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Old Feb 4, 2013, 12:56 PM   #1
rdowns
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The Great Gerrymander of 2012

Nice opinion piece with some suggestions on how we can deal with it. This crap makes a mockery of our voting process.

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HAVING the first modern democracy comes with bugs. Normally we would expect more seats in Congress to go to the political party that receives more votes, but the last election confounded expectations. Democrats received 1.4 million more votes for the House of Representatives, yet Republicans won control of the House by a 234 to 201 margin. This is only the second such reversal since World War II.
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In North Carolina, where the two-party House vote was 51 percent Democratic, 49 percent Republican, the average simulated delegation was seven Democrats and six Republicans. The actual outcome? Four Democrats, nine Republicans — a split that occurred in less than 1 percent of simulations. If districts were drawn fairly, this lopsided discrepancy would hardly ever occur.

Confounding conventional wisdom, partisan redistricting is not symmetrical between the political parties. By my seat-discrepancy criterion, 10 states are out of whack: the five I have mentioned, plus Virginia, Ohio, Florida, Illinois and Texas. Arizona was redistricted by an independent commission, Texas was a combination of Republican and federal court efforts, and Illinois was controlled by Democrats. Republicans designed the other seven maps. Both sides may do it, but one side does it more often.

Surprisingly absent from the guilty list is California, where 62 percent of the two-party vote went to Democrats and the average mock delegation of 38 Democrats and 15 Republicans exactly matched the newly elected delegation. Notably, California voters took redistricting out of legislators’ hands by creating the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.
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Third, gerrymandering is a major form of disenfranchisement. In the seven states where Republicans redrew the districts, 16.7 million votes were cast for Republicans and 16.4 million votes were cast for Democrats. This elected 73 Republicans and 34 Democrats. Given the average percentage of the vote it takes to elect representatives elsewhere in the country, that combination would normally require only 14.7 million Democratic votes. Or put another way, 1.7 million votes (16.4 minus 14.7) were effectively packed into Democratic districts and wasted.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 12:59 PM   #2
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For science! For when I forget what gerrymandering is aside from vague recollections.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 01:03 PM   #3
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You hear about GOP in several states to change Electoral College to cast POTUS vote proportionally then "winner take all"?

If it was used in 2012, then Romney would have easily won (despite the popular going Obama).


The GOP is loosing supporters in droves, so they are resorting to changing the rules to stay in power. By doing so, they might loose yet more becuase they will be seen as the party of cheaters.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 01:50 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by PracticalMac View Post
You hear about GOP in several states to change Electoral College to cast POTUS vote proportionally then "winner take all"?

If it was used in 2012, then Romney would have easily won (despite the popular going Obama).


The GOP is loosing supporters in droves, so they are resorting to changing the rules to stay in power. By doing so, they might loose yet more becuase they will be seen as the party of cheaters.
It shouldn't surprise anyone. The GOP is in it for three things and three things only: money, control, and power. They don't give a **** about what happens to this country or it's people as long as they continue to be rich and have control over others.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 02:10 PM   #5
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It shouldn't surprise anyone. ALL politicians are in it for three things and three things only: money, control, and power. They don't give a **** about what happens to this country or it's people as long as they continue to be rich and have control over others.
Fixed it for you.

----------

Redistricting does not explain why House Democrats got a majority of the vote and a minority of the seats

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Democrats do gain more seats under this simulation—seven more total—but fall far short of matching their predicted vote share. The point should be clear: even under the most generous assumptions, redistricting explains less than half the gap between vote share and seat share this election cycle.
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Old Feb 4, 2013, 02:21 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by zioxide View Post
It shouldn't surprise anyone. The GOP is in it for three things and three things only: money, control, and power. They don't give a **** about what happens to this country or it's people as long as they continue to be rich and have control over others.
That type of thing isn't party specific. Almost all politicians have one thing in mind....staying in power....err....office. There are good ones that come along every now and again, but they generally get burned out by the meat grinding process of trying to legislate in a Congress that is so caught up in gridlock.
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Old Feb 5, 2013, 12:07 PM   #7
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Fixed it for you.
Not that US Democratic party does not do same, but the GOP seems to be more active in changing election rules for party gain.
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Old Feb 6, 2013, 07:06 AM   #8
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Redistricting does not explain all of the bias. This simply makes me wonder if the redistricting simply heaped new bias on old. See this link, for the picture is not as clear as one might think. As the author notes in the blog, it seems that a solution to gerrymandering by both main parties is to put redistricting under the control of an independent panel of citizens rather than state legislators.
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Old Feb 6, 2013, 01:22 PM   #9
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I am in no way defending Democrats here because they are also guilty at gerrymandering districts but what the Repukelicans are doing goes over the top.

Since the right-wing crazies can't win in a fair fight, they decide to rig the game. Just when you thought the GOP can't get any more underhanded in their tactics.

By the way, Democrats should be in control of the House of Representatives considering the party received 1.5 million more votes in the House as a whole. If it wasn't for these gerrymandered districts guaranteeing wins for the crazy teabaggers, Congress might be a little less dysfunctional this session.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 09:08 AM   #10
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I am in no way defending Democrats here because they are also guilty at gerrymandering districts but what the Repukelicans are doing goes over the top.

Since the right-wing crazies can't win in a fair fight, they decide to rig the game. Just when you thought the GOP can't get any more underhanded in their tactics.

By the way, Democrats should be in control of the House of Representatives considering the party received 1.5 million more votes in the House as a whole. If it wasn't for these gerrymandered districts guaranteeing wins for the crazy teabaggers, Congress might be a little less dysfunctional this session.
I don't know if you can say they went over the top. They are working within the rules and laws. The democrats work to do the same thing but the republicans have been more successful in their efforts. Would you be as bothered if the democrats were doing a better job at it?

I personally think it should be totally removed but I can also see how in some cases there would be a benefit for the local voters on both sides.

It's just surprising how when these discussions pop up...and almost always brought up by a disgruntled democrat...that they make it sound like it's only the republicans that do it which is simply not the case. They may do it better or smarter or more efficient but they are not the only ones that do it. The discussion shouldn't be complaining that the republicans do it, the discussion should be complaining that the democrats suck at doing it.

The 17th district was all screwy looking and it just got changed yet again in an attempt to secure it as democrat without question. It now includes parts of Rockford and Peoria and no longer includes Quincy, Decatur, or Springfield.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 11:28 AM   #11
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I don't know if you can say they went over the top. They are working within the rules and laws. The democrats work to do the same thing but the republicans have been more successful in their efforts. Would you be as bothered if the democrats were doing a better job at it?

I personally think it should be totally removed but I can also see how in some cases there would be a benefit for the local voters on both sides.

It's just surprising how when these discussions pop up...and almost always brought up by a disgruntled democrat...that they make it sound like it's only the republicans that do it which is simply not the case. They may do it better or smarter or more efficient but they are not the only ones that do it. The discussion shouldn't be complaining that the republicans do it, the discussion should be complaining that the democrats suck at doing it.

The 17th district was all screwy looking and it just got changed yet again in an attempt to secure it as democrat without question. It now includes parts of Rockford and Peoria and no longer includes Quincy, Decatur, or Springfield.
Image


Within the rules or not, I don't think gerrymandering should be allowed by any party, Democrat or Republican. I agree, Republicans are definitely better at breaking the rules because Democrats are spineless and let them get away with it.

I'm actually registered as an independent and would vote for anyone who presents progressive positions and values regardless of party. However, in the current political climate, Republicans will never be progressive because their overlords want to turn the clock back a couple hundred years. So I'm far from a disgruntled Democrat as I am equally critical of them as I am of Republicans. It just so happens that Republicans are far more evil.

Personally, I think we need to rethink our entire election process as a whole and how we elect our representatives. We really need to get rid of our congressional districts and institute proportional representation. Our representatives do not accurately represent the ever changing demographic of the populace and it's not right for us to have the false choice of voting for the candidate who is less evil.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 12:54 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by iMikeT View Post
Within the rules or not, I don't think gerrymandering should be allowed by any party, Democrat or Republican. I agree, Republicans are definitely better at breaking the rules because Democrats are spineless and let them get away with it.

I'm actually registered as an independent and would vote for anyone who presents progressive positions and values regardless of party. However, in the current political climate, Republicans will never be progressive because their overlords want to turn the clock back a couple hundred years. So I'm far from a disgruntled Democrat as I am equally critical of them as I am of Republicans. It just so happens that Republicans are far more evil.

Personally, I think we need to rethink our entire election process as a whole and how we elect our representatives. We really need to get rid of our congressional districts and institute proportional representation. Our representatives do not accurately represent the ever changing demographic of the populace and it's not right for us to have the false choice of voting for the candidate who is less evil.
There is something to be said for a proportional representation system. But the biggest problem is that it gives a significant amount of power to urban/densely populated areas. Those tend to favor Democrats. So why on earth would a Republican agree to it?

I also agree that gerrymandering needs to go away. But again, how? Do you limit the number of borders of a congressional district? Do you require that the D-R makeup be similar to the D-R percentage of previous elections? Do you just hope for a benevolent Governor who will create the districts somewhat proportionally? I just don't see any way around the gerrymander.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 01:14 PM   #13
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I also agree that gerrymandering needs to go away. But again, how? Do you limit the number of borders of a congressional district? Do you require that the D-R makeup be similar to the D-R percentage of previous elections? Do you just hope for a benevolent Governor who will create the districts somewhat proportionally? I just don't see any way around the gerrymander.

Take the process away from politicians. From the article:

Surprisingly absent from the guilty list is California, where 62 percent of the two-party vote went to Democrats and the average mock delegation of 38 Democrats and 15 Republicans exactly matched the newly elected delegation. Notably, California voters took redistricting out of legislators’ hands by creating the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 01:23 PM   #14
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There is something to be said for a proportional representation system. But the biggest problem is that it gives a significant amount of power to urban/densely populated areas. Those tend to favor Democrats. So why on earth would a Republican agree to it?
This doesn't make sense.

We don't elect representatives based on the amount of land they represent, we elect them based on the amount of people they represent.

Urban areas by definition have more people than rural areas so they obviously should have a significant amount of power.

Every persons vote counts for the same. Your vote shouldn't count for less because you live in a city with high population density the same way it shouldn't count for more because you live in the middle of nowhere and you're the only person for 5 miles.


The biggest problem with the way they rigged this district is we went from districts that had both democrats and republicans in them to having specific "democrat districts" and "republican districts".

When the reps have to answer to people from both parties in their district, they need to actually get **** done in order to stay elected. But when they people they represent are only from their party, they can "stand firm" and not get anything accomplished, but as long as they continue to stand up for the beliefs of their base, they'll continue to get elected. That's what has caused our Congress to basically become gridlocked. There's no fear of being voted out if they don't get anything done.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 01:49 PM   #15
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There is something to be said for a proportional representation system. But the biggest problem is that it gives a significant amount of power to urban/densely populated areas. Those tend to favor Democrats. So why on earth would a Republican agree to it?

I also agree that gerrymandering needs to go away. But again, how? Do you limit the number of borders of a congressional district? Do you require that the D-R makeup be similar to the D-R percentage of previous elections? Do you just hope for a benevolent Governor who will create the districts somewhat proportionally? I just don't see any way around the gerrymander.

I don't have the answers on how to do this exactly so I'm not going to pretend to. How's this for an idea? How about doing this on a county basis and drawing representatives from there? For example, if an Independent gets 30% of the vote, they get 30% of the representative power? Or if a Democrat gets 12% of the vote, they get 8% of the representative power?


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This doesn't make sense.

We don't elect representatives based on the amount of land they represent, we elect them based on the amount of people they represent.

Urban areas by definition have more people than rural areas so they obviously should have a significant amount of power.

Every persons vote counts for the same. Your vote shouldn't count for less because you live in a city with high population density the same way it shouldn't count for more because you live in the middle of nowhere and you're the only person for 5 miles.


The biggest problem with the way they rigged this district is we went from districts that had both democrats and republicans in them to having specific "democrat districts" and "republican districts".

When the reps have to answer to people from both parties in their district, they need to actually get **** done in order to stay elected. But when they people they represent are only from their party, they can "stand firm" and not get anything accomplished, but as long as they continue to stand up for the beliefs of their base, they'll continue to get elected. That's what has caused our Congress to basically become gridlocked. There's no fear of being voted out if they don't get anything done.


I knew there was something off about his post. Yes, it's based off population. So if the population wants to be represented a certain way by percentage of votes in an area, that someone of that party goes to represent them in congress.

Agree 100% about the rest of your post.

Also, money needs to be taken out of politics. Our politicians don't answer to the people they represent but the big money that funds their campaigns, both Democrats and Republicans.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 02:24 PM   #16
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Also, money needs to be taken out of politics. Our politicians don't answer to the people they represent but the big money that funds their campaigns, both Democrats and Republicans.

Then fix the tax code. If Congress can't write loopholes, the reasons to give them money mostly dry up.
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 02:26 PM   #17
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Then fix the tax code. If Congress can't write loopholes, the reasons to give them money mostly dry up.


It's not the tax code. Overturn "Citizens United" and amend the Constitution to say "Corporations are not people. Money is not speech."
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 03:56 PM   #18
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There is something to be said for a proportional representation system. But the biggest problem is that it gives a significant amount of power to urban/densely populated areas. Those tend to favor Democrats. So why on earth would a Republican agree to it?

I also agree that gerrymandering needs to go away. But again, how? Do you limit the number of borders of a congressional district? Do you require that the D-R makeup be similar to the D-R percentage of previous elections? Do you just hope for a benevolent Governor who will create the districts somewhat proportionally? I just don't see any way around the gerrymander.
What's the problem? As others have mentioned, we have a one person one vote system, not a five acre, five vote system.

Perhaps county lines could be used to determine districts?
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 04:13 PM   #19
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What's the problem? As others have mentioned, we have a one person one vote system, not a five acre, five vote system.
Ah, those were the days!
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Old Feb 8, 2013, 04:25 PM   #20
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What's the problem? As others have mentioned, we have a one person one vote system, not a five acre, five vote system.

Perhaps county lines could be used to determine districts?

Not to mention we already have mechanisms in place to make sure the rural minority is properly represented- the Senate and all the urban state dollars sent their way.
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Old Feb 9, 2013, 12:02 PM   #21
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This doesn't make sense.

We don't elect representatives based on the amount of land they represent, we elect them based on the amount of people they represent.

Urban areas by definition have more people than rural areas so they obviously should have a significant amount of power.

Every persons vote counts for the same. Your vote shouldn't count for less because you live in a city with high population density the same way it shouldn't count for more because you live in the middle of nowhere and you're the only person for 5 miles....
Let me clarify. First off - yes. I wholeheartedly agree with you that votes should be based on population. The point I was trying to make is that the 1 million people in an urban area have very different interests and needs than the 100,000 people in a rural area. Maybe I'm overthinking it.
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