It has to do with Republicans' hold on the states and on our voting system.
Even though preliminary estimates suggest that Democrats received somewhat more votes than Republicans in Congressional elections, the G.O.P. retains solid control of the House thanks to extreme gerrymandering by courts and Republican-controlled state governments. ...Paul Krugman,NYT
There it is. We know it -- or at least we've been warned about it. But the terrible truth of it is simple. You can vote all you want. But if the electoral map diverts your vote into an area where it will be cancelled out by a Republican majority, it isn't doing any good.
The next opportunity to redraw political districts? Well, the next time we have some impressive majorities in state legislatures. Oh, and when we have the opportunity to appoint judges that are not darlings of the radical right would help. "While we were sleeping" Republicans filled our courts with surefire obstructionists of justice who knocked out of court any attempt to create fair electoral maps.
Maryland’s 3rd congressional district, the most gerrymandered in the nation, is a Rorschach test in the most literal sense. The Washington Post called it a “crazy quilt.” A local politician compared it to “blood spatter from a crime scene.” A federal judge said it reminded him of a “broken-winged pterodactyl, lying prostrate across the center of the state.” DCist suggested we ditch metaphor altogether and change the word “gerrymander” to “Marymander.”
When will the Democratic party find itself in a healthier position? After 2020. After the next census. If they work as hard at local level as they have at national level to increase their numbers in state legislatures -- right across the map. And as for maps, we need to make sure --before 2020 -- that more Democrats are in positions to draw the new political map.
Democrats -- the winners, after all, at national level -- continue to adopt a somewhat defensive position. But they shouldn't. Republicans are in disarray, are on the run, and are in no position to play leadership games -- not even blowhard Boehner. Paul Krugman issues a call for Democrats -- who, after all, won the election three days ago and won big -- to stand their ground.
That includes President Obama who's facing what the media refer to as the "fiscal cliff."
Republicans are trying, for the third time since he took office, to use economic blackmail to achieve a goal they lack the votes to achieve through the normal legislative process. In particular, they want to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, even though the nation can’t afford to make those tax cuts permanent and the public believes that taxes on the rich should go up — and they’re threatening to block any deal on anything else unless they get their way. So they are, in effect, threatening to tank the economy unless their demands are met.
Mr. Obama essentially surrendered in the face of similar tactics at the end of 2010, extending low taxes on the rich for two more years. He made significant concessions again in 2011, when Republicans threatened to create financial chaos by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. And the current potential crisis is the legacy of those past concessions.
Well, this has to stop — unless we want hostage-taking, the threat of making the nation ungovernable, to become a standard part of our political process.
So what should he do? Just say no, and go over the cliff if necessary.
It’s worth pointing out that the fiscal cliff isn’t really a cliff. It’s not like the debt-ceiling confrontation, where terrible things might well have happened right away if the deadline had been missed. This time, nothing very bad will happen to the economy if agreement isn’t reached until a few weeks or even a few months into 2013. So there’s time to bargain. ...Paul Krugman, NYT