Texas Legislative Branch, Redistricting, Campaigns and Elections under Federalism
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Reflective Writing: Texas Legislative Branch, Redistricting, Campaigns and Elections under Federalism
Requirements and Completion Instructions
When completing your essay, you must provide in-text citations for any work that is directly quoted or paraphrased. However, you do not need to put the direct citation next to each piece of information that you include in your chart. A bibliographic citations on your bibliography will suffice. When writing your essay, respond to the prompt thoroughly, and completely.
Your response should be your own thoughts and analysis. Citations may be formatted in APA, MLA or Chicago style, as long as they are consistent throughout. Research and resources should be incorporated with scholarly application. I.e. used as examples or evidence to support your analysis. Make sure to use complete sentences, and proper grammar. Your response to the prompt should focus on analyzing the information you gather and use to complete the constitutional chart through application. Incorporate the information you gathered by using it to provide examples and support for your response to the prompt.
Your analysis and essay must be at least 2 pages, in length. This does not include the bibliography. The bibliography should be incorporated, on a separate page, unless you are using Footnotes. You will upload your essay, and bibliography together, as a single file, to the designated link, in Eagle Online. File submissions accepted include .pdf, .doc, .dpcx files. Any other files, submitted, such as pages etc. will not be reviewed, and will automatically receive a grade of a zero, without re-submission.
My expectations of a complete assignment are that information is organized clearly and in detail with specific examples. Quality is preferred to quantity.
Copy and paste the link below, to access and stream the movie The Big Buy: How Tom Delay Stole Congress, free online. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6rzv (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Choose from one of the prompts below, to respond to
- Thinking about federalism and the how power is distributed between multiple levels of government, including the federal and state level, identify current federal and Texas laws that regulate elections, such as those that provide for determining electoral processes, eligibility to participate in an election, selection methods, winning requirements, candidate qualifications, determining when and where election is held. Discuss inconsistencies and provide some possible examples to explain the potential effects these could have on electoral outcomes, of who is deemed winner, and ultimately achieving democratic representation of the appropriate people (constituents) who will be electorally linked and impacted by the winner of a political office.
- In your own opinion, is re-redistricting, before the decennial census, a crime, based on statutory and constitutional law? Or, given the nature and number of state level elections, across a wide geography made up of an extremely demographically heterogenous population, make it democratically necessary that re-mapping between census’s be a reserved power of the states, in order to maximize representative democracy. How could the remapping of Texas be applied to example and explain the state’s Don’t Mess With Texas, age old attitude, and individualistic political culture.
- How could you defend an argument that re-redistricting was not illegal, and how could you defend the argument that re-redistricting violated the Voting Rights Act. Despite, the Texas remapping controversy, should the federal judicial system be involved, in what Justice Felix Frankfurter called the “political thicket” of partisan redistricting? Especially, since the power to redistrict is a power reserved to for the state, and its people. If political gerrymandering is a problem, should its resolve be left to the voters, state by state, and jurisdiction by jurisdiction, or to the federal government (i.e. oversight, regulation, intervention, law…what do you think).
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It is important to note that the United States government is very complex, especially since it is divided into judicial, legislative, and executive branches. The legislative consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives, whereby representatives in both have to be elected via a valid voting process (Magleby & Mosesson, 2018). The three branches are also defined as the federal government. Each state elects a Governor, and the individual legislature is also applied. In addition, local elections for townships, counties, and cities are also carried out. At the same time, every ten years, a census is taken to tally the country’s population at a local, state, and national level. This census is essential to politics because, after each census, redistricting usually occurs. Redistricting refers to how districts are adjusted to determine who represents the district (Rossiter et al., 2018).
In my opinion, redistricting prior to the census is not a crime based on statutory law. Currently, some jurisdictions already do not shift with the reconfiguring district lines due to an underlying philosophy. In other words, some Senate systems have been etched after the federal Senate with counties’ representation other than the population at the time (Lindgren & Southwell, 2013). On the other hand, based on Constitutional law, the Supreme Court decided in the 1960s that this kind of population disparity breached the Constitution of the US because it needed an equal population for every legislative district (Webster, 2013). In other words, district boundaries might need periodical readjustment to represent new population data.
According to Magleby & Mosesson (2018), an effective redistricting procedure has to remain transparent and open so that the communities involved can provide input and ask questions. Such participation is crucial because communities contribute towards well-designed districts. In the case of the democratic necessity of re-mapping in between census, it is important because it helps provide relevant political representation to warranted populations like minorities. This means that redistricting enables the rebalancing of districts, ensuring that they are equally represented irrespective of their ethnic/racial background.
Texas combines traditionalistic and individualistic political cultures that emphasize deference to the elite rule in traditional moral values and a hierarchical society (Hunter, 2015). There are four sections in the Texas Constitution that triangulate the legislative redistricting requirements. Nonetheless, this Constitution fails to incorporate congressional redistricting and does not describe the Legislative Redistricting Board (LRB) mechanics. Such administrative and legal challenges towards redistricting processes have caused uncertainty for voters and candidates in Texas (Hunter, 2015). Texas’s redistricting process usually involves prolonged litigation, which results in voter confusion and considerable cost (Webster, 2013). Prior experience shows that the Texas legislature needs to re-examine its statutory provisions and the Constitution affecting redistricting so that improvements can be determined and applied to its current system.
The Texas Constitution needs the legislature to re-plan its district lines immediately after decennial census figures are released (Rossiter et al., 2018). Furthermore, I think that the state legislator’s ability to mine personalized political fates shows poor public policy. Even though Texas acknowledges the government bodies in-charge of redistricting, its statutory and constitutional law fails to use the formulation criteria of a redistricting plan. It is important to note that redistricting cannot be attained through a sociological or political vacuum but rather through different groups and people that seek to accomplish various ends within the process (Webster, 2013). I suggest that Texas amends its Constitution so that its growing population can increase representatives and state senators, which will simplify the redistricting process in the future.
Magleby, D. B., & Mosesson, D. B. (2018). A new approach for developing neutral redistricting plans. Political Analysis, 26(2), 147-167.
Lindgren, E., & Southwell, P. (2013). The effect of redistricting commissions on electoral competitiveness in US House elections, 2002-2010. J. Pol. & L., 6, 13.
Rossiter, K. M., Wong, D. W., & Delamater, P. L. (2018). Congressional Redistricting: Keeping Communities Together? The Professional Geographer, 70(4), 609-623.
Hunter, W. B. (2015). Distortion and Revolution in Texas US Congressional Redistricting Politics: 1972-2014.
Webster, G. R. (2013). Reflections on current criteria to evaluate redistricting plans. Political Geography, 32, 3-14.