Economics lecture set for Oct. 18; Marcus is speaker

Morton J. Marcus

The Supreme Court of the United States last week decided they will not interfere in political redistricting cases. By a one vote majority, they are enabling gerrymandering.

Now that the court has not acted, this is our time to act. Every American fed up with partisan politics can change what the court would not do — provide for competition in politics.

Political competition is extremely limited in Indiana. Our state is a model of gerrymandering. In six of our 25 State Senate seats up in 2018, Hoosier Democrats failed to field a candidate.

In the Statehouse, out of 100 seats, 22 were won by Democrats, 11 by Republicans without opposition from the other party.

Every one of Indiana’s nine Congressional Representatives in 2018 won in a landslide. In political terms, winning with 55 percent of the vote is considered a landslide.

The absence of meaningful competition invites intellectual as well as economic corruption. For Hoosiers not enamored of politics in the first place, their resulting indifference to politics means they participate only when highly emotional issues are on the table.

The key to civil civic behavior is acceptance of the diversity of thought among adults. When emotions are aroused and rational thought is dismissed, anger and anxiety fuel the flames of partisanship.

Hoosiers do not live in an engaged society. Statewide, my study shows 88 percent of Hoosiers 18 and older are registered to vote. If true, we have 600,000 unregistered adults.

But those figures may be bloated because not all counties have cleaned the dead and the movers from their books. At the same time, not all persons 18 and older are eligible to vote. There is a question of citizenship, length of residency and other factors keeping people from registering. Plus, we don’t know how many eligible voters fail to register because they do not understand the process, the timing and the importance of registering.

With only 51 percent of those registered actually casting a ballot in the 2018 general election, we count 2.2 million registered votes who did not vote. Add that to the estimate above of unregistered people (600,000) and we come up with 2.8 million potential votes not cast in this last election.

The first step, to offset the support given to gerrymandering by the Supreme Court, is to register every eligible voter. That means putting large numbers of people on the ground to convince 55 percent of the adult population of the need to register and to vote.

The second step is getting the signature of every candidate for local office on this year’s ballot to sign an oath that they will support independent redistricting at all levels. It’s been done before by the enemies of democratic government.

Now is the time those who understand the vital role of government to stand for the revitalization of democracy in America.

— Morton J. Marcus is an economist. Reach him at mortonjmarcus@yahoo.com. Follow his views and those of John Guy on “Who gets what?” wherever podcasts are available or at mortonjohn.libsyn.com.