Friday, November 13, 2009

Beware of Gerrymandering!

Hat tip: my husband

For years, or more accurately, forever, whenever I hear people say that Israel should change its it election system to America-like districts I hear a chirping in my ear getting louder and louder, shrieking:

It's very hard to turn this warning off.  Not all election districts are created equal.  New York State is a perfect example of districts drawn to produce specific results.

Isn't this a work of art?  Wouldn't you love to see what Israeli politicians would produce if allowed to freedom to create districts? 

Israel can't afford the luxury of such a mistake.  Our very existence is at stake, so although our system isn't perfect, it's the best system for us until the Moshiach is here and in charge.   Democracy is risky, because we're dependent on the intelligence and judgement of human beings.  Need I say more?


Curious said...

Isn't the Moshiach human too?

Batya said...

curious, The big question is the who and when and if he/she's here right now waiting to be recognized.

goyisherebbe said...

Two points. First, the he/she business to be politically correct is really a mistake because it says in the gemara referring to the mitzvah to appoint a king, king and not queen. All appointments to positions of authority according to halacha are, sorry, male. If a sanhedrin should choose to rethink the reading of that verse and all of the oral interpretation concerning it, okay. But that requires a court greater in wisdom and number than the one which legislated it in the first place.
Back to the original point. My first suggestion for electoral reform is to abolish the Knesset and have direct electronic voting on legislation. You can buy off a couple of legislators to pass an Oslo, but you can't buy off the entire nation. You can brainwash people to sit passively in front of the TV while you throw people out of their homes, but you can't get them to take the initiative and vote. Of course the politicians will not vote themselves out of their jobs.
The other alternative is to frame the legislation with limits in variance in both population and geometrical construction of electoral districts. There can be a computer model for this, I'm pretty sure. Once again, there is a chance for this like a snowball in Eilat in July. Politicians get their place on the party lists through their protectzia with the boys in the upper echelon of the party. Nobody will vote themselves out of a job. Nobody will volunteer to reinvent themselves from a creature of the party central committee to creature of the local ward heelers.
The only thing you can do to change who gets on the ballot is to join a major party and vote in the primaries. Punish the sectoral parties who are fractious and split up and join together and rewrite their party lists without listening to us, the voters. When the Jewish Home was being formed, they made a big deal of polling us on a web site. In the end they paid no attention to the results, shutting good people out of the political process. Then the NU split back off from them and both conveniently had too little time to
hold primaries. They ended up as two parties with little clout in forming a coalition. If all the religious and/or right-wing parties would all get together, I would be willing to forego a certain amount of internal democracy in return for greater bargaining power. A religious-right bloc of 30 seats or so would be able to do something. A splinter party of 4 or 5 can do nothing but make a little noise. Ben-Ari can't even make a memorial speech in the Knesset.

Batya said...

goyish, why don't you post a version of this on the blog? And, why can't the Moshiach be "female?"