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This book infuriated me but also lowered the decibel level of my political retorts I can clearly see now the utter cynicism with which Republican strategists set about grabbing as many seats as they could with the intent to hold onto them for a decade orby controlling the redistricting process When you have power you exercise it The gerrymander is the reason Blue states can appear to vote Red What is so pitiful is that we can still hear voters talking about what they believe like it This book infuriated me but also lowered the decibel level of my political retorts I can clearly see now the utter cynicism with which Republican strategists set about grabbing as many seats as they could with the intent to hold onto them for a decade orby controlling the redistricting process When you have power you exercise it The gerrymander is the reason Blue states can appear to vote Red What is so pitiful is that we can still hear voters talking about what they believe like it actually makes any difference to the operatives in Congress It is difficult to keep the partisanship out of discussions of politics, but I am going to try because the issue discussed in this book, gerrymandering, was is really practiced by Democrats as well as Republicans The Republicans, under the leadership of a legendary Republican campaign strategist called Lee Atwater, recognized in the 1980s that controlling the right to draw the lines of voting districts could mean greater Republican representation in local, state, and national races.They began a strategy which would not see results for thirty years This decade it has come to fruition Several states are laboring under gerrymanders so severely skewed to the Republicans that although Democrats win a majority of the votes, their representation actually falls This book gives some of the background, especially for those states we watch closely in the national elections Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania An international non profit which specializes in vote monitoring around the world turned its analytic eye on the United States, the greatest democracy in the world according to some, and discovered that North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania had electoral representationskewed to favor one party than many third world countries.Wisconsin, the state that brings you Speaker Ryan, has greater than 50% Democratic votes but has 60 % Republican seats Wisconsin s redistricting is currently handled by their Republican legislature, which allowed the national Republican party, with funds provided by Koch Brothers, to draw their redistricting maps In closed sessions, deep secrecy, late night and storm days they would gather to prevent transparency of their process and to ensure Republican voters were the largest voting block in most districts Even in a largely Democratic state, they managed to break, stack, crack, pack the districts with enough Republican voters to grab Congressional and state seats, and the governorship Wisconsin used to be a Deep Blue state In November 2016 a federal court ordered that the voting districts in Wisconsin be redrawn by November 2017 Wisconsin Republicans including Paul Ryan refused, and appealed the decision to the Supreme Court SCOTUS Meanwhile, voters in Wisconsin are seriously disenfranchised This is happening now, folks, and can be watched as it progresses through the courts Pennsylvania is the third most voter obstructed state Last year a youth pastor, Carol Kuniholm, noticed extraordinary discrepancies between the schools in some city districts and suburban schools and discovered one of the main reasons was underrepresentation due to gerrymandering Kuniholm began a movement in PA which has taken on enormous momentum within the state and is garnering national recognition You can watch progress of her attempt to introduce a bill to require an independent nonpartisan committee to decide contiguous, compact districts that do not break communities, cities, or racial blocks at fairdistrictspa.com She wants nothing less than the democratic process to work as intended.Daley shows that state legislature managed redistricting can be severely partisan Citizens in some states have managed to pass referendums requiring nonpartisan independent committees to manage redistricting The independent committee works well in Iowa but is still subject to vicious partisan wrangling in Arizona Some academics have taken on the challenge of trying to envision a better,democratic process and Daley discusses these at the end of his book And this is the part of the book that I liked best of all At the end Daley points out that gerrymandering has been stealing people s votes for centuries and it may have come up against its logical limits this decade Because of the advances in computer modeling, coupled with voter awareness and rage at the government we have been handed, it may be possible to do something completely different He points out that if Hillary had won the electoral college vote, she would have faced the same intransigence in Congress that stymied Obama Instead, we got Trump Daley quotes a Republican operative, Grover Norquist, talking with utter cynicism to a Conservative Political Action conference in 2012 We are not auditioning for a fearless leader We don t need a president to tell us what direction to go We know what direction to go We just need a president to sign this stuff Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States The GOP will keep Trump around as long as he can sign stuff and listens to what they say So, okay This is what we are dealing with It means we need to pay attention, focus our energy, rely on each other, and tell our legislators we want fairness and representation This book is a very easy read because it is so eye opening It gives you the basics, suggests a fix, and points a direction Whatdo we need Story that has been going on since Obama took office Basically Republicans no longer could command a majority and resorted to Gerrymandering districts to stay in power They achieved this by taking statehouses Dems are lazy and don t vote in off year elections anyway They then redrew the election map to protect their power Essentially that is what ratf king is political sabotage of the majority their dirty tricks. Sports analogy I root for the Cubs You know what that s like Rooting for the Cubs taught me that everything is losing, that even winning will just lead topainful losing, that finding a few shoots of light through the clouds just means the rain is delayed That the pain is coming, that it s going to hurtand then less and then double or triple and then scab and then fester This transfers to being a Democrat.I had Slick Willy, sure, but his behavior s in office was so repulsive to m Sports analogy I root for the Cubs You know what that s like Rooting for the Cubs taught me that everything is losing, that even winning will just lead topainful losing, that finding a few shoots of light through the clouds just means the rain is delayed That the pain is coming, that it s going to hurtand then less and then double or triple and then scab and then fester This transfers to being a Democrat.I had Slick Willy, sure, but his behavior s in office was so repulsive to my younger, idealistic self I thought a man should never throw his friends under the bus I had Gore Lieberman, and so voted for Nader I had John Kerry, a war hero turned into an effete tree hugger Then I had Barack Nothing could spoil that I, a Cubs fan, started to wonder My mindset shifted Maybe this President Maybe he can Maybe it will last That feeling, watching him in Grant Park, only a short interstate ride to the North It was like we could hear the crowd from our living room I had two kids then This was it my generation was going to be remembered as the one that changed things.You want to know why we didn t Read Daley s book It s one piece of the ratfucking puzzle It s hard to read, harder to read for me than just about any nonfiction I ve ever read Because it s all real, it s all truth This happened More people vote for Democrats in Pennsylvania and yet Republicans dominate their congressional representation Districts end up looking like cartoon characters and abstract art because they can slice them down to the curb by who votes for whom But you gotta read this book The same way I had to accept that my Cubs are no longer only going to bring me pain The Democrats need their own Theo Epstein Daley will hate this, as a known Theo hater They need someone to teach them how to win these ratfucking battles Full disclosure, Dave and I are friends And by friends I mean I beat him in fantasy baseball and he sends me great links to 1980s indie rock bands This book pissed me off, I mean really aggravated me I actually almost stopped reading during the introduction and first chapter But I decided the issue was too important to not understand it better Understand what happened, how it happened and what can be done about it.Redistricting is not a sexy issue and not an issue with immediate consequences, but it is the absolute bedrock of our political system And it was left unguarded, unguarded by a gentleman s agreement which lasted until one par This book pissed me off, I mean really aggravated me I actually almost stopped reading during the introduction and first chapter But I decided the issue was too important to not understand it better Understand what happened, how it happened and what can be done about it.Redistricting is not a sexy issue and not an issue with immediate consequences, but it is the absolute bedrock of our political system And it was left unguarded, unguarded by a gentleman s agreement which lasted until one party saw oblivion in its path and did what any organism does when faced with that, it fights back, tooth and nail That a group which opposes evolution so clearly proved its validity in its actions provides a wry irony which would be funny if it was not so serious.The game has been rigged by lines drawn to concentrate one set of voters in the smallest number of districts and guarantee the minority a permanent majority Yes, one side was asleep at the switch, but there is something inherently unfair about what was done One group of partisan political operatives played a long game, gained control of the process and then rigged the process to maintain that control in the face of numbers which are not supportive of such control I am sure they congratulate themselves about this, about how they won and rigged the system and claimed the glory These people, mostly white, mostly male, who never swore an oath to the Constitution, who never heard a shot fired in anger, who never performed a true selfless public service took away our voices.This should make you angry It makes me angry Not which side is in control, that is tangential to the greater wrong, the theft of our voice and our power as people Read this book, get angry and decide to do something about it I know I have Scary and disheartening Should be required reading for all Democratic lawmakers whose feckless and smug complacency contributed mightily to this sorry state of affairs It can t happen here It already has Thank you, the five justices who gave us Citizens United I ll haveto say in a revised review, but right now I need to go shine my jackboots. The graphics on the inside covers of RAT F KED are not Rorschach drawings They are the actual congressional or legislative districts in several US states as determined by their GOP controlled state legislatures They help explain why Congress and many statehouses have GOP majorities even though the numbers of Democrats in those states are higher than or almost equal to the number of Republicans As the book says at the end, The House of Representatives was designed to be the chamber most res The graphics on the inside covers of RAT F KED are not Rorschach drawings They are the actual congressional or legislative districts in several US states as determined by their GOP controlled state legislatures They help explain why Congress and many statehouses have GOP majorities even though the numbers of Democrats in those states are higher than or almost equal to the number of Republicans As the book says at the end, The House of Representatives was designed to be the chamber most responsive to the will of the people Instead, it has become impervious and insulated from it David Daley drove along the parameters of every district mentioned in the book, examining the differences between what was on each side of the dividing line and how the districts spread over long, irregular areas The term rat f king originated during the 1970s by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they investigated the Watergate breakthrough that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon and the indictment of many of his top level staff members It refers to the dirty tricks played by politicians, in these cases Republicans, in order to win elections While the activities have appeared in many guises, in this book it refers specifically to actions taken by the Republican party to draw Congressional districts in key states in such a manner that their candidates would be sure to win elections for at least a decade We have been sorted into districts where the middle does not matter, where the contest only comes down to the most ideological and rancorous on either side Democratic candidates were packed into smaller areas while other areas would be almost certain to vote for the Republicans The Democrats have done it, e.g., in Chicago in 2010, but most of the activity has been done by the Republicans The term for this is gerrymandering District lines were drawn to protect incumbents Instead of the electorate picking their representatives, the representatives were picking the people There are no electoral consequences for extremism It may even be rewarded in the district GOP thought ahead and stocked courts with GOP judges It didn t happen by chance Computer technology enabled them to work block by block to determine the political affiliation, contributions, income, race, gender, ethnicity, and how many voters actually showed up at the polls They were able to project changes in the demographics for at least the next decade The computer program, called REDMAP cost 30 million Technology is a threat and a promise Easier to do, easier to spot For the GOP, it was a bargain In 2012, Obama received 332 votes in the Electoral College while Romney received 206 Democrats won 23 out of the 33 Senate races Even though 1.4 millionAmericans voted for the Democrat candidate, the GOP won 33House seats than Democrats Eight states are singled out as the worst offenders or biggest winners, depending on your outlook In Pennsylvania in 2008, Democrats had a 12 7 Congressional advantage In 2010, 1.2 millionpeople were registered as Democrats than as Republicans but the GOP majority turned it 21 7 in their favor In 2012, there were a half millionvotes for Democrat House candidates than for Republican candidates and Obama hadthan 300,000votes than Romney, but the Democrats won only 28 percent of the seats The GOP captured 9 of their 13 seats with less than 60% of the votes Three of the five Democrats won bythan 75 percent of the votes Among the maps considered was one called NC Without Odd Minority Districts and NC House Less Convoluted Along with targeting districts into which to pack Democrats, spending large sums of money, massive advertising, much of it misleading or actual lies during the last month of the campaign, all work to discourage Democrats from voting For example, in Pennsylvania, the GOP publicized spending 10 million for the Arlen Spector Library The truth was the 10 million figure was for the capital budget for the entire state The library cost was 600 million In North Carolina s 12th district, from Greensboro to Charlotte, has a 907 mile perimeter As of this writing, courts ruled the redistricting unconstitutional, though the boundaries will not change before the 2016 election In Michigan, Democrats had a 65 42 lead After redistricting, the GOP picked up 20 House seats and Republican majorities in both state houses Obama won by just under 10 points The Democratic Senate candidate won by 20 points But the GOP Congress candidates won 9 5 The map for District 14 was developed to combine the black voters in Detroit and Pontiac while skirting around areas that hadRepublicans and could be divided among several districts One small area, almost completely encircled by District14, was siphoned out to so the wealthy, white Republican residents could guarantee GOP winners In Ohio, of the 16 state legislative districts, 12 of them went to Republicans even though they had won only 51% of the vote Email records exposed the planning that went into determining boundaries for safe districts that could endure for years The maps were not available for the Democrat members of the legislative committee, let alone the public to examine, before they were presented on the floor and passed by the GOP When groups fight to get rid of the gerrymandering, the GOP state government uses taxpayer money to defend them while the Democrats have to find outside funding In Florida, it took four years for the GOP redistricting plan to get to the GOP Supreme Court, which found it unconstitutional The plan came from secret meetings and two separate meetings, one private and one public People who testified were preselected and coached In Wisconsin, the GOP used what they called the efficiency gap That was the difference between the parties wasted votes divided by the total votes cast after voters were either crammed into a district or divided among several districts depending on the result they wanted i.e.,GOP seats When drawing up the redistricting plan, only GOP legislators were permitted to see it and they had to sign a confidentiality agreement first, which they all did They were only shown their own district Iowa tried to make redistricting work by passing very specific requirements for the make up of the redistricting committee One advantage was the population of the state is very homogeneous Secondly, the elected officials wanted it to work without creating problems They wanted districts where each party had a chance of winning the election But REDMAP was used and the GOP came out ahead of their percentage figures would suggest The extremists elected burned out who dropped out Politiciansfind if there scompetition, then they relikely to work with one another In Arizona, the first time they tried using an independent commission after the 2000 census, it got worse because of an ambitious Democrat One of his appointees only interest was in preserving a seat for the incumbent In 2012, Democratic candidates for Congress tookvotes than Republicans For the first time in forty years, they failed to take control of the House The mapmakers make it hard to affect elections More money flows into politics with each cycle Mapmaking technology will only improve Broad support for Obama s issues climate change, immigration, reproductive rights, guns, minimum wage, as well as universal health care are supported by the public They are defeated by the gerrymandered office holders Representatives are pressured to vote certain ways, usuallyto the right, whether they agree with that position or not, to remain in office What can be done to correct this GOP pushing for voter ID laws, complicated registration, reduced polling hours and locations to limit the number of people who will probably vote Democratic, primarily minorities and those with a lower economic status Voter fraud is a smokescreen since it is extremely rare The best way for eligible voters to make a major change is to actually cast a ballot Only 36.6% of the registered voters actually voted in 2014, the lowest turnout since the forties Apathetic Democrats have elected the current members by staying home In 1994, only 38.8% of eligible voters turned out Newt Gingrich called the GOP win a mandate, instituted his Contract for America and caused a government shutdown From 2006 2012, only a quarter of all Americans voted Those that did were whiter, wealthier, and older than the general population In 2010, non voters would have gone Democratic 34% to 31% Presidential year only voters backed Democrats 43% to 37 The ones who turned out regularly 50% to 46% Other methods,complicated and costly, are for citizens to use referendums and initiatives to stand up and say our democratic values matter too deeply The changes must be at all levels of government The President s powers are limited, as we saw what Obama faced with a GOP dominated Congress dedicated to prevent any of his issues But it s the local and state levels that most influence our lives and where future federal leaders earn their credentials Most important in gerrymandering situation, it is at the state level that districts are created Thepeople who actually learnabout the candidates and vote intelligently, the less this problem will be able to continue While the title of the book really turned me off, it has been used to describe dirty political tricks The book itself is well written and researched and every eligible voter, especially those who don t vote for whatever reason, should read it, preferably before the next election .FREE DOWNLOAD ⚕ Ratf**ked: The True Story Behind The Secret Plan To Steal America's Democracy ⚖ With Barack Obama s historic election in , pundits proclaimed the Republicans as dead as the Whigs of yesteryear Yet even as Democrats swooned, a small cadre of Republican operatives, including Karl Rove, Ed Gillespie, and Chris Jankowski began plotting their comeback with a simple yet ingenious plan These men had devised a way to take a tradition of dirty tricks known to political insiders as ratf king to a whole new, unprecedented level Flooding state races with a gold rush of dark money made possible by Citizens United, the Republicans reshaped state legislatures, where the power to redistrict is held Reconstructing this never told before story, David Daley examines the far reaching effects of this so called REDMAP program, which has radically altered America s electoral map and created a firewall in the House, insulating the party and its wealthy donors from popular democracy Ratf ked pulls back the curtain on one of the greatest heists in American political history Even knowing as much as I do about redistricting, I learned so muchThe GOP s Red Map program is a technological and diabolical system of drawing districts to maintain their majorities and keep them for generations When lawmakers pick their voters instead of voters picking their legislators, then our democracy is in great peril The chapter on North Carolina was of particular interest to me because that s where I live and where I am politically involved I was there I watched it happen Even knowing as much as I do about redistricting, I learned so muchThe GOP s Red Map program is a technological and diabolical system of drawing districts to maintain their majorities and keep them for generations When lawmakers pick their voters instead of voters picking their legislators, then our democracy is in great peril The chapter on North Carolina was of particular interest to me because that s where I live and where I am politically involved I was there I watched it happen And yet, I had no idea how systematic and planned it was The stories of other states gerrymandering are equally appalling A Federal Court said the maps drawn by NC Republicans used surgical precision to suppress the Democratic and Minority vote It was so blatant And horrifying So, the GOP draws districts that are ready made for Republicans and impossible for Democrats to win Then they pack all the African American voters into 2 or 3 majority minority districts that allow for a few Black candidates to win Then they pass voter suppression laws that make it harder, if not impossible, for African Americans, senior citizens and students to vote The GOP the party that hates government, but wants to control it They have no intention of governing and lack the necessary skills to do so The point is made over and over that a nonpartisan or citizen redistricting committee will not take the politics out of this process The Republican nominee for President is correct about the system being rigged But it has been rigged by the Republican Party Interesting to read this book post 2016 election, as it was written before that Had I read it in advance of November, I d have found no suspense as the returns rolled in Daley did an excellent job of explaining gerrymandering, giving a bit of history and a sharing lot of foresight into where we likely will be stuck for the next several years The state by state rundown got a little tiresome and redundant about mid way through, but it worked to paint the full picture of the ratf cking in all i Interesting to read this book post 2016 election, as it was written before that Had I read it in advance of November, I d have found no suspense as the returns rolled in Daley did an excellent job of explaining gerrymandering, giving a bit of history and a sharing lot of foresight into where we likely will be stuck for the next several years The state by state rundown got a little tiresome and redundant about mid way through, but it worked to paint the full picture of the ratf cking in all its glory Timely read, too, as evidenced by all of the redistricting stories in the news This is a great read If you read Chapter 7 and aren t ready to fight for redistricting and electoral reform, than you don t want a democracy or a representative republic.