|Secretary of State for Colorado, Scott Gessler.|
Scott Gessler is a one-man sleeper-cell for the GOP in Colorado. Very quietly in 2010 he amassed vast sums of money from the Republican Party to ensure his victory as the Secretary of State in Colorado. When Michael Steele, then chairman of the Republican Party visited Fort Collins in 2010 I attended his rally at the GOP headquarters inside an out-of-business blockbuster video on College Avenue. During the rally I noticed particular attention being paid to Gesslar by Steele. Gessler was the only politician to position himself in close physical proximity to Steele who was a controversial figure at the time.
Why all the love and attention? This was all part of a quiet campaign by Steele to Gerrymander congressional districts across the country in favor of the Republican Party. If you are not familiar with what Gerrymandering is let me tell you. It is the process by which a political group manipulates geographical boundaries of certain voting districts to favor their group overall.
This is precisely what has happened in Northern Colorado in 2012. To understand this you need to know about the liberal/conservative distribution in the State of Colorado. Though there are pockets of liberals in the western mountains there are just as many conservative families up there as well. Neither group really have the numbers to make a big difference in the congressional districts. Looking down on the front-range, Boulder Colorado has historically been a liberal hub. But, over the last decade there has been some spill over as intra-national transplants have discovered the other cool parts of Colorado.
As with any liberalization of an area the seeds started growing from the the centers of higher learning. In Colorado this is partly true but there is a bit of a catch. Denver and Boulder are chocked full of University students and have traditionally voted more to the left. Whereas Colorado Springs to the south, does not have such a liberal contingent. though there are some private Universities there The Air Force Academy, Focus on the Family and more mega-churches than you can shake a stick at pretty much dominate the political climate in those parts. Now we come to my town - Fort Collins the jewel of Northern Colorado. Smack between Denver and Laramie Wyoming, Fort Collins is balanced town with just as many patchouli-drenched organic farmers as there are wrangler wearing country folk. Home to Colorado State University it is not uncommon to see someone donning Carhartts and cashmere.
I have called Fort Collins home for seven years and have watched as droves of bicycle-riding artists and musicians have taken up residence in this high flat sunny place. The scales of reason have tipped gradually toward the left since I moved here. Alas, my new home has now been tainted by the schemes of the Secretary of State, Scott Gessler. Before 2010 it used to be that Fort Collins was the only large University town in its congressional district. I thought this was great as it pulled our representatives more to the center as they had to compromise with the ranchers and farmers of the high plains for a balanced approach to taxes and government programs for the area. But now the congressional districts have been redrawn and Fort Collins is now in the same geographical voting-bloc as Boulder. The powers that be have corralled all the liberal folks into one big pen. By doing so they have minimized the liberal voice in Colorado. Instead of two slots for potentially liberal congress men or women there is just one.
See for yourself below. The 2010 districts...
And here are the 2012 congressional districts!!!
Conclusion? Gerrymandering! In my opinion this is unconstitutional discrimination. The repercussions of this redistricting don't just affect Colorado but the entire nation as the new batch of Federal congress people will not be representing a fair cross-section of the American people. Redistricting in order to confine either side of the political spectrum to one geographical area only feeds the negative feedback cycle of political polarization rampant in America these days.
I do not care that the one person, one vote dogma is being followed. The spirit of the constitution is being violated!!!