Letter to the Editor: Gerrymandering is Bipartisan Issue

In times of deep division, it is important to look for common ground. Fortunately, there is one thing that all true American patriots can come together on. We all want a political system where our vote has the same weight as the next person’s. Unfortunately, three things stand in the way of achieving this: gerrymandering, lack of term limits, and Citizens United.

Gerrymandering is a totally bi/non-partisan issue – Democrats and Republicans use this tactic in equal measure. Gerrymandering skews voting district boundaries so that not everyone’s vote has the same weight and insures that certain elected officials can remain in their position virtually for life. But this tactic is easily prevented using modern technology to draw completely nonbiased district boundaries using census data and computer-based mapping systems.

Entrenchment of elected officials as a result of the lack of term limits for many offices is also totally bi/non-partisan. Lack of term limits creates an environment where the political machinery of either party that manages to get its candidate elected gets stronger and stronger with each re-election, ultimately becoming virtually undefeatable. The ultimate result is sham elections like the ones orchestrated by Vladimir Putin where in reality nobody’s vote counts for anything since the party determines who is going to be elected.

The problem with Citizens United is this:  If the Koch brothers decide to contribute a hundred million dollars of Koch Industry profits to a candidate, it’s not like they take a poll of all of their employees to find out how to distribute the contribution. Instead, the hundred million dollars represents the voices of just two people vs. the voices of the thousands of people that worked to generate the Koch brothers fortune.  Given the reliance of campaigns on donations, the voices of just these two people have an inordinate influence on election results. But again, this is a totally bi/non-partisan issue.

As Governor Scott Walker said after being elected to his first term in office, elections have consequences. If a candidate wins an election fair-and-square, then it is the duty of every patriotic American, Democrat or Republican, to abide by the actions taken by that person.  If they disagree then they need to let their voice be heard at the next election. The problem is that gerrymandering, lack of term limits, and Citizens United virtually insure that elections in America are no longer fair-and-square, thereby driving an irreconcilable wedge between parties and people. Government at all levels will become more divisive and ultimately dysfunctional unless these crimes against the fundamental democratic principle of one-citizen-one-vote are eliminated.


Mark Polczynski

Baileys Harbor, Wis.

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