The United States Constitution, Article l, section 4, states, “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives shall be prescribed to each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.”
The Fourteenth Amendment can be considered as subsequent authority allowing changes and modifications in decisions made by the the Legislature of each state. But generally, before setting national rules applicable to the entire country, it is the job of local governments and local people to set the local districts electing members of the House of Representatives. Not everything can be uniform.
Can a District be strictly segregated? No.
Overall the American people have seen elected officials of all races ineffective and/or corrupt: Have Latinos been well served by the Latino senator from New Jersey, or is he representing someone else? Were white people well served by the white mayor of San Diego, or did a small group of others benefit? African-Americans have gladly elected members of their own race to learn later of mismanagement and/or corruptions ending in guilty verdicts. Race, itself, is not a good means on which to base Representation. If race is the primary element determining whether a district is legitimate, God help America, and ask did Martin Luther King ever live?
Are the Republican and the Democratic Party a better means? Suppose the choice is between Colin Kaepernick and Don Trump – shouldn’t Americans hope a third person can emerge? The choice might be Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein – someone’s daughter ought to run and kick their butts. If Democrats leave Detroit or New Orleans, does that mean that Democrats should retain Congressional seats there? NO, there are no dead boroughs – designated seats – like Great Britain had until 1909. Likewise Alpine County, California (population 1175, one fifth Native American) does not have as many state senators as Los Angeles County, as it once did. All Congressional and legislative districts do and must change. All legislative districts will be approximately the same size. That is the outcome of the court decision that we now call, One Man, One Vote. In her senility Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg does not understand One Man, One Vote.
What have elected officials done? Some have accomplished much in state office, but the sad tale of New York state needs telling. Governor, Attorney General and local attorney generals are mostly Democrats. Federal prosecutors were Democrats. During the real estate collapse in 2009 members of the Trump family made representations about sales in a building they were trying to unload. The representations and actions surrounding the non-sales went to the local District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, Jr., a scion of the venerable Cyrus Vance. The current generation of the Vance family apparently likes things fast and loose.
It is reported and emails show two Trump children by were trying to agree by constructing and arranging which lies to tell while they were testifying. [It is truly amazing that the Trumps criticized Hillary Clinton for lax and improper use of email, whilst they left electronic pavement smeared across the Internet proving the worst of their actions indicating guilt.] But the pay off was to Cyrus Vance Jr. He needed money to pursue the next political office. The Trumps paid. [Note, in Florida the Attorney General of the state, Republican, declined to participate in a suit against Trump University in exchange for campaign contributions. That was all right, though, because she’s blonde, or bleach blonde.] [Before being recalled in 2003 Gray Davis was noted for dropping administrative and regulatory actions against offenders in exchange for contributions.] Needless to say nobody now remembers who Cyrus Vance Sr. was, or anything he did.
What does gerrymandering have to do with corruption? Everything. As people become entrenched in office, corruption flows. It is easy to stop – bring legal actions, taint a candidate at election time, taint the public official while in office and damn the opposing tweets from twitter-brains, make all provable facts known and supply supporting documentation. Corruption or perceived corruption is one means how political power shifts from party to party, or ideology to ideology: How was the first African-American elected President? He was a change from the Republicans, and he delivered a message different from the Clinton’s.
The exact rules to follow to avoid gerrymandering is a big and diverse issue. Despite changes who makes up electoral districts, California remains a heavily gerrymandered state. The Los Angeles Times reports there is No California Congressional District with Registered Republicans In The Majority. The Democrats have two-third majorities in the legislative houses.
I know residents of Morgan Hill, California whose congressional district extends 80 miles east through 40 miles of wilderness and 40 miles of fields to the cities along Highway 99 and the Sierra foothills. One cannot drive to their house directly from the Central Valley. Their land and residence is continuous to the congressional district of Silicon Valley where they both worked. They are up the hill, but they are part of the Salinas Valley: School district, local government, law enforcement, library district, water district, etc. I asked, “What’s happening in Fresno, or Modesto?” They have no idea.
Democrats should be careful about complaining of gerrymandering. A federal court can come along and rule a state is gerrymandered. The Democratic Party could lose 15-20 seats in the California House of Representatives delegation.
In 1779 General George Washington told the government of Virginia to send its best people to represent it in Congress. Virginia sent James Madison, likely the best Congressman to join the National government, ever. That’s the problem. Americans are not finding and sending the best persons.
My Congressman is a Democrat. I don’t dislike him because he is a Democrat; the Republicans have run real losers against him and that Congressman remains in office. But I refer to and will vaguely quote Mark Twain for a proper description of my House Representative: He is somewhere between the apes and the French.