lydy: (me by ddb)
[personal profile] lydy
Called Al, Amy, and Keith about the disasterous Republican "replacement" of Obamacare. As always, I flubbed the first call, did better on the second and third. I kind of think the staff are tired of hearing from me...this may be projection on my part. In all three cases, they didn't ask for my zip code, and in two cases they declined to take it. One of them said, "I have your phone number" which is totes adorbz, since one's area code is the area code that one had when one first got a cell phone, not necessarily where one lives at the moment. Which actually highlights some of the ways in which the geographic representation is an antique thing. On the other hand, most of the suggestions for replacing it with something else seem to have even greater problems. I don't know... It's complicated. If representation were by affinity group rather than geography, it removes the problems of gerrymandering, but introduces greater balkanization, just for starters.

I also called the Dept. of Homeland Security to ask for the release of Daniel Ramirez, who is a Dreamer who didn't do anything at all, other than just, be, you know, brown.

So, that's my little bit for the week.

Date: 2017-03-17 05:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I find geographic representation to be increasingly bothersome on a philosophical level. The drawing of districts to maximize ethnicities - and I don't mean just gerrymandering, but court-ordered representation - does this. If a state is 40% black, so ideally 2 of its 5 districts should elect black congressmembers, then why not just have the blacks elect 2 and the whites elect 3, instead of drawing lines intended to disenfranchise the white people in the black districts and the black people in the white districts.

I also noticed when I was working full-time that I was a lot more concerned about municipal issues in the city I worked in than in the city I slept in, but that's not where my vote was.

Date: 2017-03-17 05:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I agree with you, but do not feel like I have a good grasp on the trade-offs for moving to another system. In such areas, I tend to be conservative. While it is broken, it is always possible to break it worserer.

Date: 2017-03-17 05:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm not sure how it would work, but I'd like to see it tried somewhere. It could be done as an experiment, and reverted if there's a problem. We experiment this way with voting systems all the time, just not with districting systems.

Date: 2017-03-18 08:20 am (UTC)
ckd: (mit)
From: [personal profile] ckd
Cambridge, MA's city council uses a multi-member single transferable vote system, so a group of just over 20% can elect two of the 9 seats. That group could be defined through any shared set of values: landlords, religion, racial/ethnic/cultural, etc.

Statewide, MA elects 9 Democrats to the House despite the Republicans having a total of 15.34% of the vote; a 9-seat multi-member election using the same process would guarantee them at least one seat assuming those voters picked all Rs ahead of all Ds.

Date: 2017-03-18 05:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So, a multi-member election would, in fact, be more representative of the total number of Republicans in your state? Do you see that as a good thing or a bad thing? I am queasy about the Republicans, in general, but it seems like it might be a good thing for everybody if politics weren't so much of a zero-sum, winner take all sort of game.

Date: 2017-03-18 05:46 pm (UTC)
ckd: (mit)
From: [personal profile] ckd
Well, my no-longer-current state. WA is a bit more geographically diverse politically, which is why we have people like the state legislator who wanted to criminalize protest by calling it "economic terrorism".

I think that STV giving smaller groups (up to a certain point) the ability to elect a representative even if they're geographically dispersed is a feature overall even if I disagree with that group's choice.

I'm definitely not a fan of the current R leadership structure and believe that anyone who will caucus with them is unfit for office, but the structure of STV makes negative campaigning more fraught (you can't really say "Person A sucks, but vote for me second if you vote them first") and therefore might result in electing a third-party candidate whose views are too conservative for Ds and too liberal for Rs rather than a Republican. (Or a more conservative D instead of a real R, though MA already has Stephen Lynch with the current system.)

Date: 2017-03-17 08:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You're going to have to present something stronger than "there are cell phones and Internet now" to convince me that geographic representation isn't a good idea. Most issues that *actually* affect a person are geographically rooted, like whether your sewers work or roads are maintained.

Based on your comment, I guess you aren't really advocating it, but calling it "antique" seems at least half way there.

Date: 2017-03-18 04:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I didn't actually say that geographic representation was a bad idea. I think that it is problematic in two different ways. The first is that a lot of my community feeling is not geographically based, and I think this is true of many people. The second is that gerrymandering is a serious issue, and that is based on the assumption of geographical representation. Moreover, I did not mean to use cell phones as proof of anything. It was intended as a way of quickly noting that geography doesn't function exactly the same in people's lives now as it did even fifty years ago, much less two hundred. You are correct, it's not proof of anything, but it wasn't intended to be.

One of the things that is problematic with representation not based on geography is stuff that you are nodding at. I think one of the things that many many many people overlook is the incredible importance of logistics. And I think that as we live our lives more and more online, we have an even greater tendency to forget time and distance and distribution problems. But the issues of where resources are located, where they are transported to, how they are processed, all of that is vastly more important than people tend to realize. The distribution of wealth and poverty also has a significant geographic component, for lots of reasons, most of them logistical. So, yes, representation based on geography has a lot to recommend it.

At the same time, I don't really know my neighbors, nor have any particular interest in doing so. I don't make close friends at work. My own life, and my interests, tend to be sufficiently at angles from other people that I do much better, socially, in affinity groups of my choosing.

I am also very much an internationalist. I dislike the entire concept of the nation-state. This is one of the areas in which I remain very much an anarchist. An anarchist who adores big institutions, you understand. I am very, very fond of government in the abstract, and often in the particular. But I don't get a sense of belonging out of countries.

Date: 2017-03-17 08:34 pm (UTC)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
From: [personal profile] redbird
Maybe "I have your phone number" means "and my system shows we've heard from you already this month, so we already know your zip code."

Certainly nobody I've called, which includes state legislators and the attorney general (I haven't gotten around the governor yet) as well as the federal representatives has commented on my non-Massachusetts phone number.

A practical question, not philosophical

Date: 2017-03-17 09:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Do they ask for your phone# when you call, or do they just "have" it because they read it off your incoming call? I ask because, although I have not managed to nerve myself up to making an actual phone call (instead of email), i still might. However, I am absolutely unwilling to give a politician my phone#. We are already getting about 3 phone calls a week from the DFL and/or National Democratic Party on our house phone and I certainly don't want more. Jacob Frey somehow got hold of my cell phone# and keeps calling over and over (pretty much guaranteeing that I won't be voting for him since I now want to rip his throat out). I don't want to end up feeling that way about my current elected representatives.

Date: 2017-03-18 04:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
They must read it off of my incoming call, since I don't give it to them.

I don't care if they have my phone number. I answer my phone only when I want to, and answer numbers not assigned to actual friend and chosen business contacts on a primarily whimsical basis. So, really, they can call all day long and twice of a Sunday, and I just don't care.

If you were to call, you might do better to call from your cell phone, and then use the functionality of the phone to block or route to voicemail calls you don't want to answer. I did that with Louie Spooner lo these many years ago, and it greatly increased my peace of mind.

Date: 2017-03-19 06:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"use the functionality of the phone to block or route to voicemail calls you don't want to answer."

Oh, I do that, but it doesn't really stop them. "Call centers" (including political spam) tend to use rotating outgoing phone numbers. And even blocked calls usually ring at least once. It particularly infuriates me to get spam calls on my cell phone, which I think of as very personal. I mean, it vibrates in my pocket when it rings - how much more intimate can a phone call get? I am very reluctant to give out my cell phone number to anybody I don't know personally. I certainly didn't give it to the DFL, so I have no idea how Jacob Frey got hold of it.


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