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Recent Comments

Re: “Redistricting plan passes House

For what it's worth, below is a message I just sent to both Senator Madison and Rep. Leding. I have not yet heard these arguments in favor of keeping Fayetteville in the Third. It strikes me that the Republicans are playing a bit of Brer Rabbit on this issue.

Senator Madison

I am writing to implore you to use your important vote and influence to halt the effort to remove our town from its longtime home. I understand you must be extremely busy, but please allow me to briefly note my rationales for keeping Fayetteville in the Third. I’ve tried to frame them in a positive rather than negative light as it seems the latter has thus far dominated the debate.

--Democratic voters will in fact have considerably less voice in the Fourth than they have now. Speaking personally, I would likely simply abstain from voting rather than support Rep. Ross, who I believe is an actual hindrance to the Democrats in Congress. I suspect that I am not alone in this regard. In any event, he will either win by a large margin of support from rural southeastern counties, in which case Fayetteville Democrats would cast meaningless ballots; or he will lose to an even more conservative Democrat or quite possibly a Republican, again effectively neutering the Democratic votes from Fayetteville. The notion that a Fayetteville Democrat would somehow win the overwhelmingly conservative Fourth is quite simply implausible.

--If indeed we want to give local Democrats more voice, perhaps we should be thinking beyond the near term. You are, of course, well aware of demographic trends here in NWA and nationally. Hispanic voters will almost certainly begin to draw close to and then surpass the conservative vote in our region. Right now, this community is politically inactive, but research clearly shows that the next generation (which is already coming of voting age) will by contrast be highly engaged politically. Research also unequivocally demonstrates that this new bloc will skew overwhelmingly Democratic, meaning that the Third has a very strong likelihood of flipping Democratic over the medium term. It is perhaps difficult to envision this, but as a political scientist who is very familiar with the empirical data I can virtually guarantee that it will happen, possibly even before the next census. Try to imagine what we could accomplish under such conditions. I could easily see you winning national office (if you so aspire) in the medium to longer term and I would campaign vigorously for you in that situation. I have already cast my ballots for you in every race you have run and I’m proud to have done so.

My apologies for the length of this message, but let me reiterate my fervent plea for your invaluable help in keeping our beautiful town in its natural home district. Thank you sincerely for your attention.

Dr. Jeff Ryan
Associate Professor
Political Science and Latin American/Latino Studies

Posted by JR on 03/31/2011 at 10:49 AM


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