After Tuesday's elections, it's likely that Republicans for the first time will occupy every one of Oklahoma's congressional seats and statewide offices. And the Republican Party won't have to wait much longer to break more new ground by becoming the largest voting bloc in the state. The State Election Board added 114,103 voters to the rolls between Jan. 15 and Oct. 12 — the latter the deadline to register for Tuesday's general election. Of those, 67,368 signed up as Republicans, 25,123 registered as independents and only 21,465 registered as Democrats. The Democratic Party now has about 69,000 more registered voters than does the GOP — but that's a far cry from the 455,000-voter edge it held in January 2000. Since then, Democrats have seen their rolls in Oklahoma shrink by about 224,000 while Republicans have added roughly 160,000. Clearly it's not a matter of if the GOP will assume the top spot, but when.
Womb with a view
Syndicated columnist Rich Lowry wrote this week of the Obama campaign's condescension toward women. He cited the views of early feminists that women are “just as capable of rational deliberation as men.” He didn't mention how out of sync President Obama's views on reproduction are with those of some pioneers of women's rights. More than 100 years after her death, Susan B. Anthony remains the subject of scholarly debate about her views on abortion. Pro-life groups believe Anthony actively opposed the practice; pro-choice groups claims she had no strong feelings on the subject. Elizabeth Cady Stanton once wrote of the “murder of children, either before or after birth.” Victoria Woodhall, the first female candidate for president (1872), said, “Every woman knows that if she were free, she would never bear an unwished-for child, nor think of murdering one before its birth.” The point of this is that women — including some modern feminists — don't have a unified view supporting abortion at any stage of a pregnancy or government-mandated contraception. Obama's one-womb-fits-all philosophy is patronizing and an insult to many American women.
Oklahoma's largely drama-free redistricting process was no doubt due in part to not losing a congressional seat as occurred in 2000. New research suggests Oklahoma state lawmakers also reduced controversy by avoiding blatant gerrymandering. Azavea, a geospatial software firm, has released a report analyzing all congressional districts, highlighting particularly unusual boundaries based on four metrics. Maryland's congressional lines ranked worst — no surprise given a judge said one district's lines were “reminiscent of a broken-winged pterodactyl, lying prostrate” across Maryland. That map is being challenged in court. In other states, majority-minority districts, drawn to promote the election of minorities to Congress, were among the least compact. Using the Polsby-Popper ratio, generally the most widely cited metric, more than half of U.S. states had congressional districts less compact than Oklahoma's boundaries. Oklahoma legislators deserve thanks for avoiding the off-putting shenanigans occurring elsewhere.