The Media Fails America Again
The mainstream media failed Americans again by not reporting the obvious fact that Republicans and special interests do not want democracy in America.
To explain, on 19 October 2021, US Senate Republicans used the filibuster to block Democrats’ big voting rights bill The For the People Act. Although pundits expected the filibuster, The For the People Act’s defeat is big news because it could enable Republican to win control of of the US House of Representatives against the will of the American people.
To elaborate, The For the People Act, or HR-1, strips state legislatures of the power to draw US Representatives districts. Instead, the act transfers that power to “independent commissions.” Hence, HR-1 bans gerrymandering, the practice of drawing districts, to benefit one political party over another
How Republicans could steal the House
The defeat of HR-1 could enable Republicans to take control of the US House of Representatives even if Democratic House candidates win over 4.7 million more votes than Republican opponents.
To explain, activist and data scientist David Daley believes Republicans can gerrymander control of the House. Daley estimates Democrats won with a narrow House majority in 2020, although their candidates won 4.7 million more votes than Republicans.
Mother Jones claims Republicans could gain six to 13 House seats through gerrymandering in four states. The Democratic data firm TargetSmart estimates Republicans could gain additional seats in Florida, North Carolina, Texas, and Georgia if their gerrymandering plans succeed. That could change control of the house because Democrats have a narrow majority of 220 to 212 in the current U.S. House.
Republican state legislators could redraw 187 House districts, compared to Democrats’ 75-95, Mother Jones claims. In particular, Republicans could give themselves five new congressional districts in Florida. The Grand Old Party (GOP) could gain two to three additional seats in Texas, up to three extra seats in Georgia, and one to two additional seats in North Carolina.
For example, a proposed Congressional district map from Ohio State House Republicans gives the GOP 13 seats and Democrats two seats, The Columbus Dispatch alleges. They proposed the Ohio Map on 2 November 2021 just a few weeks after The For the People Act’s defeat.
Republican gerrymandering is so blatant that Kansas State Senate President Susan Wagle (R) made a campaign pledge to gerrymander the one Democrat in the state’s Congressional delegation out of office, Daley notes.
The Media Ignore the Republican Plot to Steal Congress
Yet, readers and viewers of “news” about The For the People Act saw none of this. Instead, news articles gave readers inside baseball type reporting about the filibuster and Senate procedure while ignoring the big story.
Worse, the media devotes enormous amounts of attention to the squabbling over President Joe Biden’s (D-Delaware) infrastructure proposal. This shoddy reporting includes lots of propaganda demonizing US Senators Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona), as the villains killing Biden’s wonderful plan.
Biden’s Build Back Better proposal will not affect ordinary Americans’ lives for years. Republican voter suppression will anger and frustrate many ordinary Americans, including many probable Democratic voters, next year. I predict there will be anger and perhaps violence in 2022 and 2024, when tens of thousands of Americans realize they cannot vote. Yet the media and Democrats’ priority is infrastructure, not democracy.
Few news outlets report the real stakes or the potential undemocratic outcome. Instead, even progressive outlets concentrate on the process. Instead, the media bores readers with details about Congressional procedure.
In essence, the media buried The For the People Act story fast. Consequently, cynics will say journalists do not care about democracy.
Why is the Media Ignoring Republican Gerrymandering?
So why is the media ignoring Republican gerrymandering? My pet theory is that a gerrymandered Republican Congress benefits large corporations by providing low taxes and weak regulations.
I think eliminating gerrymandering will benefit two groups large corporations, fear. Those groups are left-wing Democrats and social democrats such as US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and US Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington state) and populist Republicans such as US Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri). Two groups that Big Business has little influence over.
In particular, left-wing Democrats want to increase taxes on corporations while populist Republicans oppose free trade and outsourcing. Moreover, many populist Republicans and left-wing Democrats are making noises about regulating Big Tech.
Corporate leaders fear that an ungerrymandered House could elect an anti-corporate majority. So they want gerrymandering.
Hence, Republicans vote for gerrymandering, while Democrats make no serious efforts to overcome the Republican filibuster. For example, I think Democrats could easily bribe US Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) into voting for The For the People Act. They could move the headquarters of the US Interior Department to West Virginia, for instance. Add a provision moving the Interior Department to The For the People Act to West Virginia and Manchin will vote for it.
However, Democrats make no such move. Instead, Democrats would rather lose, and keep corporate cash flowing to them. Moreover, Democratic leaders such as President Joe Biden (D-Delaware), US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California), US Senate Majority Chuck Schumer (D-New York) are silent about The For the People Act’s defeat.
Hence, Democratic leaders will let Republicans steal the House from them and the media covers it up. When our cities burn in 2022 or 2024, we will know who to blame. I fear for the future of our democracy.