Gerry-Rigged

By Bill Maher

In the last election, Democrats got a million more votes for their House candidates than Republicans did. In a fair world, Nancy Pelosi would be Speaker again, but Republicans still have a 33-seat majority because of gerrymandering.

Let's call gerrymandering what it really is: segregation. It carves up district lines so "urban" voters -- aka African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics -- are bunched up in Democratic districts, while suburban and rural districts are carefully kept just white enough to go Republican.

Short-term, gerrymandering is the only thing that keeps the GOP in power. Long-term, it just might kill them. They can't compete for Hispanic votes because they don't have to. Using redistricting as a crutch only allows them to stay in denial about demographic reality, which is that the fastest growing groups in the country are racing to the polls to vote for Democrats while the Republican base is racing to the morgue. Moreover, it only encourages them to continue insulting voters they need to take back the White House, or even hold onto Congress over the next few cycles.

You know who I think would back me up on this? George W. Bush. Remember, he was for immigration reform, but his own party killed him over it. If you're a Republican, isn't it a serious problem when George W. Bush is a couple steps ahead of the rest of your party? And even though the tide seems to have turned on immigration reform, most Republicans are still from districts whose voters are very uncomfortable doing the salsa.

Most Republican politicians are smart enough to know they've got an existential problem here, but their voters aren't. They see a pathway to citizenship as "amnesty," and won't soon forgive their congressman if he votes for it. So if you're a Republican House member, what the hell do you do?