping on politics, instead of formal institutions creating representation in politics. [3] This gatekeeping and unrepresentativeness has a developmental effect toward environmental degradation and self-destruction [4] contrary to public support. [5] It is additionally contrary to polls showing sustainabilility to be the supermajority popular concern of the world.

This is why the bioregional state approaches sustainability as requiring a more competitive formal democracy--to remove the informal corrupt gatekeeping frameworks to make the state a democratic institution 'in sync' with environmental concern, formally. The bioregional state would do this through over 60 additional 'ecological checks and balances'. These are indexed at the back of the book.

Our policies are so radically undemocratic and out of sync with public preferences in energy, technology, investment choices, and political parties 'in power'--because they are keeping out other parties from competition via corrupt vote regulations or voting methods that the bioregional state would solve. Gerrymandering is important for how corrupt, unsustainable states maintain themselves though it is only one issue.

Getting over this wider morass of formal/informal corruption interactions requires identifying the many conflicts of interest in 'still incomplete' democracies that require more 'ecological checks and balances' to demote informal gatekeeping and unrepresentative developmental policies. Sustainability is a completed democracy with many additional checks and balances against formal and informal power corruption that would made developmental policy feedback automatically more representative and ecologically sound.

So such 'district reform' can be a sideshow without the removal of special legislation discriminating against actual party competition and thus artificially propping up the 'two party system' of the U.S.A. in other ways, as the gatekeeping shape-shifts into novel forms.

In summary of this point, thinking about only 'one reform at a time' ignores the systemic interaction of the whole election system that is more important to analyze. Most states discriminate highly against 'new parties' appearing in various ways by requiring them to have some larger percentage of the vote potential before registering or they are banned from actually taking place in the election! This means that actual incumbent parties are defining corruptly what kind of competition that they allow from their own challengers--and of course incumbent parties dislike competition. Without removing third party discrimination legislation, all the independent redistricting processes will be pointless for creating competitive districts that appeal to 100% of the voting population if gatekeeping can occur elsewhere.

4. clean elections 

This criteria obviously is missing for three main rationales in California--possibly four.

External Money. First, the California legislature at the moment it claims it is bowing to popular demand to reform its corrupt gerrymanding process for election drawing based on incumbent parties desires, is just laughing at its citizens by letting more corruption flow in to shore up their incumbencies from outside the state. California now allows much more money to flow into the state from election drivers outside of it. This completely undermines any 'reforms' taken within the state on the district drawing level by letting private party groups undermine that local public representation even more, in districts that now can be rigged more readily by money from outside against the will of the people inside! Thus Californian novel districts, claimed as 'more locally representative and less partisan' are a lie because California is just shifting the origins of the corruption of their districts to another level entirely because they allowed more external money from outside of California to flood these novel districts from the very beginning.

The Useless Open Primary. Second, the whole open primary idea (as Republicans discuss below) was their idea to break up a more consolidated support of the Democratic Party instead of any interest of Republicans in power for more representative elections. Since Republicans as a culture and as a party are a minority in California, it is the Republicans that want the open primary to assure that the can run their minority support candidates in all districts. After that, electronic vote fraud, mostly allied to their party, will take care of the rest. See the other below video of Clint Curtis discussing Republican Party-allied e-vote fraud, admitted under oath. He wrote a computer program for Republicans in Florida to "do just that": "to control the vote in South Florida."

Electronic Vote Fraud. Third, digital electronic voting machines are introducing a completely rigged world of elections across the United States and the world. Until the election voting machines are removed, the U.S. as a whole will continue to put people back in office who are the ones who have bought their election outcomes fraudulently through the voting machine companies instead of being elected because they actually won the election.

Direct Violence. Fourth, incumbent parties in the U.S., when they are assured that the corporate media is missing, are quite willing to use direct repression to remove a competitive party atmosphere:

Douglas Campbell, Legal, Registered Green Candidate for Michigan Governor, 2002: Physically Carried off Stage of "Public Debate" and Roughed Up While Democrats and Republicans Twiddle). Mr. Campbell had his ribs broken. He was thrown in jail without medical attention. Ten more points on this point here.


Hacking Democracy - the Hursti Hack (Demonstration and Testing)  
11:42 min


"Can the votes on this Diebold system be hacked using the memory card?" Yes, of course.


2 people voted Yes.
6 people voted No.


The machine reported 7 Yes, 1 No. [And destroyed the actual votes in the process without any record of the change itself.]


As a software "hacker" (in the proper, non-malicious definition), I can say this is definitely a completely valid and utterly shocking "hack" that may have affected countless elections over the years..."If I had not seen what was behind this, I'd have no reason not to, I would have certified this election as a true and accurate result of a vote." - Ion Sancho, Supervisor of Elections, Leon County, Florida. From the highly underrated documentary, "Hacking Democracy". See more about the hack and its background: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hursti_Hack

Thus, California's politics and the whole USA becomes more of a joke instead of less because parties are hypocritically undermining their own claimed 'reform' by the above issues.

I would argue at this point that it was larger international and national interests that wanted to see California's more state-based corruptions more externally manipulative into their own corrupt arrangements. This could only be done by destroying the existing state-based gerrymandered system, and this could only be done by selling the idea to the people as some kind of 'election reform' when it most assuredly is otherwise when all changes are taken into account. After all this idea went in under Governor Schwarzenegger, who, by the way, before he was elected, went to private meetings in England with billionaire Lord Rothschild and billionaire Warren Buffett. Now is that really necessary to meet secretly with international billionaires to be elected as the emergency governor in California after Governor Gray Davis was booted out? And if it is, whose interest did Schwarzenegger serve while inserted governor at all? He certainly helped destroy an already existing completely electric car in that state as well.

Warren Buffett, Schwarzenegger, and Lord Rothschild had private meetings in England before Schwarzenegger was installed as Governor of California.




California, you are still asleep if you believe all changes in your state are for your own interests or driven exclusively by your own interests so far.

The bioregional state would like to help you get your own interests represented instead.

Below are four articles on the issue, with issues highlighted in boldface [with comments in brackets]. I start with an historical article before the more recent independent redistricting began:

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1.


11-21-2010 16:03 [two years ago]
California remapping panel must avoid traps

By Dan Walters

Political cartography may not be rocket science, but redrawing legislative districts is an arcane, highly technical process with countless legal and political pitfalls.

California is shifting the drawing of new legislative and congressional districts from the Legislature ― which notoriously uses it to fix [pre-rig] elections ― to a Citizens Redistricting Commission, and the biggest uncertainty is whether it will fall into one of those traps.

The names of the first eight redistricting commissioners were chosen at random Thursday and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who championed the shift via ballot measures, declared, "The redistricting reforms we achieved on the ballot take the power of drawing district lines away from the politicians and puts it in the hands of the people ― where it belongs." [Nonsense. Two years passed and the gerrymandering may be out, though the legislature made sure that financial interests outside the state of California will increasingly dominate its elections more than ever! Why remove gerrymandering at all, if this is just a ploy to break up domestic democratic corruption in California to introduce a more international/national corruption and clientelism that is even further removed from the people of California?]

Well, maybe.

The eight commissioners, survivors from more than 30,000 initial applicants, will choose six more colleagues from the remaining 28 finalists. The full panel must consist of five Democrats, five Republicans and four either independents or minor-party registrants.

After receiving data from the 2010 census, the commission will draw 80 new Assembly districts, 40 new state Senate districts, four new Board of Equalization districts and new districts for however many congressional members California has ― 53 now but a number that could go up or down or remain unchanged, depending on final census results.

That's when the fun begins. Those in the tiny community of redistricting experts, most of whom are affiliated with one of the two major parties, are already lining up to become paid advisers to the commission. Choosing consultants who can navigate the process without stealthily skewing it toward one party or the other will be one of the commission's most vital early decisions.

It would help immensely were law professor Paul McKaskle one of those chosen Thursday. McKaskle is a law professor who was hired by the state Supreme Court to draw new districts when it took on the chore due to political stalemates after the 1970 and 1990 censuses.

McKaskle's plans were models of nonpartisan fairness. Although he missed Thursday's cut, the eight initial commissioners still could place him on the final panel. A man who did make it Thursday, Republican Vincent Barabba, could also provide informed input since he directed the 1980 U.S. census for Democratic President Jimmy Carter.

The redistricting plans must meet many state and federal legal standards, such as population equality, compactness and fairness to ethnic minorities (although every Californian is now a minority) and whatever the commission decrees probably will be challenged in federal or state courts by someone on some grounds.

Thus, unless the maps are meticulously drawn, [even more partisan] judges could wind up doing the chore once again.

Dan Walters is a columnist for Sacramento Bee. He can be reached at dwalters@sacbee.com. For back columns, visit www.sacbee.com/walters.

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http://koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2010/11/137_76701.html


2.



New map, new rules shake up California primaries
By Paul Kane, Published: June 6, 2012

Primary voters [I suggest remove the primary altogether to get a less gatekept election] in California on Tuesday began to remake the face of Congress as a redrawn electoral map and new balloting rules promised a significant overhaul of the state’s delegation, which accounts for about 12 percent of the [federal] House of Representatives.

Even before Tuesday’s competitive and expensive primary contests, the changes drove eight veterans of the House into retirement [which is fine with me--California had the largest gerrymandered state system with the lowest competitive elections by district several years ago according to work by www.fair-vote.org] and rattled what had been one of the most stable rosters of lawmakers sent to Washington by any state. ['Stable' in some cases meant that California districts were so completely gerrymandered that no other party candidate sometimes even bothered to run against the incumbent in the election, effectively making the competitive review of the officeholder--typically the point of an election--entirely missing and unablel to be done. The incumbent was then simply reinstalled if no one ran against them.]

Many Democrats and watchdog groups view the Wisconsin recall contest as a preview of [the heightened international/national warping of state-based democratic] spending to come in November thanks to loosened restrictions. [This big money feudalism combined with more representative districts equals hypocrisy: surely they are merely breaking up domestic networks of gerrymandering for greater external control of California, instead of doing this for greater domestic control. Californians can look forward to people taking over California from the outside with big money like Wisconsin has seen in the past few years.]

Despite the tumult, both parties see an upside.

Democrats think this could make Rep. Nancy Pelosi speaker of the House again. They contend that they could pick up five seats in California on their way to the 25 they need to retake the majority next year.

...

In California, Republicans say the changes, over the long term, have the potential to transform to GOP into a more competitive party, because the new map and the new voting system may force it to nominate centrist candidates [or to the contrary, with vote fraud in place, will make it easier for parties that no one supports to be installed; and with mere pluralities destined to get nominated anyway after the first round, there is zero incentive to be integrative in the present manner]....

The battle for supremacy will be fought with money [external to the state now more legal to subvert the democratic process more than ever], and both [Democratic and Republican similar parties] expect California to see a flood of dollars from the national parties in Washington [to make sure that nothing actually domestically representative in the district ever has a chance of winning. This is the undemocratic aspect of the current changes of California, taken as a whole.

“It is going to be so expensive,” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D), who is not on the ballot this year, said Tuesday.

One GOP strategist predicted that, going into the general-election campaign, about $30 million will flow into the state from the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and partisan-aligned super PACs for the contests for the 12 seats that are potentially competitive. [In other words, only 12 out of 53 federal districts are actually competitive--still quite gerrymandered despite the hype.]

That estimate did not include the state’s most expensive race, a battle that has begun to achieve epic dimensions and has acquired the shorthand designation “Berman-Sherman.”

That contest pits 15-term Rep. Howard L. Berman against a colleague, Rep. Brad Sherman, who has served eight terms. The two Democrats were thrown into the same district by an independent redistricting commission that was tasked with redrawing the state’s lines without regard to partisan edge or seniority.

The district stretches from Hollywood to the San Fernando Valley, and by mid-May the two incumbents, with deep ties to wealthy California fundraising bases, had spent a combined $5.7 million on the race. That figure does not include $550,000 spent on Berman’s behalf by a super PAC.

Despite those millions, nothing is settled. The two Washington veterans — Berman is the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Sherman is a senior member of the Financial Services Committee — are set to face each other again in November under new election rules that have eliminated party-specific primaries.

In this [novel] system, every candidate for a particular seat runs in the same primary, and the two highest vote-getters advance to the November election, no matter which party they hail from. [The open single primary, combined with much state-external cash, are the two gatekeeping factors assuring that any attempt at being non-partisan and representative to the citizens of California will be subverted. 100% of the voters fail to determine the election at all either--since by the time the election actually starts only two candidates are allowed to be running, and if they are similar in party dynamics, there is little incentive for others to vote for them. Remove the primary and just vote for the seat under PRMA arrangements instead.] This means that in a district as liberal as the new 30th Congressional District — with just 25 percent of its voters favoring Republicans — the two incumbents were almost certain to advance to the fall ballot.

When Tuesday’s votes were counted, Sherman led his more senior colleague 39 percent to Berman’s 34 percent, and the remaining GOP challengers divided the rest of the vote. [

Many Democrats and watchdog groups view the Wisconsin recall contest as a preview of spending to come in November thanks to loosened restrictions.

Similar scenarios are possible in several other races, including a contest pitting Democratic Reps. Janice Hahn and Laura Richardson against each other. On Tuesday, Hahn took more than 60 percent of the vote, making her the favorite in the November rematch against Richardson.

This electoral system, already used in Washington state and approved in the final gubernatorial years of Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) [installed after the removal of Governor Gray Davis (D), who had the state of California sue Enron for financial fraud and manipulation of its electrical grid pricing--so Davis was replaced to stop that happening and Schwarzenegger let the lawsuit drop], is meant to force candidates from each party toward the middle because independents can vote in the open primaries [though may have the opposite effect: since it allows big money to swamp the district's attempt at representativeness from the outside, plus any party can still cooperate to be virtually similar to each other's policy and still may lack any differentiation from the other; plus the arrangement still allows parties to win the whole representative power even if it lacks full support in its election and wins only by a plurality--virtually assured since the laws now ban other parties from even appearing on the ballot after the 'open primary? How is that 'democratic'? Therefore, this particular version may be more destabilizing than integrative. I suggest only watershed districting with PRMA arrangements solve all the issues of democratic representation. What use it is to be able to vote in open primaries if the state has banned any other competitive parties from actually taking place in the real election afterward?] The former governor thought that in GOP primaries, a small conservative electorate turned out and nominated candidates who had little appeal beyond the 30 percent of the state’s voters who register as Republicans.

“It’s going to push our [partisan] candidates to be able to broaden their support [by breaking up the wider support for the Democratic Party in California],” said Rob Stutzman, a GOP consultant and former senior adviser to Schwarzenegger.

In this year’s primaries, independents are still learning the new rules and are not expected to vote in any greater proportion. [Rigged vote machines will make sure this comes true.] The most immediate change instituted by Schwarzenegger will be the independently drawn map.

A decade ago, despite controlling all levers of power in Sacramento, California Democrats opted to shore up their own seats in redrawing district lines. The map became the most incumbent-friendly in the nation, virtually impervious to any influence outside the state’s borders. [Um? That good, why is it mentioned as if it was bad? Despite being rigged to one party, which is bad, for districts or politics in a state to be 'impervious to any influence outside' is very good. Therefore, I think that that Bilderberger-style Rothschild meeting Schwarzenegger was a sign that international groups want to make California more controllable from the outside--with more money spending than before and to get Californians used to 'election wins' with much lower voter support pluralities for singular candidates, under electronic vote fraud. When we combined all these corruptions, California is obviously going to be less representative because of the lower plurality wins for their singular seats, which is bad.] In the ensuing five elections, just one district flipped control (a formerly Republican seat in the Central Valley).

With a 33-to-20 tilt for the Democrats 10 years ago, the state’s current House delegation favors Democrats by 34 to 19.

The new map left a collection of veterans without a political haven, robbing the state of seniority and influence in Washington. [Someone wanted to push out the 'big dogs' for more trainable pups.] Among other retirees, 17-term Rep. Jerry Lewis (R), who steered billions of dollars in military contracts to Southern California, and 16-term Rep. David Dreier (R), chairman of the Rules Committee and a confidant of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), chose to end their careers rather than run long-shot battles against Democrats or fellow Republicans.

But the map has left Democrats optimistic, because several other longtime Republican lawmakers — including seven-term Rep. Gary G. Miller — have been thrown into Democratic-leaning districts.

“It just looks like Democrats are going to pick up a number of seats,” Boxer said.

Several Democrats are also facing their toughest reelection battles in years, how­ever, including seven-term Rep. Lois Capps. Her Santa Barbara-based district reelected her by wide margins the past decade, with a 58 percent tally in 2010 her worst showing.

Capps is already running an aggressive campaign against her likely November challenger, former lieutenant governor Abel Maldonado, a moderate Republican and former state legislator. Maldonado wrote the legislation creating the new election rules.

[Who is Abel Maldonado: someone that some group perhaps is desperate to get into power despite losing almost all his elections his whole life? Sounds a lot like the history of G. H. W. Bush. From Wikipedia:

Abel Maldonado (born August 21, 1967) is an American politician who was the 48th Lieutenant Governor of California. On November 23, 2009, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Maldonado as his nominee for Lieutenant Governor to fill the vacancy created by John Garamendi's election to the United States House of Representatives. A State Senator from 2004 until his appointment as Lieutenant Governor, Maldonado ran unsuccessfully for California State Controller in 2006. Maldonado was the first Republican in the State Senate to vote for the budget during the budget deadlock in 2007. He represented a swing district in the Senate and is considered a moderate.[1] Prior to serving in the State Senate, Maldonado was a member of the California State Assembly and Mayor and City Councilmember of Santa Maria. Maldonaldo was defeated in the 2010 lieutenant governor election by Democrat Gavin Newsom of San Francisco.

...

In March 2005, a San Luis Obispo weekly newspaper revealed that Maldonado had received $30,987 in gifts from an organization representing California's power industry.[5] Those gifts included multiple trips to Australia, Africa and Europe. The story suggested that the gifts might have motivated Maldonado to object to a seismic safety bill that could potentially have threatened Diablo Canyon Power Plant's license to operate. According to the story, Maldonado snapped at the reporter, "“I have never, ever, ever connected monetary resources with a bill or a special company in my area. For somebody to even suggest that is disappointing."[5]

Maldonado signed a "No New Taxes" pledge before his election which he later claimed to regret as he cast a vote for higher taxes.[6]

In February 2009, Maldonado was initially among the Republican senators rejecting a series of bills designed to close the $41 billion state budget deficit, but he later joined the Democrats in supporting the measures.[7]

A committee indicated that it might pursue a recall campaign against Maldonado because of his vote on the budget. The same threat was made against other Republicans in the "Sacramento Six", but none of the recall campaigns came to anything. (Most of the recall energy was directed against Anthony Adams.)[8]

 ...

In 2005, Maldonado declared his candidacy for the office of California State Controller after Controller Steve Westly decided to run for Governor. Maldonado was defeated in the June 6, 2006 Republican primary by Tony Strickland.[11]

Following his loss, Maldonado publicly criticized Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for not supporting his campaign more forcefully, suggesting that Schwarzenegger doesn't care about Hispanics, when he told the Los Angeles Times that "[w]hen [Schwarzenegger] needs Latinos, Latinos are always there for him. When Latinos need him, the answer's been no."[12] Maldonado issued a public apology for the comment. Maldonado also maintains that he is no longer running for any further political offices [though broke that promise as well, see below.]

...

On the November 23, 2009, episode of The Jay Leno Show, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he was nominating Maldonado as Lieutenant Governor. Schwarzenegger cited Maldonado's "bipartisanship and postpartisanship...He makes decisions based on what's best for the people rather than what's best for the party. He has helped us, many times, pass a budget, which was very important. And he comes from an immigrant family..."

Maldonado needed to be confirmed by a majority vote of the State Senate and a majority vote of the State Assembly within 90 days of the nomination in order to take office as Lieutenant Governor. In a statement released by the Governor's office, Schwarzenegger called Maldonado a "true partner" and cited his willingness "to reach across the partisan divide" and "commitment to creating a transparent, accountable government" in California.[13]
On February 11, 2010, Maldonado was confirmed as Lieutenant Governor by the state senate. However, his nomination was not approved by the State Assembly. Needing 41 votes (in the 80 seat assembly) for confirmation in the lower chamber, he received 37 votes in favor, with 35 votes against.[14]
Based upon the vote in the Legislature, Governor Schwarzenegger considered having Maldonado sworn into office, which may have set up a legal battle with Democrats. Instead, Schwarzenegger resubmitted the nomination of Maldonado on February 17. Maldonado received confirmation from the Assembly on April 22, 2010 by a 53-21 vote and from the Senate on April 26, 2010 by a 25-7 vote. He was sworn into office as the Lieutenant Governor on April 27, 2010.

[In other words, they voted twice to get him in? Certainly illegal?]

He ran for the Republican nomination for the [same] office in June and won it with 43.4% of the vote. Maldonado [however] was defeated on November 2, 2010 by Democratic San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.[15]
 
[Despite saying he was finished with electoral politics earlier, he lied there as well:] [i]n 2011, Maldonado announced his intention to challenge [7-term] U.S. Congresswoman Lois Capps, a Democrat, for her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2012 elections.[However, he lost that as well:]
 
First, however, [Capps] fought off a conservative challenge. In the primary vote, Capps finished with 48 percent to Maldonado’s 33 percent. Actor Chris Mitchum, son of the late actor Robert Mitchum, running with tea party support, had 18 percent.


“This is a whole new game,” Stutzman said.

[It is a hardly novel game if electronic vote fraud and outside money still decides the winners. It is just a novel script on a wider national and international level, of the previous corrupt state-based version.]



3.


New California map leaves GOP on defense, if slightly less so [though the open primaries are its main offensive to win with even lower pluralities--all it can muster--and all it requires with vote fraud machines backing it.]
Posted by Aaron Blake at 04:47 PM ET, 07/29/2011


California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission on Friday voted to approve its final draft, releasing what could be close to the final product of the state’s new congressional map.

The new map, which shakes up the state’s delegation in a major way, looks a lot like the commission’s first draft (that analysis here), with some minor changes along the way.

First, the highlights of the map:

According to a Fix review of data provided by Paul Mitchell of Democratic-leaning Redistricting Partners and Matt Rexroad of GOP-leaning Meridian Pacific, Inc., the new map includes 32 Democratic districts, two districts that lean Democratic, three swing districts, five districts that lean Republican and 11 Republican districts. [So it's just gerrymandered like before.]

Currently, the state’s delegation includes 34 Democrats and 19 Republicans, meaning the GOP would likely be playing more defense than the Democrats under the new map.

That may be why two of the commission’s Republican members wound up voting against the draft map.

On the GOP side, Reps. Elton Gallegly, David Dreier and an Orange County Republican yet-to-be-determined could all have difficulty returning to Congress. And Reps. Brian Bilbray, Jeff Denham and Dan Lungren have tough districts as well.

On the Democratic side, Reps. Lois Capps and Joe Baca are running in much tougher districts that are close to swing seats, and Rep. Jim Costa could face a tough race as well.

Now, a little more detail:

* The new map draws 29 members – more than half of the state’s 53 incumbents – into districts with other members, which is actually more than in the last plan. For many members, this just means running in a nearby district. As for now, though, the most likely incumbent-versus incumbent matchups appear to be: Reps. Ed Royce (R) and Gary Miller (R); Dreier against Rep. Joe Baca (D); and Rep. Brad Sherman (D) versus Rep. Howard Berman (D).

* The biggest change on the new map has to do with Dreier and Baca. In the first draft, Dreier was left for dead. In the second draft, Baca’s 31st district is close to a swing district where Dreier could conceivably run and survive, while Rep. Jerry Lewis (R), who technically resides in Baca’s district, runs in the very winnable 8th district along the Nevada and Arizona border.

* Rather than matching up GOP Reps. John Campbell and Dana Rohrabacher like in the first draft, the new map pairs Royce and Miller. Provided all four seek reelection in those three districts, a primary matchup will still happen. Unlike in the first draft, however, it looks like it won’t necessarily involve Campbell. If it’s Miller vs. Royce, both have represented significant parts of the district, but the early edge goes to Royce.

* Denham, Costa and Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D) are all drawn into the Merced-based 16th district, but Denham is expected to run in the GOP-leaning 10th district, while Costa could run in the swing 21st district. If for some reason Costa doesn’t run in the 21st (if, say, Cardoza retires), then Denham may go for the 21st and give Republicans a chance to pick up a seat.

* Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D) gets a more heavily Latino and a safer district, perhaps dashing the GOP’s hopes of ousting her.

---
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/new-california-map-leaves-gop-on-defense-if-slightly-less-so/2011/07/29/gIQAPKznhI_blog.html


4.


Redistricting scorecard: With parties neck-and-neck, Florida could be the key
Posted by Aaron Blake at 01:03 PM ET, 08/24/2011


Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) is one of the GOP’s top targets in redistricting, and a new proposed map in Georgia makes his district significantly more Republican.

Nearly half the the states required to draw new congressional maps before the 2012 election have done so, and Republicans and Democrats are neck-and-neck in the battle to create new districts for their side to win.

According to the Washington Post’s Redistricting Scorecard, a new proposed GOP map in Georgia that creates two winnable seats pulls Republicans about even with Democrats in the quest to create favorable new seats. In the states where we know how the maps are likely to turn out, the Post’s projections now have Republicans gaining one seat, while Democrats would keep their current number of seats.

It should be noted, of course, that much has yet to play out, including some crucial maps in Florida and New York. Florida, in particular, could determine which party wins the battle to create new seats.

Thus far, the GOP hasn’t been able to turn its control over the redistricting process across the country into lots of newly winnable districts — in large part because most of the competitive districts in those states are already held by Republicans. Instead, the GOP — which controls the drawing of four times as many districts as Democrats has used that advantage for the most part to shore up the ones that it currently controls (which is a big advantage in itself).

Democrats initially got a big leg up on creating new winnable districts with an aggressive map that was signed into law in Illinois and the map the California Citizens Redistricting Commission approved. Those two states could move as many as six or eight Republicans seats into the Democrats’ column.

But recent GOP-drawn maps in South Carolina, North Carolina and now Georgia — combined with a Republican map in Texas — have all helped the GOP even the score.

It’s looking more and more as if the map [instead of the voters] in Florida will determine who gains more seats this redistricting cycle. Republicans think they can draw the two new seats in Florida in their favor, even though they already control 19 of the state’s current 25 districts. But Democrats have suggested that new constitutional amendments passed by [Florida] voters in 2010 could restrict the GOP’s ability to draw convoluted districts that favor their party and could actually lead to Democrats picking up several seats.

Whatever the maps look like, though, elections still matter. [Because that's where the electronic vote fraud comes in--already rigging the whole state of Florida for many years this way, from the information in the 1970s onward from the Collier brothers in their book VoteScam (1992). Both  authors ended up dead in suspicious circumstances before the 2000 election. Another tidbit about systemic statewide vote fraud corruption in Florida comes from the information revealed by Florida computer programmer Clinton Eugene Curtis, who said he wrote a vote fraud program for Republican House Speaker Tom Feeney. He's on oath saying this:


Rigged USA Elections Exposed
11: 59 min


Computer Programmer Clint Curtis testifies under oath that Tom Feeney (Speaker of the House of Florida at the time, currently US Representative of Florida) tried to pay him to rig election vote counts, as he said quote, "to control the vote in South Florida."
[Meanwhile] [t]he GOP’s target in Georgia, Rep. John Barrow (D), for instance has for years stymied Republican attempts to take his rural eastern Georgia 12th district. [Vote fraud brought in the previous Republican Governor of Georgia a few years ago as well, Governor Sonny Perdue.]

According to preliminary estimates, the new plan makes Barrow’s district 8 to 10 percent more Republican. So while it went 50 percent for President Bush in the 2004 election and 55 percent for President Obama in 2008, it would now go close to 60 percent for Bush and in the low 40s for Obama.

The new district draws out the Democratic-leaning area of Savannah — which also happens to be where Barrow is from — and picks up the heavily Republican Augusta area from Rep. Paul Broun’s (R) Athens-based 10th district.

Barrow has signaled he will still run in the district, but Republicans may be favored to unseat him.

The Georgia GOP’s redistricting plan would also make the state’s new 14th district a safe Republican one in the northwest corner of the state.

The cumulative effect, if Republicans can beat Barrow, would move the GOP from eight seats in the state’s congressional delegation to 10 — making it one of relatively few good opportunities for Republicans to add multiple seats in one state through redistricting.

Republicans also created three winnable districts in Texas, three or four winnable districts in North Carolina, and one each in South Carolina and Indiana.

In addition to Illinois and California, Democrats should be able to add one seat in Texas.

---
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/redistricting-scorecard-with-parties-neck-and-neck-florida-could-be-the-key/2011/08/23/gIQACj4YbJ_blog.html#pagebreak

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