OK, Boomer: Daddy Was A Gerrymandering Villain

….OK, Boomer.

Two words have crystalized our generational friction as we slip into the second decade of the 21st century. The “entitled” Millennials and our

Haunted lady

I feel a lingering presence!

Zoomer cousins are beginning to see we are in for a struggle to inherit the world.

Stephanie Hofeller has it worse than most. Her Dad, Thomas Hofeller, was the architect of today’s political landscape. Called “The master of the modern gerrymander” by The New Yorker, Tom died in 2018 and left a lot of interesting things behind.

Stephanie has been using her father’s files to chip away at his work. She was instrumental in the Supreme Court ruling against including a citizenship question in the 2020 census, after Tom’s cache revealed a study showing the question to be “advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.” Which, obviously, is a faux pas.

But her first legal victory was in North Carolina. Advocacy group Common Cause brought a suit challenging how districts were drawn. Stephanie provided proof of what many of us have seen for a long time – Republicans like to redraw local maps to limit the impact of people who probably won’t vote for them.

Instead of, you know, trying to win them over. And it’s just a coincidence so many of them are black.

Thomas Hofeller was the bureaucratic psychopath who cobbled together the Rs’ base of support. He created spider-districts all over the country, in states including:

Garroted pulp cover

The Invisible Hand strikes again!

 

  • Arizona
  • Florida 
  • Maryland 
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri 
  • Ohio 
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia

This was no small operation. It took decades.

“His work is really having a profound effect, and has had, long before anybody really noticed on a broader level,” Stephanie says. She was totally estranged from her father for four years following a personal legal battle involving her children. I can only imagine walking into his office after learning he had died, finding things as he left them, forever.

“I think from the historical standpoint, this slice of life, this little snapshot, is going to prove very valuable,” she told NPR. “I originally started sharing them with journalists as a direct response to the assertion by the legislative defendants through counsel that they should be destroyed.”

That’s right – Attorneys from Dear Ol’ Dad’s company fought hard to keep this stuff from going public, claiming “trade secrets”. This failed. Stephanie sent copies to The New York Times, The New Yorker and The Intercept, in addition to NPR.

“I won’t be satisfied that we the people have found everything until we the people have had a look at it in its entirety.”

You can read them for yourself athehofellerfiles.com.

In mourning

What the hell, Dad??

This is the kind of citizenship that makes me a little misty-eyed. I sympathize with the predicament of an unbelievably malignant paternal figure. Stephanie Hofeller is a very brave woman and I’m grateful for her incisive action.

Old Tom wasn’t technically a Boomer, being born in 1943. But so were Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Sharon Tate, Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Michael Palin and Eric Idle…. You get the idea.

Did the Counterculture of positivity, individualism and environmentalism fizzle out? Or was it squashed slowly over the past 50 years by a sneaky campaign of ruthless, precise cheating?

The carbon-rich legacy of the 20th century hangs over all our heads. But we have to wait around for them to die before we can even start to see exactly how these entitled whackos scrambled the system.

 Ah, Republicans – Break something, then cite its brokenness as grounds to shut it down. (Don’t forget, they literally shut down the Federal Government several times under Obama. The national parks closed, workers went unpaid. Although, they never did let it go long enough to stop Social Security payments. Hmmm….)

Stephanie Hofeller is riding the thin edge of the wedge. Robert Reich, a more friendly Boomer, has a video titled, “The 6 Ways Millennials are Changing America.” He does a great job concisely illuminating the differences in the two big population groups, and draws interesting conclusions.

Basically, get used to this. Our parent’s generation seems to have felt entitled to do pretty much whatever the hell they wanted. The craven conservatives appear to have triumphed over the spineless liberals at the end of the day, even if they had to break democracy to do it. We have our work cut out for us.

Thank you, Stephanie.

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