Nullifying the Will of the People

Here is Michael Bargo, Jr. writing at American Thinker:

There are two fundamental facts about governments. One is that they occupy a territory; their power to influence has physical boundaries. From the earliest days of tribal associations geographical space has been used to secure and administer the power of government.

Since the U.S. is a democratic republic, it uses electoral districts to structure representation. These districts, or spaces, are determined by those who control the legislatures in the states. State governments cannot resist the temptation to redraw the boundaries of their districts in order to maximize their Party’s control of state legislatures. Ever since 1812, when the governor of Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry, drew a district in his state in the shape of a salamander, party-favoring district redrawing has been called gerrymandering.

If a political party can successfully redraw districts to secure political power, it can be said that they are using space, the physical boundaries of party-favoring districts, to minimize the power of their opposition party to win elections. For example, the Speaker of the Illinois House, Michael Madigan, has painstakingly gerrymandered Illinois so that his party, the Democrat party, the party of Elbridge Gerry, can keep its supermajorities in the Illinois House and Senate.

So the will of the voters is diminished by the manipulation of space – districts — within states. But there’s another, more subtle, and thereby largely overlooked method that is used to manipulate legislation: the manipulation of the will of the voters over time.

All legislation requires the appropriation of funds. The basic police powers of government such as public safety, health, and education all require budget appropriations. This may seem obvious but it means that a legislative policy that is not budgeted cannot be implemented. Its existence depends upon money being appropriated to make it happen. The less money a legislature has to spend, the fewer policy programs it can budget. It can seek to maximize the productivity of existing appropriations but that is not always done and has limits.

Read more: American Thinker

Image credit: Illinois Policy Institute.