WINNING IS THE ONLY THING

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Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo wrote an important post last week arguing that Voting Rights Defeatism is Toxic. It’s his response to some of the ways people and pundits reacted to John Ossoff’s loss in the Georgia special election. Complaining about voter suppression may provide some emotional balm. But “the simple fact is that Democrats or anyone who believes in voting rights will need to win elections under the current restrictive system to be able to change laws to change that system.

The fact that that is challenging and unfair doesn’t change the reality of it. There’s no getting around this basic fact.” And that’s the bottom line, friends. We are going to have to gird up our loins, sashay into less friendly territories, and figure out some ways to get to 50+1.

To me, that means pulling together rather than squabbling between factions. It means accepting some “impure positions” in our big-tent coalition. It means working with the electoral district and the voters in it starting from where they are and not where we all wish they were.

Because right now, WINNING IS THE ONLY THING that will allow us to make a difference — in Wisconsin, in the country, in the world.

Don’t get me wrong. Republicans have rigged electoral maps all over the US, wherever they had enough power to act alone. The AP has undertaken an analysis of all 435 congressional races and 4700 state legislative races in the 2016 cycle.

Apparently the researchers used the “efficiency gap” tool that was developed for the Fair Elections Project’s Wisconsin challenge (Gill v. Whitford) to be argued before the US Supreme Court in the first week of October

According to the NBCNews account of the AP report, “The analysis found four times as many states with Republican-skewed state House or Assembly districts than Democratic ones. Among the two dozen most populated states that determine the vast majority of Congress, there were nearly three times as many with Republican-tilted U.S. House districts.”

A separate analysis using different statistical methods provides the same conclusion: “A separate statistical analysis conducted for AP by the Princeton University Gerrymandering Project found that the extreme Republican advantages in some states were no fluke. The Republican edge in Michigan’s state House districts had only a 1-in-16,000 probability of occurring by chance; in Wisconsin’s Assembly districts, there was a mere 1-in-60,000 likelihood of it happening randomly, the analysis found.”

Clearly we have our work cut out for us, but we must not tire or weaken. Thus endeth the lesson. With apologies for its length and some personal ranting.