Rural America might be able to free itself from the urban socialism, dominating many states, with a Supreme Court ruling reversing Reynolds v. Sims. However, such a “victory” would likely order one of two remedies:

1. Each county in every state must be represented by a state senator, which would probably just create a political standoff between urban-controlled state houses and rural-controlled state senates, so this would “lock in” all of the political damage of the last 50-plus years and leave little opportunity for positive change in rural America.

2. States would once again be allowed to structure their senates as they see fit. However, why would states where urban interests are already in control make any changes? Neither outcome would be worth the effort.

Clearly, the preferred solution is to create a new “rural state” within an existing state, as allowed under Article IV, Section III of the U.S. Constitution. A new state wouldn’t be controlled by the existing state’s urban centers. But why would such an existing state’s legislature grant a new “rural state” its freedom? What’s their incentive to give up control of the entire existing state?

Even if a state legislature were to agree to the formation of a new state within its boundaries, why would Congress allow it? Any new “rural state” will receive two U.S. senators and “rural senators” will be “conservative.”

The people who run this country certainly don’t want more “conservative” senators, so the only real opportunity for rural America to free itself from urban socialism may be through the “sanctuary county” movement. Many counties have already begun liberating themselves from oppressive state and federal laws by simply nullifying those laws in their county.

The “independence” that sanctuary counties gain from their state, and the federal government, is achieved just one issue at a time, but it’s a good place to start; and it has already been successful in several states.

In Illinois, 96 out of its 102 counties are in some stage of the process of nullifying new firearms laws created in its Chicago-controlled state capital, which means that most of the state could easily agree to form a regional coalition to govern “rural Illinois.” Counties in at least eight other states are also part of the sanctuary county movement and have taken similar steps.

Sanctuary counties seem to be the ideal grassroots method to form independent regional coalitions to govern the rural areas of many states. The advantage of this process is that it does “not” require the permission of state legislatures or Congress as does the Article IV, Section III method. There will certainly be resistance to “rural independence” in state capitals, but most state governments are so preoccupied with the problems created by their socialist programs, that they don’t have the resources to “go to war” with their rural counties.

Eventually, as such rural regional coalitions gain strength, they could negotiate with their urban centers for permanent independence.

David Stanowski lives in Galveston.


(25) comments

Mike Zeller

Mr Stanowski, why all the hem hawing around. Just come out and say it, whites tend to live in the country and minorities tend to live in the cities. Lets give a few whites, along with the cows and the corn, equal representation to the large cities. Sounds like gerrymandering to me. "One person, One vote".

Diane Turski

Clearly, "urban socialism" is not running the country or the state! It would be a positive step if such divisive nonsense were replaced with dialog that would encourage unity among all citizens of this country and state! Promoting gerrymandering and secession does not do that! Promoting one person = one vote would.

Carlos Ponce

"gerrymandering" - The Supreme Court of the United States found only one instance of gerrymandering in the State of Texas and that involved a state legislative district (Texas House District 90) in Tarrant County and it has been fixed. See Abbott v Perez (2018).

Mike McBath

You're kidding, right? Have you ever even looked at the district lines? We are a very gerrymandered state.

Jim Forsythe

Just because few gerrymandered cases go before the Supreme Court, does not mean that Texas does not gerrymander. To portray that all our districts are squares and circles is not being truthful. Squares and circles districts are the least gerrymandered.

States Supreme Court in League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry (2006). June 28, 2006, the Supreme Court ruled that, Texas' 23rd congressional district, which it held was racially gerrymandered in violation of Section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

In studies, Texas consistently places somewhere between the fifth and seventh most gerrymandered state. In a 2017 analysis, it has been found that the three states with the strongest partisan bias in their district lines were Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, followed by a second tier that included Florida, Ohio, Virginia -- and Texas.

The Supreme Court, stuck down three districts in southwestern Texas, citing an unfair impact on minorities. The 35th district, specifically noted in the court case, packed both San Antonio and Austin into one area that resembled a long, slithering snake.

Focusing only on how complicated the district lines are, typically using the yardstick of "compactness." A perfect square or circle is compact; an octopus-shaped district is the opposite. Looking at the intersection of geographical compactness and partisan voting history consistently place Texas between fifth and seventh on the list of most gerrymandered states in the nation.

Carlos Ponce

Jim, citing a 2006 court ruling over a 2018 SCOTUS ruling? Really? No gerrymandering found in Texas after the Abbott v Perez dcision in 2018 which includes CURRENT districting. You may argue all you want but it is GROUNDLESS.

Carlos Ponce

Mike McBath posted: "You're kidding, right? Have you ever even looked at the district lines? We are a very gerrymandered state."

Gerrymandering does not refer to the physical size nor shape of election districts but to lack of population equality in the districts formed. Also some gerrymandering exists to weaken representation by political affiliation or ethnicity. Asides from Texas House District 90, SCOTUS found NONE and Texas HD90 has been redrawn. Did you expect the districts to be nice little squares? That's unrealistic.

Bailey Jones

I fully support your desire to separate yourself from the rest of the country. How about this idea - instead of 50 states, we'll have 100. Every county with a population less than 100,000 (or whatever the definition of "rural" is) will join together to form new states. We'll have Texas, and the new state, "Cow-Texas". And "Cow-Oklahoma", "Cow-California", etc. The these rural states can form a new country (Cowtopia, of if you prefer "JesusLand") and secede from the union. We'll buy corn and pigs from you, make sure your population never increases, and keep any sort of modern ideas, like "industry" or "education" from polluting your character. And you'll be free to enjoy the benefits of low taxes, no environmental regulation, no gun laws, no Medicare, no newspapers, and whatever else you feel robs you of your imaginary worldview.

I'm excited about this. It may just be the solution to all of our political problems.

Carl Hungus

Wow, you sound like an uneducated and scared old white man that is frightened of a black and brown society. What's wrong with socialism? Are you opposed to social security, Medicare and other similar government run programs? Good luck with your faux gerrymandering effort, the educated can see right through your transparency.

Carlos Ponce

"old white man that is frightened of a black and brown society"????

There are "black and brown" constituents living in rural areas so reading race into this column is really a stretch.

" What's wrong with socialism?" PLENTY! Why don't you want to give Americans a right to choose? In my profession I did not contribute to Social Security nor Medicare and I'm doing well in my my retirement, in fact better than many of those who did. And to those who PAID, repeat PAID into Social Security and Medicare do you really consider your PAYMENTS to be SOCIALISM? What I recommend is give people a CHOICE. I thought you Liberals were all for The Right to Choose - guess not.

Gary Miller

Carl> as an educated old man I do not fear a black or brown society. I do oppose the fact that black and brown seem more likely to want government to take my earnings to give to the blacks and browns wanting freebies. Using freebies to buy voters is why the cities are so corrupt. In the city it's the vote of the black or brown that is most often bought by the corrupt politicians. It is the mostly white working population that provides the funding used to buy the votes. Yes some black or brown work but not for the freebies they help fund.

Bill Broussard

If no one has noticed even Country Western music has moved to an urban melody and words. When Allen Jackson starts with a rap beat it my be too late to migrate back to chuck wagon days

Bailey Jones

I got the horses in the back

Horse tack is attached

Hat is matte black

Got the boots that's black to match

Bailey Jones

Seriously, there's no need for all these machinations. A solution already exists. The "Mississippi Plan" has been keeping a minority of self-entitled elites in power since 1890.

David Hardee

We’re a mess!

This thread is an illustration of how messy a debate is in our society. Hypothetical’s, selective facts, diversion and always race bating are inserted to corrupt the message and messenger. Never will the presenter/messenger escape from charges of self serving and if there is an opportunity to apply character assassination it will be done.

The mess is a natural product of being a member of humanity. For some indefinable (evolution, prime mover design, deity, happenstance) reason humans are dissimilar. All men (everyone(s)) are equal only in their creation process (joining of egg and sperm). At the event of leaving the host/mother in-equality is instantly notable (finger prints, color, sex, etc.). And immediately a person unique to all others is growing, accumulating and expressing it-SELF.

Until in the total of humanity every human is instilled to and accepts IT MUST serve the greater good with morality, ethics, work and benevolence the messiness will continue.

This article reflects a thorough and thoughtful effort to make fair a political process. Be civil and stay on point.

Emile Pope

People asking for preferential treatment simply because of where they chose to live. That's what this article is about. A certain groups population is dwindling and with it their influence. So they want their limited votes to mean more and count more. There's always Montana and Wyoming...

Dan Freeman

Mr. Ponce states “The Supreme Court of the United States found only one instance of gerrymandering in the State of Texas and that involved a state legislative district (Texas House District 90) in Tarrant County….” What the court actually wrote was that Texas had engaged in an "impermissible racial gerrymander", remanding the case to lower courts to correct the redistricting to eliminate the racial gerrymandering.

However, gerrymandering is usually thought as a practice intended to establish a political advantage by partisan manipulation of election district boundaries. SCotUS has been careful to avoid ruling on political gerrymandering, because the Constitution allows considerable latitude to the states in setting district boundaries, as long as they abide by the one person one vote rule, which the opponent of our democratic republic Mr. Stanowski wants to eliminate.

In Rucho v. Common Cause the court concluded that “partisan gerrymandering claims are not justiciable. … The Framers also gave Congress the power to do something about partisan gerrymandering in the Elections Clause. That avenue for reform established by the Framers, and used by Congress in the past, remains open.”

As noted by several writers, Texas has always excelled at legal political gerrymandering.

Carlos Ponce

When you consider ALL the election districts redrawn after the 2010 Census; 36 Congressional Districts, 150 state legislative districts, 31 state senatorial districts, finding JUST ONE with problems is not indicative of systemic gerrymandering. Do the math, Dan. 216 drawn with no problems, 1 had problems - and that one was fixed. Whoever said "Texas has always excelled at legal political gerrymandering," must be talking about the PAST, not current districts. Today there are exactly ZERO gerrymandered districts in Texas.

Bailey Jones

Take a look at the District 36 and please explain why the NASA suburbs are in the same district as Jasper, Woodville, Lumberton and the Big Thicket. Could it be to subsume a bunch of city slickers into the rural abyss? How is the 2nd District logical? What possible explanation for the 33rd except to ghettoize a bunch of urban Democrats into a single district? The 35th? The 15th? The 25th? Texas has exactly 1 competitive congressional district - that's the 23rd. The rest (22 R and 13 D) are drawn to guarantee outcomes, election after election - stifling any prospect for true representation. In the 2016 election, Texas went 52%R and 43%D. Yet Republicans hold 23 of 36 congressional seats (64%). Coincidence? We all know better.

Carlos Ponce

Congressional District 36 was a new District formed when Texas' population increased in the 2010 Census. It was carved out of existing districts with contiguous territory mostly north of Congressional District 14 which is composed mostly of coastal East Texas counties. Supreme Court found no fault in this redistricting.. It has a population of 742,474 covering 7,125.8 square miles. Congressional District 14 has a larger population of 765,031 covering just 2,446.6 square miles. Would you lump NASA suburbs with CD14 overpowering the Black and Hispanic voters? Or would you add the NASA suburbs to CD 29 and challenge Democrat Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia?

Bailey Jones

This isn't about what I would do, Carlos, it's about what your Republican state government did, and will no doubt continue to do. But since you prefer to deflect rather than address the existing political inequality in our state, what I would do is redistrict the entire state, creating districts based on geographical compactness, existing municipal borders, population density, and where possible, political and demographic balance. A number of mathematicians have proposed algorithms that accomplish this nicely, without partisan bias.

Carlos Ponce

And algorithms are as reliable as those who designed them. Problem is that people complain when their neighborhood is placed in the "wrong" voting district. Accommodating those individuals is what led to the initial problems with the way Texas HD 90 was drawn.You can't please everybody but you must please the courts. SCOTUS was pleased with 216 of the 217 Voting Districts.

David Hardee

Now the debate is centered into voting - districts - gerrymandering - representation by boundaries influenced by selective classes, minorities, socioeconomics etc.

No one mentioned AT LARGE VOTING - no districts - one man one vote.

Whats wrong with AT LARGE VOTING now that we have universal suffrage?

Bailey Jones

The problem with "at large" districts is what is known as "the tyranny of the majority". For instance, if 40% of a city is a minority - black, brown, Jewish, poor, immigrant, whatever - and that minority is concentrated geographically, as is often the case - at large voting means that the 60% majority will always elect representatives that it prefers and that represent the interests of that majority. That's fine for electing the mayor of a city, but for something like city council or county commissioner where you have several representatives, it's a fairer system to have different populations of voters elect representatives that actually represent their more localized interests.

Historically, at large voting has been used to stifle the political voice of minorities, that's why most cities have moved away from it to more representative methods.

Even without the effect on minorities, at large voting is bad because it doesn't require representatives to actually represent their constituents. Imagine if Texas's 36 congresspeeps were elected at large. And they all lived in Dallas. That is obviously not a fair system. Better to have Dallasites elect the Dallas rep, panhandle peeps elect the panhandle rep, and so on.

Jim Casey

I think it's a splendid idea for counties to ignore state laws that they don't like.

Many counties in Texas would like to have legal gambling. That could make rural Texas counties into vacation destinations and capture the money that is now going to Louisiana.

Why not have mini versions of Las Vegas, with legal prostitution and marijuana? More tax revenue. The possibilities are endless.

Of course, if rural counties want to be independent from their states, it could happen that the socialist, urban-controlled legislatures return the favor by cutting funds for highways, flood control, education, economic development, and other projects.

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