We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
With gerrymandering - especially racial gerrymandering to insure black congressional districts - the Dems become increasing reliant on their safe seats in uban areas, the coasts, and small, isolated Dem islands in the rest of the country.
Thus, except for unusual election years (like this one seems to be), few seats are ever really contested. Congressional seats, like state legislative seats, tend to be sinecures.
The irony is that those "safe seats" and guaranteed black seats that the Dems wanted ended up creating Conservative seats also, by concentrating their voters in specific areas. Dem plantations, as it were - regardless of skin color.
Only in major "wave" elections are very many national seats contested. It's too rare. Every election should be contested or contestable. Safe seats cause us to end up with elderly lunatics like Barney Frank and John Conyers in charge of things - people who wouldn't be voted out even if caught running gay prostitution rings out of their houses.
This is one reason the national Dems become an increasingly Lefty party. It's a shame, because it would be the best for the country for no congressional seat to be taken for granted. I am a believer in the big tent approach for both parties. Debate and disagreement is good for all.
Which is why we need to diminish Gerrymandering as much as possible. When politicians have to answer to both sides in order to get reelected, they will not be able to go off on ideological tangents as easily as before.
Barrister ... I agree with you about John Conyers and Barney Frank, but you failed to mention the worst elderly lunatic of all, Robert Byrd, the former grand kleagle. I have an unforgettable memory of him, fairly recently, being carted into the Senate on a gurney to cast a crucial vote to make up the necessary numbers.
There was an Insty link a year or so ago showing the most ridiculously gerrymandered districts. I recall that 8 of 10 were Democrats. I don't doubt there are states where Republicans have enough control to pull the same stunts, though.
One of the things I have been most pleased about with the Tea Party has been their willingness to challenge Republicans as well as Democrats.
Even if it wasn't anything like a small-government, low tax movement in the Democratic Party, I would be deeply gratified if a grassroots movement to clean out their own house emerged. Hell, I might even give money to it. The nation would benefit greatly from having two relatively uncorrupt parties fighting over issues.
Assistant Village Idiot
Gerrymandering should be outlawed. Their has to be a better way of apportioning congressional districts . . . and it should definitely not be left to the politicians. That's why the Governor elections are so important. The Repubs are salivating that their electoral gains are coming just after completion of the decennial census and they will get to draw the maps in their favor. Gerrymandering is a political scam (on both sides) to keep the incumbents in power. It's a disgrace. If we can't eliminate it, then term limits should be put in place, although I would hate to see a good poll retired because of term limits in the end lifetime sinecures lead to corruption.