Iowa Republicans, listen up, and check out Kansas

Recently a story came out of Kansas, again, concerning Gov. Sam Brownback, but this time concerning his re-election. His Democratic opponent, Paul Davis, received endorsements of 100 or more former and current state Republicans. Gov. Brownback and his state Republican controlled legislature passed some major tax reduction bills for the wealthy, every conservative Republican’s wet dream.

But not everyone was happy about it. “The newly formed Republicans for Kansas Values would like to …. oust Brownback. ‘He said just very recently, he’s going to ‘double down’ on the tax cuts. He brings in an extremist like Rick Santorum to Kansas, who is as far right as you can get. And Kansas has not had that kind of tradition. We value higher education. We value K-12. And we’re abandoning that in the name of some kind of extreme policy.’ ”

So maybe the moderate Iowa Republicans in the Congressional 4th District should listen up, and check out Kansas. Maybe they should become vocal and put their support behind Jim Mower, a Democrat, but a moderate. A person who will work with everyone to get things done. Who has been in challenging places and doesn’t throw out the verbiage that Bagdhad is safer than Washington, D.C.

These Republicans should realize that now is the time to remove Congressman King and put someone into office that wants to help the people of Iowa, rather than offend people. And not create a great fanfare, but then never follow through. Mr. King could move forward with his life, go to work for a think tank organization and create bombastic content to his heart’s content and carry whatever banner he thinks appropriate. Meanwhile Jim Mower could quietly go about helping all Iowans pursue their dreams and actually work through some tough issues trying to fine real solutions.

Cutting taxes to prosperity, not in Kansas

The New York Times today published an editorial concerning the state of Kansas and its current fiscal situation. Current Gov. Sam Brownback and the Republican legislature pursued the Republican dream in their state and slashed taxes for the wealthy. As always, stating that doing so would grow the state’s prosperity. Some salient observations from the editorial: “Moody’s cut the state’s debt rating in April for the first time in at least 13 years, citing the cuts and a lack of confidence in the state’s fiscal management.”

Also: “Our new pro-growth tax policy will be like a shot of adrenaline into the heart of the Kansas economy,” he wrote in 2012. “It will pave the way to the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs, bring tens of thousands of people to Kansas, and help make our state the best place in America to start and grow a small business. But the growth didn’t show up. Kansas, in fact, was one of only five states to lose employment over the last six months, while the rest of the country was improving.”

The Republican dream of making growth through taxcuts for the wealthy may be a hard lesson learned by the state of Kansas.

Understanding some of what probably led to this moment is a book by journalist and author Thomas Frank, “What’s the Matter with Kansas? How conservatives won the heart of America”, published in 1995.

Florida judge voids state congressional districts

Iowans, although divided by political parties and ideologies have not given in to the political hacks who would gerrymander congressional districts to favor one party or the other. It’s probably safe to assume though some on either side of the aisle would enjoy that very much.  Recently published column in the Washington Post and a story in the New Your Times talks about Florida and tells about a story in which a greedy party and a greedy individual seemed to mutually benefit from from a weirdly drawn congressional map. So a Florida judge struck two congressional districts and so the process begins again.

Here in Iowa there is a particular process in place to achieve fairness and to benefit the voters, not the political parties or particular individuals. Midwest fairness maybe, and hopefully that will continue.

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/Central/Guides/redist.pdf.

It states:

“Redistricting, the redrawing of congressional and legislative district boundaries, has always been a political process which has generally been fought at the state level.1 For both congressional and legislative districts, constitutional and statutory provisions generally required the drawing of district boundaries based in part upon population.2 However, until 1962 most states generally ignored any requirement to redistrict congressional and legislative districts based upon changes in the state’s population.

In 1962, however, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a person could challenge, and seek judicial redress for, an allegedly improper redistricting plan.3 As a result, state legislatures were forced to draw redistricting plans consistent with constitutional and statutory requirements or else be subject to having their congressional and legislative districts drawn by the courts.

This Legislative Guide is intended to provide some basic information concerning the process of redistricting in Iowa. Specifically, this Guide will discuss the relevant constitutional, statutory, and case law requirements that apply when establishing congressional and legislative district boundaries in Iowa. Code citations, unless otherwise noted, are to the 2007 Iowa Code and Iowa Code Supplement.”

It is also stated:

 

Iowa Standards.

“Code section 42.4(1) requires that a congressional redistricting plan contain districts which have a population as nearly equal as practicable to the ideal population for a congressional district in the plan. Specifically, the Code provides that the deviation percentage variance for any congressional district in a redistricting plan shall not exceed 1 percent unless necessary to comply with constitutional requirements as provided in Article III, section 37, of the Iowa Constitution.36 Article III, section 37, of the Iowa Constitution provides that counties shall not be split between more than one congressional district and that a congressional district containing more than one county shall not be entirely separated by a county belonging to a different congressional district. Important to note, however, is that the Code provides that if a redistricting plan is challenged in court based upon an excessive population variance among districts, the General Assembly has the burden of justifying any deviation percentage variance in excess of 1 percent for any district in the plan.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court has specifically rejected authorizing a particular percentage variance, however calculated, as constitutionally permissible, strict reliance on the 1 percent deviation percentage variance threshold provided by the Code does not guarantee that a particular Iowa congressional redistricting plan would withstand a court challenge. To ensure that a congressional redistricting plan in Iowa meets constitutional requirements, a proposed congressional plan should attempt to meet the strict equality requirements established by the U.S. Supreme Court with deviations from that requirement specifically tied to identified state objectives as provided in the Iowa Constitution and the Code.”

Federal Constitutional Requirements.

The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution has been interpreted to establish the basic requirement that state legislative districts be apportioned to achieve substantial equality of population among the various districts.

Iowa Standards.

Article III, section 34, of the Iowa Constitution provides that state senatorial and representative districts be apportioned on the basis of population. This constitutional provision further provides that Iowa law may, consistent with the United States Constitution, establish other factors for apportioning senatorial districts, but only if the law does not result in a senatorial redistricting plan whereby a majority of senators could represent less than 40 percent of the state’s population.

After the 1970 census, controversy arose as to whether the Iowa General Assembly properly created a legislative redistricting plan in compliance with United States and Iowa constitutional requirements. The Iowa Supreme Court rejected the legislatively drawn redistricting plan45 and subsequently adopted its own redistricting plan for Senate and House districts following the 1970 census. The legislatively drawn plans rejected by the Iowa Supreme Court had an overall range percentage variance for the Senate of 3.2 percent and for the House of 3.8 percent. In finding these percentage variances excessive, the Iowa Supreme Court rejected establishing a certain de minimis standard regarding percentage variances which, if met, would justify any basis for how the individual districts were drawn. Instead, the court found that the percentage variances were excessive and avoidable, and were created for the unjustifiable purposes of protecting incumbents, preserving present districts, avoiding joining part of a rural county with an urban county, and ensuring the passage of the redistricting plan. Furthermore, the court found that the proposed legislative redistricting plan failed to meet the Iowa constitutional requirement of establishing districts of compact territory. After rejecting the legislative redistricting plan, the Iowa Supreme Court adopted its own plan based primarily on providing substantial voting equality of population in each district while endeavoring to create compact districts of contiguous territory. The plan provided for overall range percentage variances of approximately .05 percent for the Senate and .09 percent for the House.

In 1980, Code chapter 42, which includes provisions establishing standards for governing population equality, was enacted. Code section 42.4(1) provides that each Senate and House district in a redistricting plan shall have a population as nearly equal as practicable to the ideal population for a Senate or House district in that plan. Specifically, the Code provides that the mean deviation percentage variance for a Senate or House redistricting plan shall not exceed 1 percent and that the overall range percentage variance for a Senate or House plan shall not exceed 5 percent.

In addition, the Code provides that if a redistricting plan is challenged in court based upon an excessive population variance among districts, the General Assembly has the burden of justifying any deviation percentage variance in excess of 1 percent for any district in the plan.

In contrast to congressional redistricting, population equality standards for legislative redistricting as established by Code chapter 42 and as articulated by the Iowa Supreme Court in 197253 are generally stricter than those established by federal case law. As such, Iowa legislative redistricting plans that meet the population equality standards provided in Iowa law should be sufficient to withstand a federal or state court challenge based upon population equality.”

 

 

 

 

 

New conservative descriptors, same old politics

In a column today a Brookings Institution professor became a bit enamored by new word descriptors for conservatives.  He mentions a pundit who titled these conservatives as Liberty Conservatives and Freedom Conservatives then began explaining the difference. But what stood out was that essentially, they are still the same old conservative politics, just haggling over which direction and which criteria to pursue that still would affect middle class and lower enconomic workers adversely.

Trifling over how to label conservatives is well, just that, trifling. And it doesn’t get the business of politics any closer to solving real world, real problems for those individuals caught in this idealogue war.

The Tea Party still pursuing scorched earth politics

From a Democrat’s point of view, watching Republicans eat their own  can give one a sense of glee. Watching the Tea Party adherents attacking those conservative Republicans they consider too “liberal” in their viewpoints. Basically believing that standing on principles is the end all of everything. Never worried about the collateral damage inflicted by their scorched earth stance. But Democrats should also realize that our moment of glee doesn’t create any new partisanship dow the road or future possibility than the “other siblings” will come to their senses and work to actually resolve problems.

Opinion write Dana Milbank touches on the this writing about Mississipian Chris McDaniel’s pursuit of the Senate seat that sitting Senator Thad Cochran recently won in the Republican primary. Believing the election was a fraud and the fact that more people turned out to vote for Cochran than for him was simply not true.  And so he continues to persist in his attempt to wrest away what he sees as rightfully his.

Columnist supports Democrats views

Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne wrote a recent piece about being a “constitutional conservative”,  that should give Democrats reasoned hope that their views may not be in the minority but that they are not speaking up enough.

Dionne also recently challenged former vice president Dick Cheney with his less than inspiring comments about President Obama and his presidency. Trying to absurdly state that somehow his own administration’s world views and actions were better.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Hatch expresses his views on Iowa Press on IPTV

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Hatch,  Senate district 17,  recently appears on the Iowa Press show on Iowa Public Television (IPTV) where he expresses his views and reasons for running  for Iowa’s governor office.

Sen. Hatch was elected in 2010 to his third term in the Iowa Senate. He represents central and south Des Moines, which includes some of the highest and lowest income families in the state. He served in the Iowa House of Representatives from 1985 to 1993, when he accepted the position of State Director with U.S. Senator Tom Harkin. He returned to the Iowa House after winning election in November of 2000.

Sen. Hatch is chair of the Human Services Budget Subcommittee. He also serves on the Appropriations, Commerce, Economic Growth, Human Resources and Labor & Business Relations committees.

 

Woodbury County Democrats, promoting democratic ideals and greater participation.