Knees jerked with record speed

You know, they couldn’t do much with important stuff like the economy, gas price relief, or using the state’s vast surplus of borrowed out of thin air federal funding to give the taxpayers a realistic break, but I tell you what: take an incident where kids were killed by a combination of evil that pays attention to no law and police incompetence that failed miserably in upholding the right to life of some number of children and suddenly there’s a stampede by the majority in the Delaware General Assembly to DO SOMETHING – even if it does little to nothing to address a problem. And while everyone was fixated with their criminal stupidity on one issue, they took advantage of it to ramrod a provision that may allow them to keep themselves in perpetual power.

Here are the issues I have with Delaware’s gun bills: first of all, you copied off a bill that’s been shown to do nothing in Maryland over ten years aside from curtail peoples’ Second Amendment rights. The criminals laugh and keep killing people in Baltimore, which has “achieved” a record number of homicides since the bill was passed in 2013 – the last four years have been four of their top six years in terms of homicide numbers. Essentially, all this series of bills will do is make people either criminals or defenseless, and something tells me that these newly-minted criminals who run afoul of the complex new gun regulations will be prosected with the greatest of zeal in comparison to run-of-the-mill street criminals.

Secondly, what kind of business has it become of yours just how large a magazine someone owns? Leaving aside the Uvalde police force’s ineptitude or cowardice, having a force of multiple police officers means you probably have more rounds than the criminal does. Having said that, though, would those of you who voted for this garbage rather face a quartet of armed home invaders with a ten-round magazine or a thirty-round one? Thought so. (And remember: when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.)

Nine years ago I expressed my opposition to the Maryland gun law the DGA essentially copied and I still stand by every word. The only difference is the number of coffins while ignoring the hundreds of lives saved by law-abiding gun owners who respect their weapons. Ask some folks in West Virginia, for example. (And pay attention in that story to how well gun laws stopped the criminal perpetrator. He was stopped by a good girl with a gun.) Since it didn’t match the narrative, I bet you never heard this on your nightly news, now did you?

And one more thought on this gun subject: remember how Sussex County Council turned gutless on the great idea of a county-level right-to-work law because they were worried about how they would be sued? The same went for the City of Seaford when they passed the fetal remains law but put it on hold because the state bullied them with a lawsuit? Obviously the knowledge that the state would face a lawsuit on these prospective laws on Second Amendment grounds wasn’t going to stop our Democrat legislature because power-seekers gotta power-seek, I suppose.

Speaking of that, notice how they let the voting bill sit for the better part of a year before rushing to pass it in the final weeks of the session? Moreover, they rejected an amendment to push the effective date back to next year, meaning that the Democrats couldn’t stand the thought of having an election without the crutch of mail-in ballots. (Wonder how many mules are in Delaware these days?)

The least that could be done before mail-in balloting would be accepted is to clean up the voter rolls of duplicate, deceased, and inactive voters. After the 2020 election where the results of machine votes and mail-in balloting were so drastically different, an audit of the voter rolls is a must. (In 2020, machine votes would have given the state to Donald Trump, elected Lee Murphy to Congress, installed Donyale Hall as LG, resulted in a 12-9 Democrat Senate instead of 14-7, and a 24-17 Democrat House instead of 26-15. It would have flipped three offices in Kent County as well. All these changes accrued to Democrats at the expense of the GOP. What a shock they voted for it, huh?)

I know I should take a deep breath because I know God is in control, but sometimes I get angry about the foolishness my fellow man does in the name of law.

The rapid jerking of knees

Every time there’s a disaster, whether natural or man-made, there’s always that moment of passion when it’s determined the politicians have to DO SOMETHING. It doesn’t matter whether that action is really necessary and not ill-advised, it just has to appear to deal with the problem and make them look good.

The last time the liberals came so hot and heavy for our guns was the aftermath of Sandy Hook, but that was a case of curious political timing: since the shooting occurred during the lame duck period between the election and the swearing-in of a new Congress, it meant that some of the momentum for change was blunted by the three-week interim before a new Congress, who hadn’t run so much on gun control, was sworn in. Yes, there was a call for “common-sense” (read: overrestrictive and unconstitutional) gun laws, but that wasn’t really part of the Obama re-election platform.

Almost a decade later – and with a detour to a Florida high school included – we have the same situation with the Uvalde massacre. Yes, the situation in Uvalde is complicated by what appears to a be a badly botched response by local officials, but that portion of it doesn’t fit the narrative that the guns the shooter had were completely responsible. By gummy, dem guns just up and fired themselves – a shame the guy holding them had to be shot by a police officer to stop the gun from shooting. And it’s amazing that all this comes up in an election year when the Democrats have exactly zero avenues of success to run on.

Anyway, some of these bills were already languishing in the Delaware General Assembly, but in the days after the tragedy there was a renewed push for gun reform in the same warmed-over package that was going nowhere. The bodies were barely cold when most of these provisions were introduced:

  • Banning the sale of assault weapons (HB 450) – new bill
  • Limiting high-capacity magazines (SB 6) – introduced in March 2021, substitute bill put in place June 7, 2022
  • Raising the age from 18 to 21 to purchase most firearms (HB 451) – new bill
  • Strengthening background checks by reinstituting the Firearm Transaction Approval Program (FTAP) (HB 423) – introduced May 2022.
  • Holding gun manufacturers and dealers liable for reckless or negligent actions that lead to gun violence (not yet introduced)
  • Banning the use of devices that convert handguns into fully automatic weapons (not yet introduced)

Out of the six, the Republicans seem to be most supportive of HB423, as several are either sponsoring or co-sponsoring the measure because it brings the background check back to the state. That bill has advanced out of committee already, as has HB450 and HB451. The substitute SB6 has already passed the Senate on a 13-7 vote, with the “no” side being bipartisan thanks to lame-duck Senator Bruce Ennis.

A state 2A advocate by the name of Brad Burdge had this to say about these bills being considered in Delaware:

HB450 – “Cut & Paste” law from Maryland’s law, passed nearly 10 years ago that would outlaw purchase, possession and sale of AR-15 and similar weapons.  Weapons already owned would be grandfathered.  This has been proposed and rejected by several legislative sessions, yet the current rash of events reported around the country appears likely to sweep it into law.  The Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association (DSSA) is already preparing to take this to court as an unconstitutional abridgement of Article 1, Section 20 of the Delaware Constitution with provides that ” A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home and State, and for hunting and recreational use.”  The AR-15 and similar rifles are not “weapons of war”, as no military in the world uses them.  They are a semi-automatic version that is cosmetically similar to the M-16/M-4 “Automatic/Select-Fire” weapons used by many military units.

HB451 – Increases the age of purchase, possession and ownership of any firearm from 18 to 21, excepting military service or under the supervision of someone over 21.

SB6 – Outlaws firearm magazines with capacities in excess of 17 rounds.  It requires those currently possessed to be turned in to law enforcement within a matter of weeks.  Amendments that modified this law to penalize persons who commit felonies with high capacity magazines (over 20 for pistols and 30 for rifles) is scheduled to be stripped from the bill.

HB423 – Would shift the responsibility for background checks on firearm purchases from the Federal NICS system to the Delaware State Bureau of Investigation.  This would appear to provide for approvals based on more accurate and timely data.  Delaware DOES NOT report all felony violations to the Federal NICS process – only mental health issues!  Delaware condones potential sale of firearms to convicted felons!  Many of the gun rights/activist organizations SUPPORT this bill as an improvement on the current process and it is co-sponsored by several Republican legislators.  It would also negate the value and avoid the issues associated with SB3, which requires a “License to Purchase” a firearm.  SB3 is redundant and adds bureaucracy and expense to the purchase process, as these checks would be performed at the point of sale – again.

“Unconstitutional, Anti-Gun Bills on the Legislative Hall Agenda,” June 6, 2022.

Given that description of HB450, I just might have to go back and update my testimony against that bill from 2013. I especially love some of my rewrites of the Second Amendment they seem to be proposing.

But these are troubled times for those who believe in the Second Amendment. Even with the defection of Bruce Ennis, there’s a 13-8 majority in the Senate that will pass these and probably 24 (if not more) votes in the House. Methinks if we can hold this off (even in court) until November, though, we may be able to turn these things away.

Another reminder: elections matter

In the wake of Uvalde the politicians generally divided on two sides, with one side being more “bipartisan” than the other. And while there were a few courageous folks who reminded the people that the gun, no matter how “scary” it looks, is an inanimate object that could sit loaded forever and do no damage unless and until someone picked it up, most politicians licked their finger and stuck it up in the wind. Since the media was blowing around the theory that the shooting was all the fault of the “assault rifle” that the shooter was carrying, that’s how the politicos came down.

While it was a disappointment – but no surprise – that a fair number of RINOs came out on the latter side of finger-stickers, as it stands right now we have a Democrat in charge of this state. And, of course, he led off his usually boring and non-controversial “week in review” e-mail with his statement on what we should do post-Uvalde:

So many across the country are feeling helpless and hopeless this week. A massacre of an elementary school classroom has come on the heels of a racist mass shooting in a grocery store. But elected officials — here in Delaware and across the country — are not helpless. The reality is we can do something about these horrific tragedies. In every state in the nation, and in Congress, we have the ability to pass legislation to make it harder and harder for people to get their hands on weapons that cause these mass murders.

We have made progress here in Delaware, but it isn’t enough. I’m committed to working with the General Assembly to continue doing our part to prevent these shameful, appalling, unnecessary tragedies. In the meantime, my heart is with the victims and their families.

“Reflections On This Week,” Governor John Carney, May 27, 2022.

Since I’m not afraid to proclaim my help and hope comes from Jesus Christ, I suppose I don’t fall within that “so many” category. Maybe we just need more to join those ranks.

And yes, our elected officials aren’t helpless. But we don’t need legislation to make it harder to get guns – we need legislation to make sure more of them are around when and where they’re needed, such as in West Virginia the other day.

What has to be obvious to all but the most fanatical gun grabber is that the Uvalde shooter was a mentally sick individual. As with most of these incidents, the bread crumb trail was easy to follow after the fact – unfortunately, no one put the pieces together beforehand and got the kid the help he could have used.

This message is about the other 99.999% of gun owners who are responsible enough to know what their weapons are capable of and treat them with due respect. There’s only a small percentage of them who would even desire to carry them around, but what if even 5% of those gun owners used a right to carry concealed? That’s one portion of the solution we can use, but I guaran-damn-tee that’s not what Governor Carnage has in mind when he says he wants to make it “harder and harder to get their hands on weapons.”

However, I titled this post “elections matter” because there’s a simple fact at play here: despite the fact there’s a few short weeks left in our regular General Assembly session, that’s more than enough time to whip out more gun-grabbing legislation. (Generally, the worst of legislation is the knee-jerk type that comes together the quickest. I’m sure all those gun control lobbyists already have their wish list bill ready to go, just waiting for a crisis such as this. Can’t waste it!) But you definitely can’t discount the thought of a Special Session later this summer to deal with gun legislation, especially since the Democrats nationally have nothing else to run on and it’s an election year in Delaware too.

Alas, we can’t get rid of John Carney until 2024 and he’s term-limited anyway. (One 2023 story will be the battle to succeed him, which will start in the latter half of the year.) Because of the census and redistricting, though, every seat in the General Assembly is up for election this November. Also on the ballot is the important law enforcement post of Attorney General, where incumbent Democrat Kathy Jennings is not term-limited out but has a Republican contender in Julianne Murray.

Let’s look at the General Assembly, though. While the filing deadline isn’t until July 12, most of the Senate incumbents who are running for re-election have already filed: the exceptions are the embattled Darius Brown in District 2, John Walsh in District 9, and Dave Wilson in the 18th District. The House, however, is a bit more muddled as the majority of incumbents are still waiting to file, including most of the group from Sussex County. We know that Rep. Steve Smyk is leaving District 20 to try for the Senate District 6 seat that’s opening up with the retirement of Senator Ernie Lopez and a Republican, Bradley Layfield, has come on board for the newly-relocated House District 4 in the Long Neck area.

Being that we are still a month and a half away from the filing deadline, it’s the way-too-early guesstimate of the chances that Delaware Democrats withstand the battering their party label is getting from the sheer incompetence (or intentional destruction) of the Biden administration, but at the moment here’s how things look.

In the Senate, there is a Democrat only filed in 7 seats, a Republican only filed in 6 seats (one would be a flip, at least until John Walsh or another Democrat files) and 8 seats up in the air as both a Democrat and Republican have filed. At this second, it is possible that the Republicans could get the majority but more likely they could cut into their 14-7 deficit. A four seat pickup isn’t that much of a stretch, though, considering just a few years ago there was a special election where control of the Senate was in the balance.

In the House, the disparity of filings has the Democrats enjoying a 15-5 bulge but all that changes once Republicans begin to file. (At the moment, one is replaced by a Libertarian, which would be a historic day for that party.) The GOP would have to hope the GOP wave currently sweeping the nation isn’t dashed by the breakwall of redistricting that favored the Democrats as much as possible – remember, just population changes likely flip a seat as the former Democrat Rep. Gerald Brady’s District 4 seat was the one moved to Sussex. The GOP needs six addtional seats to gain control, but with all 41 House seats up as usual this is their best chance in a decade and the political winds are the most favorable for them since the Obama wave ended Republican control back in 2008.

Returning to the Senate for a moment, bear in mind the GOP picked up at least one seat each election during the TEA Party era, even despite Christine O’Donnell. (In 2008 things looked really bleak as it was 16-5 Democrat then, even with there still being a handful of centrist-to-conservative Democrats in the Senate back then.) So a four seat gain is a stretch, but because all 21 are up it’s possible.

Assuming they get control, at that point all the Republicans need is a spine. Granted, that may be more difficult for them to come by than legislative control but it would be nice to have the other side have to come over to be bipartisan for a change and maybe they can get common-sense legislation like elimination of gun-free zones on most public property and funding the construction and staffing of places for those kids who show signs of becoming the next Uvalde shooter to go for the help they need. (And that includes faith-based initiatives.)

Indeed, elections matter. Let’s do better in November, Delaware.

Odds and ends number 111

Here you are…more of those nuggets of bloggy goodness that take up anywhere from a couple sentences to a few paragraphs. They’re things that weren’t enough to merit a full post but plenty worth writing about anyway. It’s one of my longest ongoing series for a reason. So read on…

The election in question

If it was worth my writing about, it’s worth giving the results. On Saturday the city of Seaford agreed with me that the incumbents were worth retaining in an overwhelming fashion: Mayor David Genshaw won by a margin of 412 votes to 189 for challenger Pat A. Jones and City Council member Matt MacCoy won with an even 400 votes against challenger Stacie Spicer’s 199. In terms of percentages, Genshaw had 68.55% and MacCoy had 66.78%, which to me seem like a hearty mandate to keep on the trajectory they’ve established. Congratulations to both and hopefully this is the start of a year of victories for common sense in Delaware.

A little runaway

Another cause I’ve championed recently is the idea of an Article V convention, more popularly known as a convention of states. But I briefly had a pause when I read this paragraph in a story about federal involvement in Alabama’s state affairs:

That is, unless We the People join with the states to call a Convention of States. A Convention of States is called under Article V of the Constitution and has the power to propose constitutional amendments that limit the power, scope, and jurisdiction of the federal government. 

What does this mean in plain English? Basically, amendments can be written that get the feds out of virtually every area of state policy. Healthcare, education, energy, the environment, and agriculture would be among the host of issues that could be left to exclusively state control.

“Article V Patriot,” “White House says they’re going to start targeting state lawmakers working to protect children from transgender surgeries, radical sexual ideology,” Convention of States Action, April 8, 2022. Emphasis in original.

Perhaps the biggest fear that opponents of an Article V convention have is the idea of a “runaway convention” where the people who ostensibly meet to write amendments that “limit the power, scope, and jurisdiction of the federal government” instead decide to do away with the Bill of Rights. While amendments can be written to get the federal government off the backs of the states, it follows that their role could be abolished, too.

I suppose the fact that 38 states have to ratify any amendment gives us a little bit of protection in that regard, as there would probably be 13 states that hold on to restraints on federal power. Unfortunately, there are probably as many that would oppose any conservative amendments out of spite and that’s the other area where work is needed.

I just didn’t think that particular analogy is a good “sell” for the CoS.

Thirty-eight with an asterisk*

Speaking of Constitutional amendments I got an e-mail from my old liberal pal Rick Weiland, who has branched out from his lack of success in South Dakota to a similar lack of grifting aptitude on a nationwide basis. A few weeks back he claimed it was time to enact the Equal Rights Amendment because it had passed in 38 states.

In 2020, Virginia became the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and also the last state needed to meet all constitutional requirements to allow it to finally become the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The ERA will add protections to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens, regardless of gender, nationwide.

We’re 4 months into 2022 and the ERA has not been published by the Archivist. The Archivist has an administrative duty to publish the amendment and thus officially add it to the Constitution, but refuses to overrule a Trump administration roadblock to do it.

Rick Weiland, “It’s time for the Equal Rights Amendment,” April 7, 2022. Emphasis in original.

That “Trump administration roadblock” is the logical result of five states since rescinding their ratification, either by outright legislation or by its not being ratified prior to a Congressionally-imposed deadline in 1982. Meanwhile, ERA advocates claim they have the numbers but need Congress to render inoperative both the deadline and the recissions, pointing to the length of time it took to pass the 27th Amendment – first proposed as part of the Bill of Rights in 1791, it wasn’t ratified until 1992. (However, Congress put no time limit on that one.) Their roadblock is the Republicans in the Senate, who have threatened to filibuster the Senate resolution (the House passed its version with a narrow majority.)

As I’ve stated from almost the beginning of this website, instead of an ERA this would be a better amendment:

Congress shall make no law that codifies discrimination for or against any person based on their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. This Amendment shall also be construed to include a prohibition on Congress enacting additional criminal code or punishment solely based on these factors.

Pretty cut and dried, isn’t it? No mealy-mouthed “The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.” It’s “Congress shall make no law.” Let’s get that equal rights amendment done.

Creating more informed voters

Four years ago I was a Maryland panelist for iVoter Guide, which was a fun experience and pretty natural for me because I liked doing the research.

Well, they’ve been on the hunt for more volunteers and I reckon that their time to deal with Delaware and Maryland is coming, now that we’ve finally reached the oft-delayed filing deadline in Maryland. (Delaware’s filing deadline isn’t until July but they only have one federal race, for Congress. So they’re probably not in need of much help.)

Now, it’s possible you might be needed in another state, but it’s still an interesting process that anyone from concerned citizens to political junkies can find a part in. So why not do your part? (I think I will, hopefully in Delaware but I may be interested in other states like Ohio and Michigan, since that’s the area in and around the 419 I grew up in.) It’s much easier than creating a website from scratch.

A holiday from a boondoggle

As I wrote this over the weekend, Maryland drivers were swarming gas pumps in the state to beat the end of a gas tax holiday that expired at the stroke of midnight on Easter Sunday. But David T. Stevenson of the Caesar Rodney Institute proposes an even better holiday: the state of Delaware enacting a “tax-free carbon holiday.”

As Stevenson explains, the state of Delaware – like several other liberal-run hellholes in the Northeast – joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in 2009. Some state have rescinded their memberships since, but the remainder soak their local utilities by demanding a fee for each ton of carbon produced, with the state deciding what to do with the proceeds.

In Delaware’s case, 65% of the RGGI proceeds go to a non-profit that’s supposed to divvy out grants for energy efficiency projects, but instead has been hoarding cash to the tune of an estimated $16 to $17 million last year, bring its total up to nearly $100 million, according to Stevenson. The other 35% is designated for the state’s Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC), which administers programs assisting low-income consumers with the energy bills and weatherizing their dwellings. (In other words, wealth transfer.) Stevenson claims DNREC is sitting on its own cash surplus of $20 to $25 million.

We just saw the passage of a bill that uses a portion of the federally-fueled state surplus to give a $300 check to any Delaware resident who paid taxes in 2020. (That still doesn’t make up for what Uncle Sam raped us for, but regardless…) Perhaps the state can allow for an appropriate credit to any electric ratepayer in the state to soak up this surplus, which is basically money they paid as part of their utility bills anyway. Stevenson concludes that, “We note that New Hampshire returns RGGI revenue to electric customers, and Connecticut sends all RGGI revenue to its General Fund.” I like that first idea, and it can be the prelude to winding down our participation in this long-standing mistake.

The perpetual emergency

While AND Magazine has put up a lot of great content since I last produced odds and ends – including a look at upcoming election fraud, the issue with transgender men demanding to be placed in women’s prisons, and the situation on the ground in Afghanistan now that the Taliban is in full control – I’m choosing just one to discuss, the perpetual emergency.

The CCP virus caused a lot of disruption in our lives, but none greater than the loss of our liberty. As author Sam Faddis notes in his opening:

At the heart of the debate over COVID-19 restrictions is the distinction between rights and privileges. For most of human history some supreme authority, – a king, a sultan, a class of aristocrats – has presumed to grant to the common people certain privileges. By definition, as privileges, they can be granted, and they can be taken away.

The American concept of liberty is built on something fundamentally different. We do not enjoy privileges. We have rights. They are enshrined in the Constitution, but they are given to us by our Creator. We do not have the right to free speech, because some ‘body of humans’ granted it to us. We were born with it, and it cannot be taken away.

For two years now powerful interests in this country have attempted to change this. They have used all the power at their discretion to convert our rights into privileges that can be taken away whenever the powers that be decide some “emergency” requires it.

The real danger therein is obvious. Once you have enshrined the principle that an “emergency” justifies the revocation of God-given rights, it requires only the declaration of an “emergency” to do it again. And again.

Sam Faddis, “There Will Always Be An Emergency – The Assault On Our Liberties Has Just Begun,” AND Magazine, March 20, 2022.

In this case, Faddis continues on to talk about how rising fuel prices are the new “emergency.” Instead of the state cutting us a check, though, he details some of the ideas the International Energy Agency – a NGO with no ties to our government – would have enforced on our nation: reduced speed limits, mandatory work from home three days a week, car-free Sundays, cutting prices on mass transit, alternate-day car access to big cities…and the list goes on.

You’ll notice two things about this: one, our government is already thinking about ways to mandate this somehow, and two, they’re not discussing the most obvious solution, which would be to increase the supply of fuel to meet demand. In an effort to save face, the Biden regime restarted oil leases on federal lands, but at a greatly reduced and limited clip compared to the previous administration, where $2 a gallon gas was not uncommon.

But liberty lost is not easily regained, even if you elect the right people. Speaking of that:

An opponent to Liz Cheney

Rep. Liz Cheney may be the most hated politician in Wyoming (and perhaps much of the rest of the nation.) Polling is as sparse as people in America’s least-populated state, but a story from last summer in The Federalist suggested she has very little support in the state anymore.

Yet there may be a problem here, and I’m sure there are a few in the Cheney camp (which is essentially the national GOP establishment) who aren’t helping to create it by encouraging additional stalking horses to water down and spread out opposition in the Republican primary August 16. It’s possible Liz Cheney could win a huge primary with just 30% of the vote, so where would those 70% of Republicans and conservative independents turn?

Well, it turns out that the Constitution Party has a ballot spot in Wyoming and they have already selected their candidate, an erstwhile Republican by the name of Marissa Selvig. “I am beyond excited that it is official, and I am even more excited for the voters of Wyoming to have a real, constitutional choice in this race,” Selvig said in a party release. “It is long past time our elected officials honor their Oath to ‘uphold and defend’ the Constitution with integrity and honesty. That is exactly what I intend to do when I am elected in November.”

Now I’m not going to claim I know what’s best for Wyoming, but on a broad scale her platform is both well-written and common-sense. If it comes down to a four-way race between a Democrat, Libertarian, Cheney, and Selvig (those four parties were on the 2020 ballot) it will be interesting to see how Marissa does. Even if Cheney loses the primary, though, it’s possible the sheen has come off the GOP in The Equality State.

And yes, just to answer any naysayers about my Seaford endorsements, Marissa is a woman I would vote for.

A better offer

We all know that Elon Musk has offered to purchase Twitter and take it private, but given the “poison pill” resistance put up by Twitter’s current major stockholders perhaps there’s another way to introduce Musk to the world of social media – and it would cost Musk far less.

Andrew Torba, CEO of Gab, wrote this as part of an open offer to Musk:

We built our own servers, our own email services, our own payment processor, and so much more not because we wanted to, but because we had no choice if we were going to continue to exist.

What we are missing at the moment is an ISP. I fear that the next big leap of censorship is at the ISP level, with ISP’s blocking access to Gab.com. You solve that problem with Starlink. Together we can build infrastructure for a free speech internet.

I am willing to offer you a Board seat along with equity in the company in exchange for you selling your Twitter position and investing $2B into Gab. My offer is my best and final offer.

Andrew Torba, “Gab.com’s Offer To Elon Musk,” April 14, 2022.

For that matter, I could have the same issue with my ISP. Even though I’ve had the same server company for the sixteen-plus years I’ve had monoblogue, they are on at least the third owner I’m aware of and who knows how tolerant they will remain. Obviously I don’t have the coin for my own infrastructure, and I suppose that since this a hobby/obsession for me that’s the way it will stay.

But a few grand would be nice for my own server…heck, I’ll even do Starlink even though the state is finally contracting to bring me more reliable broadband.

The Delaware Way, explained once again

I could almost put this in the category of “duh” but since Rep. Bryan Shupe is one of those who tries not to let partisanship cloud his worldview, I’ll refrain.

But he brings up something that does belong in the category of elections matter: if you are a Republican in the Delaware General Assembly, your bill has a less than 50-50 chance of even getting a hearing in committee.

In the House Administration Committee during the 150th General Assembly, 67% of the bill submitted to this committed were heard. Of the bills submitted by the majority party, 86% of them were heard by the committee. Of the bills submitted by the minority party, only 38% of them were heard by the committee. In other words, 62% of bills submitted by the minority party were never heard in committee.

During the 151st Committee, which will end on June (30th), 2022, 66% of the bill submitted to the committee so far has been heard. Of the bills submitted by the majority party, so far 78% of them have been heard by the committee. Of the bills submitted by the minority party, so far only 42% of them have been heard by the committee. In other words, 58% of bills submitted by the minority party have not been heard in committee so far.

There seems to be a correlation between what party submits the bill and if the bill will be heard in this committee. 

Rep. Bryan Shupe, “Politics overriding House rules,” March 31, 2022.

There would be a bit of research involved, but it’s worth noting that the online records of the Delaware General Assembly date back to the 140th session (1998-2000.) The accusation here is damning enough, but the compare and contrast would be even better – back then the parties were more congenial with one another, with part of the reason being that the House was Republican-controlled through 2008 while the State Senate has been controlled by Democrats for at least 30 years, per Ballotpedia. It would be eye-opening to see how prior performance, particular in the era of GOP control of the House, compares to that of today.

Programming note

It’s that time of year again: the Shorebird of the Month will return for another year.

I’ve traditionally done it the first Thursday of the month, but on months where Thursday falls on the 1st or 2nd I wait until the next one. So gazing at my calendar, and bearing in mind how the best-laid plans go, these are the projected SotM dates: May 5, June 9, July 7, August 4, and September 15. The September date is so late because we have ten games currently scheduled in September – if they don’t play at least ten I will combine August and September numbers and only pick one set for the month-plus, but I won’t know that until the regular season ends September 11. Shorebird of the Year will follow a week later and picks and pans the week after that.

Aside from that, I’ll start collecting items that interest me now for the next edition of odds and ends.

An unchanged balance

There wasn’t a whole lot of hype about this because the winner will be the lamest of ducks, but there was a special election upstate in New Castle County last Saturday. The election became necessary when embattled Rep. Gerald Brady resigned in February, and despite the fact the district would be disappearing in the newest round of redistricting someone has to fill out the term and that someone is Democrat Charles “Bud” Freel. In this case, it was the perfect spot for Democrats to talk Freel out of retirement after serving 24 years as a Wilmington City Council member, stepping down in 2021. Given that resume, I don’t think this election is a referendum on the party in charge.

Thanks to that name ID, Freel easily defeated Republican Ted Kittila by a count of 2,210 – 1,015. Moreover, Freel’s 68.4% of the vote compared favorably to Brady’s 70.02% of the tally in retaining the District 4 seat back in November 2020 over Republican Jordan Nally – so it’s a sure bet that state Democrats are sad to see that district’s demise.

It’s probably unfair to compare a special election on a Saturday that drew barely 3,000 voters to a Presidential balloting where over 13,000 district residents made their preference known, but it is worth pointing out that this special election served as a return to normalcy in one respect but dawned a new era in another.

Out of a total of 3,230 votes cast – including five write-in votes – only 439 (or 13.6%) were absentee votes this time, compared to the 41.8% absentee for the district in 2020. So that aspect dropped by 2/3, a sure signal that the pandemic is over. The new wrinkle, though, was early voting, and although this may end up being an apples-to-oranges comparison, the fact that only 215 cast their ballots that way probably means having early (and often) voting won’t be the turnout boost proponents seem to think it will be. This only added about 6% to the total.

However, one thing which was proven once again was that Democrats are lazy. Well, maybe it’s better to say that they like the so-called convenience of voting from home or on non-election days since the Freel margin on those two columns was 559 to 93, or 85.5% of the vote. Margins like that mean Democrats aren’t getting rid of either method unless a court or a sane GOP legislature forces them to.

Basically all I have left from this race is to speculate whether Freel will retire with any points on the monoblogue Accountability Project after his cup of coffee this spring. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Is Delaware going to pot?

Recently I received a missive from the Delaware House Republican Caucus that went like this. Normally I try to keep blockquotes to a minimum but my editor’s eye saw all of this was vital information.

A bill to legalize recreational marijuana in Delaware has been quietly released from a House committee and is now eligible to be placed on the House Agenda for a vote.

On Thursday, the House Appropriations Committee released House Bill 305 (the Delaware Marijuana Control Act) by “walking the bill” — a process where a majority of the committee members sign a document to release a bill for further consideration. This method does not require a committee hearing or public notice.

House Bill 305 had earlier received a hearing in the House Health and Human Development Committee.

The action taken by the four Democrats on the six-member House Appropriations Committee – State Reps. Bill Carson, David Bentz, Stephanie Bolden and Kimberly Williams – potentially positions the legislation for immediate action in the House Chamber when lawmakers return to work next month. 

House Bill 305 contains several highly controversial elements, including one designating a significant number of licenses established under the legislation as “social equity licenses.” These licenses include those that would be needed to operate a marijuana retail store, testing facility, cultivation facility or product manufacturing facility.

Qualifications to obtain a social equity license include being “convicted of, or adjudicated delinquent, for any marijuana-related offense except for delivery to a minor.”

Social equity license applicants could also qualify if they resided for at least five of the preceding ten years in a “disproportionately impacted area.” The legislation defines a disproportionately impacted area as census tracts “having high rates of arrest, conviction, and incarceration relating to the sale, possession, use, cultivation, manufacture, or transport of marijuana.”

Additionally, the bill seeks to create a Justice Reinvestment Fund that would be financed with a portion of the state’s marijuana tax revenue. According to the authors of the bill, the fund would “be used for projects to improve quality-of-life for communities most impacted by the prohibition of marijuana and ‘War on Drugs’ era policies.” 

Because the bill seeks to establish new fees, it will require a 60% super-majority vote (3/5ths) to clear each General Assembly chamber (25 votes in the 41-member House, and 13 votes in the 21-member Senate).

The General Assembly is currently in recess for budget hearings. Lawmakers return to work on Tuesday, March 8.

E-mail from Delaware House Republican caucus, February 18, 2022.

Indeed, HB305 was released from the Appropriations Committee “on its merits” by the four aforementioned members. No members voted for it or against it. Back in January it advanced out of the Health and Human Development Committee with six in favor and three “on its merits” with the other six members not registering a vote. Since nine of the 15 members of the HHDC are Democrats, it’s likely they were the votes that passed it out of their committee. In fact, the composition of the Delaware General Assembly ensures this could pass without a GOP vote, as the House is 26-15 Democrat and the Senate 14-7. (Ironically, the Senate Democrats defeated their two best candidates for bipartisanship at the last election as they gained two seats over very moderate Republicans.)

According to this helpful article at the Delaware Live website, though, there was an important reason the bill was revamped.

In order to decrease the number of votes required for the bill to pass, Rep. Ed Osienski, D-Brookside, removed a proposal for a social equity loan fund.

The social equity loan fund would have directly paid for loans and grants for prospective marijuana growers and sellers who have, in the past, been negatively affected by the disproportionate prosecution of cannabis-related crimes. 

That component of the bill was designed to redress what many in the legislature — and their constituents — view as historical wrongs in the area of criminal justice.

But because it would have directed public funds to businesses, the Delaware Constitution would have required it to receive 75 percent of the legislature’s approval. 

Charlie Megginson, “Recreational marijuana bill heads to House floor,” Delaware Live, February 18, 2022.

I also found it interesting that the House leadership shuttled this bill, which serves as a successor to the heavily amended HB150 from last year’s portion of the session, from the HHDC to Appropriations instead of taking it to the floor.

(After starting this post, I found out from the above article that the reason was the amount dictated a Fiscal Note, and those bills automatically go to Appropriations. Moreover, the funding for HB150 was already in the budget. It’s different than the Maryland procedure I’m used to, where sending a bill to two committees is often done to pass an otherwise controversial bill.)

The new bill integrated most of the HB150 amendments, including provisions for Big Labor, along with the Justice Reinvestment (read: slush) Fund. Perhaps they were hoping that Appropriations would amend the bill to get a little bit of Republican support because, in principle, there’s nothing wrong with a state decriminalizing and taxing marijuana in the same manner as tobacco as it has become a de facto legal substance despite prohibition by the federal government.

I do object to the prohibition on people growing their own supply, at least on a limited basis for personal use. To me, it would be akin to not allowing people to create their own beer or wine and I’m sure some do. Heck, if people could grow tobacco in Delaware maybe they would to avoid the onerous cigarette taxes – and taxation is the largest part of what this is really about. (However, it seems that growing tobacco isn’t the hard part, curing and aging tobacco is. It’s probably more cost-effective for smokers to swallow the buck or two.)

But there’s also the “social equity” aspect that bothers me. Why are we watering down standards for one group that’s supposedly been oppressed for its existence? When I see a success story like Dr. Ben Carson, who raised himself up (with the assistance of his mother and his faith) from grinding poverty, as opposed to the trainwreck – despite his silver spoon upbringing – that is Hunter Biden, I realize that people put a lot of limits on themselves, creating the perception that we need “equity” which encourages big daddy government to step right up.

Basically, because the Democrats have complete control of the state, they can use bills as playthings to address their usually imagined grievances. So they’re layering on a lot of garbage to mess up a bill that would, on its surface, work in the right direction aside from the prohibition to “grow your own” as the government hates competition.

Once again, it’s not about what the people want, it’s about how the hand of government can pick winners or losers. Since we’ve become a nation that selectively enforces law anyway, we may as well leave the current system in place until we get a stripped-down proposal that does what needs to be done and doesn’t play favorites.

An unconventional call

I pointed this out back in October when the event occurred, but one of the groups represented at the Unify Delaware Festival was the Convention of States organization. As I said back then, “This group is seeking a Convention of States to address term limits, a balanced budget, and government overreach. Problem is getting 34 states in our (supposedly) federalist republic to agree that’s a bug and not a feature.”

The CoS has been an idea that’s been around since our founding – obviously, since it’s covered in Article V of our Constitution – but it’s become an advocacy group now led by one of the original founders of the TEA Party movement, Mark Meckler. His rendition, explained here in a lengthy “pocket guide,” calls for a convention to discuss three key issues: imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government, limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limiting the terms for office for its officials and members of Congress. More or less, these concepts were some of those things original members of the TEA Party fought for before the movement became a grift – in fact, Meckler resigned from the TEA Party Patriots (which he co-founded) in 2012. In Chapter 9 of Rise and Fall I wrote:

After a three-year run at the top of the Tea Party Patriots, co-founder Mark Meckler resigned in February, 2012, citing “discomfort with the way the financial affairs of TPP have been handled… I believe that TPP is fiscally irresponsible in the way that it spends and manages donor monies.” Meckler also complained that, as treasurer, “I have been excluded from the distribution of critical financial information, and critical discussions about the finances of the organization.”

from The Rise and Fall of the TEA Party.

This particular call has now been adopted by fifteen states of the required 34, but progress has been slowed to a crawl as no state has passed this resolution since 2019. However, there is CoS legislation ongoing in 17 states, which would bring it up to 32 out of 34 if they should somehow pass it. Currently, Nebraska is debating becoming the 16th state and, as CoS points out, there is an interesting group of big-government suspects lined up to oppose the bill. On the other hand, it has a pleasingly varied list of endorsers from all over the conservative spectrum, and over the next week or so they will concentrate a push in Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky.

They are trying to kickstart the movement in other ways as well, debuting a commercial on Newsmax TV Saturday in conjunction with President Trump’s Arizona rally that night. Unfortunately, CoS completely missed an opportunity for further distribution by not placing a video of it on their website. That is a grievous unforced error in my estimation, since I don’t spend my day watching Newsmax whether Trump is on there or not. You have a blog – use it!

In essence, the Convention of States operates on the principle that Congress has no interest in limiting its own power, and that would be the correct interpretation – how many times did a Congressional hopeful come to a TEA Party group promising to change the system yet, three terms later, become just another captive of the Swamp? But it’s not an easy road: if you assume that every state that voted for Donald Trump at least once is a candidate for adoption, that’s only 30 states. You would need four “liberal” states to join in as well, and really the only one that is much of a possibility is New Hampshire, which somehow never voted for Trump but is otherwise a GOP trifecta. A flip of two seats in Virginia’s Senate next year may allow the Commonwealth to be state number 32 in this projection, but it’s going to take a sea change in other states to get them over the hump – and that assumes no states rescind their various calls for convention, which occurred in Delaware a few years ago. (They had a balanced budget amendment call, which was one of the CoS goals. And yes, that was a vote that made my first Delaware edition of the monoblogue Accountability Project as HCR60, so we know who is still on the proper side.)

Unfortunately, too many people still work under two misguided beliefs: one being that the government is actually looking out for them – as opposed to using your labor and your vote to further their own personal fiefdoms – and the other that the federal government will reform itself. Well, if the last century or so isn’t proof enough that the feds like amassing more control over the people and won’t stop even if you say pretty please, I’m not sure I can convince you otherwise. There are a lot of good people in government who are there for the right reasons, but it doesn’t take too many bad apples to spoil the whole bunch.

But in my estimation this may be the proper way to go, since the TEA Party tried using the political route and really didn’t make much everlasting change. Now it may not matter, convention or not, because there is a group in power that’s been ignoring the Constitution anyway, but we can try this method first before other means become necessary. Just ask Thomas Jefferson.

Odds and ends number 108

It’s an end-of-year special on my e-mail box as I go out with the old and in with the new. You know the drill: I give you a paragraph or three on subjects that pique my interest enough to write on but not enough for a full post.

The two-tier Delaware system

I’m going to start out this one with part of an e-mail blast I received several weeks back from District 36 representative Bryan Shupe, the opening paragraphs of which read:

The debate over whether indicted State Auditor Kathleen McGuiness should resign or take a leave of absence from her post highlights a larger systematic failure on the issue of government accountability and transparency in Delaware.

Over the last 18 months, we have seen five Delaware elected officials accused of misconduct. While every citizen should find this disturbing, almost as troubling is that each case has been treated differently. As it stands, legislators pick and choose which colleagues will be held accountable and which ones will be subject to a lesser standard.

I do not believe justice is something that should be decided on an arbitrary sliding scale, based on the personal whims of legislators or the political affiliation of the accused. There should be clear protocols for handling all cases of official misconduct involving elected officials in an equitable fashion.

“Reform is needed to rebuild public trust,” State Rep. Bryan Shupe, October 28, 2021.

Indeed, the double- and even triple-standard is troubling, but all of the circumstances are different, too. In the case of McGuiness, the accusations are damning but she hasn’t had her day in court yet, either. (And to be honest, these charges aren’t really on a Cuomo level. Ask yourself just how many Democrats somehow finagle taxpayer-paid sinecures for their family and friends.) And the rumor has been floating around out there that this batch of dirt was dug up on her because her auditing is getting too close for comfort for those who have taken full advantage of the Delaware Way, if ya know what I mean – wink wink, nudge nudge.

You may also recall Shupe was the sponsor of a voting bill that got left on the cutting room floor after Republicans came to their senses and bounced the Democrats’ mail-in balloting bill last spring. Shupe’s common sense bill was intended to eliminate a practice where, in some municipalities (including Laurel) the voter registration for town elections is separate from those of state and federal elections – so people who think they are registered get shut out of the process. I had never heard of such a thing so this proposal made sense and deserved support, not a three-year-old’s tantrum.

Bad information

About the same time I got Shupe’s assessment of a two-tiered justice system, I got wind of a two-tiered media system.

A piece by Michael Watson of the Capital Research Center discussed the Good Information project, an attempt by far-left entities to open new media markets with websites that claim to be “non-partisan” but will provide a steady diet of pro-Democrat news. (Just like every other “mainstream” media outlet.) Here’s the money paragraph:

As part of the creation of Good Information, the group is acquiring McGowan’s former liberal agitprop network, Courier Newsroom. Courier Newsroom was a front for ACRONYM, operating what the left-leaning OpenSecrets called “a network of websites emulating progressive local news outlets. Courier has faced scrutiny for exploiting the collapse of local journalism to spread ‘hyperlocal partisan propaganda.’”

Michael Watson, “Onetime Disinformation Donors Back Left-Wing Propaganda Targeting Disinformation,” Capital Research Center, October 28, 2021.

I took a look at Courier Newsroom and it’s actually a professional-looking site that links to eight subsites – all in swing states: Arizona, Iowa, North Carolina, Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Their tagline is that they’re “Building a more informed, engaged, and representative America” but in order to do that they need to pull themselves off the left gutter and move over about 20 boards. (A little bowling lingo there. Sometimes straighter IS greater.)

Meanwhile, shouldn’t this be something someone on the right side of the spectrum would be doing? People actually believe these propaganda sites.

Another great piece by Watson appeared in The Daily Signal in November and should be required reading for my friends at Patriots for Delaware because it talks about how the unions elect school board members.

Hitting me where I live

This one comes ohsoclose to being promoted to its own post, but I think I can condense like Readers Digest. Here’s the key pull quote from a story I saw back in October.

On Sept. 16, 2021, Delaware lawmakers unveiled a plan to address a much-needed infrastructure improvement project – implementing high-speed broadband across the entire state. This $110 million investment was made possible with funding from the American Rescue Plan Act and if completed will make Delaware the first in the nation to make wired broadband available to every home and business in the state.

(snip)

With the proper guidelines in place, getting to 100 percent connectivity is a reasonable goal. The strategic plan estimates that the number of Delawareans without access to high-speed broadband could be brought down by approximately 87 percent if providers were to extend their existing networks just half a mile from their current cutoff points. This approach is called “edge-out.” This approach lends itself to utilizing multiple means of connecting through cable, fiber, fixed wireless, mobile, wireline DSL, and satellite broadband. The plan also suggests using the funding to replace old and failing equipment to ensure that the investment is something that will benefit all Delaware residents for years to come.

Kathleen Rutherford, “The Last Mile: Can Delaware Deliver?”, A Better Delaware, October 29, 2021.

We are a family who is in a broadband desert. Currently I oscillate between a cellular tower-based service provider and phone hotspot depending on time of day and conditions – in the evening the hotspot tends to be faster. We live too far from a Bloosurf tower for it to be viable and, to be honest, our friends who live near their tower say their service is about worthless anyway.

Prior to this move, we had wired service through a cable provider, paying for it as part of a bundle. But there is a wrinkle out here in that we have Delaware Electric Co-Op as our electricity provider and I found out that Choptank Electric Co-Op, which has a similar customer makeup two miles from me across the border in Maryland, offers “broadband over fiber optic connections directly to the home.” So I asked my state representative, Tim Dukes, about this and so far I have no answer.

As far as I’m concerned, for a home internet setup “fixed wireless, mobile, wireline DSL, and satellite broadband” is trash. If you want to spend the $110 million wisely, let DEC (which primarily serves a rural area) wire our homes like Choptank is doing.

The merger

Longtime readers of mine probably know more about iVoterGuide than the average person. The group, which rates federal and state candidates for office from a Biblical perspective, recently announced it was merging itself with American Family Association Action. Debbie Wuthnow, President of iVoterGuide, explained that, “The need for voters to know accurate information about candidates on their ballots has never been greater, and the merger will allow iVoterGuide to immediately expand our coverage to include federal, statewide, and state legislative races in 35 states for the 2022 Primary Elections.  And we’ll continue to grow our coverage of judicial and school board races in key districts.”

As I found out a few years ago in helping them out – a “neat experience” – iVoterGuide is very thorough in their assessment of candidates and they do a reasonably good job of pegging where they stand on the political spectrum. So I wish them the best of luck with their merger, and if they need someone to help assess their Delaware candidates I’m happy to be of assistance.

More advice

I’m sure I have told you about ammo.com since their content pops up on this site from time to time, usually as an odd or an end. So I guess I have an imitator, at least according to this e-mail I’ve now received twice.

Monoblogue,

I came across your blog while doing a little research on a couple of Maryland’s gun laws, and your blog popped in my newsfeed. I appreciate many of your political views. As a Trump supporter, I thought (redacted) would be a good resource for (my site). The recoil score it provides is pretty cool. Haven’t seen it before. Do you shoot? I appreciated your content. 

More fun e-mail.

Jordan, yes, I received your e-mail. Twice.

I’m glad you appreciate many of my political views, but I don’t think the resource is really something I can use. Now if we’re talking paid advertising or sponsorship from the overarching site, well, that’s a different conversation. (Since I’m probably not in line for that Soros money discussed by Michael Watson above.) And to answer your question, I do shoot off my mouth (rhetorically) all the time.

So since I have closed up the e-mail box now (it’s much more streamlined) I can tell you there is one other item in it, but that one is getting a coveted promotion to a full post because I think I can do it further justice. That may be one of my last items of the year before I figure out my annual Christmas message and compile the year in review – can you believe it’s that time?

With that, I bring this odd year of odds and ends to an end.

Redistricting in Delaware: a better idea

Last in a three-part series. Here’s parts one and two to catch you up.

Over the last few years, I’ve become aware of a group called the Institute on the Constitution. Its purpose is to “restore the constitutional republic through grassroots education,” but one wrinkle they’re adding in the near future is a course on Delaware’s Constitution that will be held around the state.

However, all I had to do was read the document to see what the intention of its writers has been regarding legislative districts, as both the initial layout and proposed expansions were spelled out – if rather archaically – in Articles 2 and 2A.

Interestingly enough, the original intent was for 35 House members representing various districts, usually Hundreds. (In the city of Wilmington, it was broken down further to Wards.) Despite the population disparity between New Castle County – then, according to the latest Census at the time in 1890, it had 57.7% of the state’s population – and the rest of the state, New Castle was assigned 15 Representatives, while the other two counties were given 10 apiece.

In Article 2A, it was further decreed that once a district reached a population of 15,000 plus a “major fraction” (which I would interpret as over half, or 7,501) it was entitled to another representative. Obviously over time, some areas have well exceeded their apportionment while others are way short. It’s probably enough to render a strict reading of this provision meaningless, particularly since the Delaware Constitution also states that, “After each official federal decennial census the new Representative Districts created pursuant to this Section (2A) shall be abolished and the Representative Districts set forth in Section 2 of this Article shall again be re-divided as set forth herein.” In theory, of course, these lines can be bent and shaped any way the majority party pleases, although to me that provides legitimate Constitutional questions as to why a district can be in two counties and how Kent and Sussex counties no longer have ten representatives apiece. (I’m betting it’s an effect of something I’m discussing later on.)

Oddly enough, the state Constitution also provided for seven Senators from each county and laid out Senate districts based on Representative districts. I’m going to come back to this in due course, but first let’s discuss an idea for the House.

In Article XVI of the Delaware Constitution, there is a provision to allow voters a say on whether there should be a constitutional convention. It would take a 2/3 vote of each chamber to put it on the ballot.

Now one would think that the majority party might jump at the chance to change the state Constitution, but it doesn’t appear they pay much attention to it anyway. Regardless, assuming such a motion were to pass, the next step would be to choose Delegates for the convention, and that’s where it would get interesting. Because there’s no precedent, the General Assembly would legally have to hew to the initial 35 representative lines for the convention’s membership (15 from New Castle, 10 apiece from Sussex and Kent) then add six other participants – two from New Castle County, two from Kent County, and two from Sussex County. All of these participants would have to be selected by the voters of the respective districts or by the counties at-large, which would give us the opportunity to place 25 or so right-thinking people on the convention committee.

The idea here would be to reset the House: not to the initial 15/10/10 arrangement, because that would be unfair to New Castle County, but to expand the House to about 75 members, which would place districts under the initial 15,000 population threshold with room to grow. In such an arrangement, New Castle would currently have 43 members, 14 for Kent, and 18 for Sussex, with each district averaging about 13,200 people. It could also be incorporated that the House would expand at each Census as necessary to keep the representative district population at 15,000, like the state Constitution initially intended.

The Senate is where things get intriguing. While we still have 21 state Senators, this provision was nullified by the incorrect judicial overreach in two separate cases dating from the 1960s, Baker v. Carr and, later, Reynolds v. Sims, which mandated all state legislative districts be of equal population, whether in the lower or upper chamber. While the subject states were incorrectly maintaining population disparities in their lower legislative chambers, the model of the U.S. Senate should have remained valid for states to follow. In his dissent on Reynolds v. Sims, Justice John Marshall Harlan correctly asserted that, “I think it demonstrable that the Fourteenth Amendment does not impose this political tenet on the States or authorize this Court to do so.” We take the Fourteenth Amendment way too far sometimes and pull our punches in others, but that’s a subject for another day. But it is sufficient to say that the SCOTUS ran roughshod over our Delaware state constitution in both House and Senate composition.

I can work with this on the House side, since the intent is for equal representation for the people. However, one aspect the Court did not appear to address was this: what if it was no longer an individual’s right to directly vote on their Senate representative?

Prior to the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, each state legislature chose its Senators. This insured states would have a voice in the federal government commensurate with that of the people, who directly elected House of Representative members that were apportioned by state population. (Thus, for most of its history Delaware has been represented at-large by just one House member.) There was nothing wrong with that model, which remains somewhat in effect since the number of Senators from each state hasn’t changed, just the method of selection. While it would be even better if the Seventeenth Amendment were somehow repealed (sigh), it’s still an important check on large states, whether they be California, Florida, or Texas, running rampant on federal government as a coalition of smaller states can keep legislature detrimental to them at bay.

To me, it would be worth the court fight certainly required to install this system in the Delaware Senate, where the legislative bodies of each county would select seven Senators apiece on staggered terms to serve in the Senate. It would make local elections vastly more important and allow for the counties to have their voice heard, because the individual concerns of Kent and Sussex are drowned out by the massive delegation New Castle brings to the table. News flash: we ain’t NCC down here.

I can guaran-damn-tee that people are going to read this final part and think I have lost my ever-lovin’ mind. But look at all the Left has foisted on us in the last 20-30 years and think about how crazy some of that would have sounded in 1970 – yet here we are, dealing with it. At some point, the pendulum has to swing, and with any luck and assistance from the Lord above I will be around to see our Constitution come back stronger than ever. It has to begin someplace.

Redistricting in Delaware: where we are going

This is the second of three parts.

As noted in my first part, Delaware Democrats had a problem in redistricting – according to population, they were going to have to move a House district (and potentially a Senate district) out of the Democrat stronghold of New Castle County to the more reddish climes of Sussex County because, of the trio of Delaware counties, Sussex grew fastest by far.

That was what they were supposed to do. Instead, they decided to cram just as many people as they legally could into Sussex’s five Senate districts, which all are larger than average to the point that Sussex has five of the state’s seven largest Senate districts by population. Their only concession was to move Senate District 18, which formerly was roughly split in half by the Sussex-Kent county line, southward to place most of its territory into Sussex County, with a small carveout in Kent County for the city of Milford. Even with this shift, it’s probable that, by the end of the decade, most of the Senate districts in Sussex will exceed the state average by 10 percent while Democrat stronghold districts in and around Wilmington will be hollowed out more. While districts in New Castle generally moved southward, they kept the same number they had before despite the smaller share of population.

As for the House: fortunately, they had a House member from New Castle County who wasn’t planning on running for re-election in 2022 (the politically incorrect Rep. Gerald Brady) so his was the district they selected to transfer to Sussex. By contrast, the Republican map only moved that district southward into a different area of New Castle County and removed District 18, where Rep. David Bentz had similarly announced (under much more acceptable circumstances) that he wouldn’t seek another term, to the fast-growing Long Neck area of Sussex. Regardless, the net result was that of terminating a district that Democrats won with an average of 70% of the vote and moving it to a district where Republicans have an advantage in voter registration.

I’m going to shift the goalposts a little bit now. Let’s use 2% as the new standard for district over- or underpopulation with the revised districts and see how the state is now arranged. I’m also going to concede House District 4 to the Republicans for the purpose of this exercise – hey, they’re now only down 25-16 in the House now!

If all Senators maintained their districts, Democrats in underpopulated Senate districts would be 8 of 14 (57%), while just 3 of 14 (21%) would be from overpopulated areas. On the other hand, 5 of 7 Republican Senators come from districts with more than 2% above-average population, with none from the converse underpopulated districts. All seven current GOP members have larger-than-average districts, although Senate District 15 is so by just six people.

Turning to the House, 10 of the remaining 25 Democrats (40%) represent underpopulated districts, again mostly in the Wilmington area. However, 9 of 25 (36%) come from the inverse overpopulated areas. As you’ll see in the next part, the shifting in New Castle County played a role in this; suffice to say the majority could have done a little better in fine-tuning things. Unlike the situation in Sussex County, several of these overstuffed districts lie in the Middletown and Newark areas, as well as one in Dover.

As for the Republicans it’s the opposite. 6 of 16 (38%) come from districts 2% or more over average. Two of them are in Sussex County districts left alone by the House District 4 shift, and two come from the southern end of New Castle County (or Kent County, as House District 11 continues to straddle the two counties.) Meanwhile, 5 of 16 (31%, including our presumed District 4 rep) hail from underpopulated districts. Three of them, however, were affected by the District 4 move.

The reduction of House District 4 is an interesting case. This is its lay of the land in the last go-round:

The former House District 4 is in red. Redistricting necessitated its relocation to Sussex County. (All images: screenshot from Davesredistricting.org.)

And this is the new map of the same area. Most of its former physical territory appears to have been absorbed into House District 12, but House Districts 1 and 3 on its former eastern flank added enough population to address two of the most serious population shortages.

Most of House District 4 appears to be absorbed into House District 12.

Here is where House District 4 ended up. As you can see by the top map (the existing condition), once you plop in House District 4 the Long Neck area of Sussex County won’t be sharing a district with Georgetown anymore. House District 37 trends to the west, taking a little bite out of House Districts 35 and 36; meanwhile, districts along the Maryland border really aren’t affected.

The state of play in Sussex County before last month.
Long Neck will have its own representative now. We lost the northeastern fringe of our district to District 37.

 Overall, then, I would have to say that the Democrats didn’t take a whole lot of advantage in the House, but their hand was somewhat forced by the obvious population shifts. In ten years, though, it’s likely the GOP strongholds will again be the ones that run well above average.

In the final part, I have some ideas on how to make our legislature more responsive to all interested parties.

Redistricting in Delaware: the current state of play

This is the first of a three-part series on our state’s recent legislative redistricting.

In 2010, the state of Delaware was politically much like it is today, with Democrats in control of both the executive and legislative branches. Jack Markell was early in his first term as governor, while the Delaware General Assembly had Democrat control in both chambers: 14-7 in the 21-seat Senate, and 26-15 in the 41-seat House – this despite an electorate that, at the time, was 47% Democrat, 29% Republican, and 22% unaffiliated, with the remainder scattered among minor parties. Given that control, the Democrats pushed through maps that attempted to continue favoring them.

Although the maps created districts that were reasonably compact and contiguous, and divided the state up pretty much properly between counties in terms of number of seats per county, they also maintained the Democrats’ stronghold on the state. As of this writing, the House and Senate numbers are unchanged from those in 2010, and while the fortunes of the Democrats have ebbed and flowed – a special election in 2017 put the Democrats in jeopardy of losing their Senate majority, although they prevailed thanks to lots of campaign money – the electorate has barely moved in terms of registration: it’s now 48% Democrat, 28% Republican, and 22% unaffiliated, with the rest still enrolled in minor parties. If you assume the unaffiliated and minor party voters line up with the proportion established by the duopoly, Democrats outperform their 63% portion in the Senate by a half-seat and fall right in line with the proportions in the House. However, based on recent state voting results, the non-affiliated electorate tends to skew somewhat more Republican, so in essence the Democrats have “stolen” a couple seats.

And there are reasons why. But let’s begin with the basics: for this discussion, it’s worthy to note that districts in Delaware are numbered in a generally north-to-south fashion, although there is shuffling to some degree in New Castle County, the northernmost county where most of Delaware’s population lives. Over the years, a population shift southward toward the beaches of Sussex County has necessitated the breaking of this pattern: Senate District 6 and House Districts 14, 19, and 20 have all been transplanted from New Castle to Sussex. Otherwise, Sussex has the Senate districts from 18-21 and the House districts from 35-41. (In the new adopted map, Sussex will have another “out-of-place” district as House District 4 moves from New Castle to Sussex. District 4 is currently represented by Democrat Gerald Brady, who has already announced he would not seek re-election thanks in part to cancel culture, so his district was available to move.)

The shifting of districts entirely, writes Captain Obvious, means the population trends in the state have rendered the old districts obsolete. In Delaware there is an allowed 10% deviation in population within districts, which can be 5% higher or lower than average. Knowing that, it’s no wonder that those in charge have an opportunity to heist a few seats by making their safe districts smaller than the average and the opposition’s districts larger. In this case, Delaware’s political makeup and population shifts (which planners were obviously aware of in 2010) have conspired to really give short shrift to the minority Republicans.

To figure out the current state of play, I found some of the measures relied on a website called Dave’s Redistricting. (I’ve used it before to draw a fairer Congressional map in Maryland, where there is such a thing as a Congressional map. It was much better than the brutal gerrymandering that eventually passed.) As of the 2020 census, there are 6 current Senate districts and 9 in the House which exceed the 5% threshold for overpopulation; conversely the underpopulated districts number 9 in the Senate and 12 in the House. In a growing state like Delaware you would expect the opposite, but it’s less surprising when you find out the overpopulated districts are the Republican ones: 4 of 6 in the Senate and 5 of 9 in the House. Put another way, 57% of Republican senators and 33% of Republican House members represent overcrowded districts; the same is true for just 14% of Senate Democrats and 15% in the House.

In contrast – and not unexpectedly – all nine Senate districts voters (and others) are fleeing are controlled by the Democrats. Moreover, 10 of the 12 significantly underpopulated House districts are Democrat-controlled – so they are catering to a shrinking population. Again, no Republican Senator represents an underpopulated district but a whopping 64% of Democrat Senators represent a Senate district more than 5% below average population. In the House, only 13% of Republicans hail from a district severely short on population, but 38% of House Democrats do.

Knowing all that, there was no question that districts had to move, and the Sussex County beaches were going to gain representatives. The question would be how begrudging the Democrats would be in giving Sussex – the most Republican of the three counties – its due.

In part two, I’ll look at where the state is going.

Was Delaware gerrymandered?

Earlier this week the state of Delaware had new legislative districts come into effect. They had to be in place by one year before next year’s election so, after the usual suspects blamed Donald Trump for the late Census data – which had to be finagled to account for the last known address of the prison population – the Democrats got their maps through.

Over the next week or so, I’m planning on digging deeper into these numbers and districts. I don’t know where pockets of R or D voters live specifically, but just based on the population and registration numbers there are a few things which merit a second glance. I know my districts didn’t change, so there is that.

Since the candidates may now file in their new districts, I was hoping the state would update their website accordingly so we could see who was already running in 2022. Alas, it was not to be.

However, I did find an interesting calendar of municipal elections for next year. Our friends in Laurel are one of just a handful of towns in the state with no election next year – however, they were one of those that didn’t cancel their balloting this year. (Just one Delaware town remains yet to decide this year, although I happen to know that just across the border in Delmar, Maryland they vote next Tuesday in a hotly-contested mayoral race, among other things.) Maybe next year there will be interest in the tiny town of Bethel, which is just up the road a piece from me.

In looking at this year’s list, I noticed most of the spring elections were bagged, probably due to a lack of candidates. But more of the fall elections took place, which to me shows a newfound interest from the grassroots. It’s something to follow once the calendar flips over to 2022.

So I didn’t want you all to think I forgot about you. This is the month I start getting together my compilations and update some of my pages – hard to believe we are two weeks from Thanksgiving, 20 days from sweet sixteen for my site, and three weeks from inducting the Class of 2021 into the Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame. It’s a busy month behind the scenes here.

And yes, I will delve into this data.