Blue-State Gerrymandering: Good for Libertarians?


In both my Congressional and State Assembly districts, there were exactly two names on the ballot—the incumbent Democrat … and a Libertarian. I'm sure someone's done the math on it, but it strikes me that there's probably a built-in percentage that any number-two candidate can expect on a two-name ballot (10? 15?). Especially considering that there are, you know, some non-Democrats living in Los Angeles. Maybe the eventual knock-on benefit of having absurdly gerrymandered voting districts areas is that third parties will contest what major parties can't be bothered with. And some day, somewhere, some might win.

In my case at least, it made an easy vote already easier: Not only is Congresswoman Diane Watson an unspectacular, overwhelming favorite running against a small-government opponent, but her office has been sending me faxed press releases for nearly four years now and they don't know how to take me off their list. Seriously. I've called them three dozen times, and they're really apologetic, but still my toner cartridge gets hosed every few months from the nonstop statements against the war & photographs with dignitaries. I might run against her myself next time.

NEXT: Lousy Timing

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  1. Matt, it’s potentially going to happen in Florida this election:

    (I don’t think Gonzalez will actually win, but certainly cracking 40% looks like a real possibility.)

  2. The remedy for gerrymandering: Federal law stipulating that all but one congressional district in a state must be part of a rectangle which does not include part of any other district of that state.

    It is geometrically provable that this could divide up a state into equal-population districts, and would make gerrymandering of more than one district nearly impossible.

    Of course, I’m especially concerned about this, living in the 28th NY district, which includes Rochester, Buffalo, and a 1000-foot-wide swath of beach along Lake Ontario which connects them.

  3. Gerrymandering can be fought by the independent commission method of redistricting that Iowa recently adopted. I don’t like the rectangle rule, as not all cities or counties are shaped so regularly, especially in the East. Dividing villages, towns and cities should be avoided, then counties should be kept intact, unless they are so populous that they require fitting into more than one district.

    That our representatives pick their constituents, rather than the other way around, is so true.

    If Matt runs, we should organize Hit & Run Veterans for Truth.


  4. Matt: Ten to fifteen percent sounds about right, for a Libertarian in a two way race against a major party candidate. Back in the late ’80s, I ran for the Arizona state senate against a Democrat, and got 17% to her 83%. My campaign budget was $10 (that’s ten dollars); I think she spent several hundred dollars at least. It was a worthwhile experience, even though I lost, for no other reason than all the election reportage had to report a Libertarian getting significant numbers of votes. And, it was fun.

  5. Matt,
    Have you considered suing her, or perhaps getting a restraining ordered.

  6. Everything you want to know about the Bush family driving records…..

    (Don’t tell anyone, but I voted libertarian against my incumbent Democrat congressman, who voted to keep wasting FBI money on medical marijuana raids.)

  7. I live in the same district, so Weber will get at least two votes.

    Even when there is a Republican candidate here they run someone who is indistinguishable from the Democratic candidate.

  8. I do not seek office, but if drafted, I shall not shirk my solemn duties. Who will be HRVFT’s lead speechwriter? Jason Bourne?

  9. HRVFT!! I spent May at the Marijuana Policy Project making phone calls for the medical marijuana bill you write that it didn’t pass, but it’s great to hear you registered your displeasure by voting for the libertarian!

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