Recent editorials from West Virginia newspapers:
The Journal on Veterans Day:
How fortuitous it is that this week, while the attention of millions of Americans seems focused on controversy, we take time out to honor those about whom we are in complete agreement: veterans of military service.
No matter how we view politics, we are united in revering the men and women who have served and do serve us in uniform. The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard are the solid wall behind which our freedoms rest.
They serve us not as Democrats, Republicans, Independents or adherents to any particular political philosophy. They serve us simply as Americans.
It is their steadfast, pure patriotism that we celebrate this Veterans Day.
Even during peacetime, they make enormous sacrifices for us. In effect, they take years off from their lives to go where they are asked to go and do what they are asked to do.
Sometimes that takes them to foreign lands. Sometimes it places them aboard ships on lengthy cruises. Sometimes it means their posts are right here in the United States, but far from their homes. Families, friends, old school chums and former co-workers are seen only infrequently.
Their families become their brothers and sisters in arms.
Because the military must be on guard constantly, the jobs they do come with inherent risk. The regularity of reports that servicemen and women are killed or injured in training accidents or even during the course of normal duties reminds us of that.
During times of conflict, be they full-scale wars or armed confrontations that may not even make news, of course, everything changes. It is then that our foes learn, invariably, why the American military is respected and usually feared throughout the world.
And it is then that we whose liberties are being safeguarded are reminded just how important our men and women in uniform are to us.
There are fewer veterans among us this year than last, simply because of the number who served during World War II. This Veterans Day, we have among us an estimated 17.4 million who wear or once wore the uniform. That is about 1.4 million fewer than last year.
Expressing our gratitude to them grows more important by the day.
This week, we do just that. We honor - and thank, from the bottoms of our hearts - those who served and have served.
And this Veterans Day, we pray that God will watch over and keep them with same kind of steadfastness they showed for us.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail on the West Virginia Republican Party’s reaction to the U.S. presidential election:
The night before Joe Biden was named president-elect of the United States, the West Virginia Republican Party sent out a statement saying it stood behind President Donald J. Trump and would not accept results of a “fraudulent” election.
Over the weekend, the state party retweeted the ravings of Trump and his supporters, and outlandish conspiracy theories that the election was stolen, rigged or somehow weighted against the incumbent. No matter that Biden had a clear Electoral College victory even with a handful of states too close to call. Never mind that Biden was on track to beat Trump by 7 million votes in an election that generated the most votes in American history. Don’t believe your lying eyes, the state GOP said.
It shows how much national and identity politics have come to play a role at the state and local levels. The state GOP has gained so much but continues to pitch a tantrum, following the paranoid, delusional ramblings of the president.
This election gave the West Virginia GOP a supermajority in the House of Delegates and Senate, along with the Governor’s Office for another four years. So, apparently, everything went off without a hitch in West Virginia, but shadowy figures committed massive fraud in half the country?
The state GOP could do a lot with its Democrat-proof majority, but, sadly, if this messaging is any indication, it seems more national issues, which go for the gut rather than the mind, will dominate the political landscape in the Mountain State. Even when they’ve won so much, the state Republican Party continues to be a sore loser because Donald Trump has suffered defeat in a fair and free election.
The best thing for the state party to do is disengage from the madness and rage of conspiracies and misinformation, and return to planet Earth and focus on the state of West Virginia.
The Herald-Dispatch on West Virginia Republicans expanding their majorities in the state legislature, and multi-member districts in the state:
Now that the Republican Party has firm control of the West Virginia Legislature for the next two years, it will be interesting to see if it can make good on a promise it made many years ago to the state’s voters.
The House of Delegates has several multi-member districts. Locally, the 16th District has three delegates, the 17th two, the 18th one and the 19th two.
If you live in one part of this area, you may have as many as three people representing you in the House of Delegates while other people may have only two or one.
Some districts have four members, while the 51st District, which covers most of Monongalia County, has five. In the previous decade, one district in Kanawha County had seven.
While they were the minority party, Republicans criticized multimember districts for violating the spirit of the one person, one vote requirement set down by the U.S. Supreme Court. Multimember districts allowed the majority party to keep weak and compliant members in the House, and they prevented some counties from having any members at all. Republicans said they would eliminate multimember districts and replace them with single-member districts should they ever be the majority party.
The Census Bureau is to release local-level results of the 2020 census early next year so legislatures and others can redraw their district maps.
One problem for Republican legislators is an agreement the two parties have had to draw new district lines to protect incumbent members. The GOP will have lots of members to protect, so it will be interesting to see how the new district boundaries are set.
Of course, one party’s redistricting is the other party’s gerrymandering. One is just and equitable; the other is nothing but pure power politics meant to secure an advantage until the next census.
The process could decide the makeup of the House for a decade.
For purposes of equal representation, single-member districts make the most sense. They might not politically, and we may have some multimember districts after redistricting, but the House should take care to provide as many single-member districts as possible.
Meanwhile, because West Virginia’s population has been stagnant while other states have seen increases, it’s likely the state will lose one of its three seats in the U.S. House of Representatives beginning with the 2022 election.
All three of the state’s representatives are Republicans, so voters will have to see if one volunteers to retire in 2022 or which of two of the three legislators decide to put against each other in the primary.
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