The Corruption of Gerrymandering

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
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2016- You want to know why Texas is Red? Gerrymandering
As currently, frequently exercised by the Republican led Texas State Government, while I can't say this is happening Nationwide (for lack of research), I'd tend to believe as everything else the GOP does in their end justifies the means morality, this most likely is the norm in every Republican dominated State House.

From a report on the local PBS Radio station, the show Texas Matters, (years and numbers are approximated), as a result of redistricting in 2002, out of 150 total voter districts in the State of Texas, Republicans organized them they so that 85 would be Republican (a 56 to 44% advantage). However, due to natural changes in voters, more voters who voted Democrat, the Republican advantage had dropped to only 76 as compared to 75 Democrat districts. So once again in 2010, the Republican majority, pushed the boundaries, to create 98 Republican out of 150 districts a 65 to 35% advantage.

This is UNACCEPTABLE in a democracy, but how many Republicans do you think approve of these methods? Not only undemocratic, it's CORRUPT. This is why a neutral bipartisan districting commission is required to save any notion of a representative democracy being maintained in the U.S.. :mad:
 
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Robisan

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Not where I could Google and link to the details right now but Pennsylvania is just as bad or worse than Texas.
 

SwiftLives

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Blue states can gerrymander just as much as the red ones. I blame the GOP for a lot of things. This is not one of them.

I so wish there were a Federal Law that required districts be drawn in each state by a non-partisan group. But there's just not enough appetite to make that happen. (Plus, SCOTUS has repeatedly ruled that districting is up to the states. A Federal law would be difficult to enact).
 
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blackfox

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I think public-financing laws for elections (i.e. no private money) would go a long way towards fixing this...and other related problems.
 
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blackfox

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Democrats gerrymander more than Republicans. In fact, they invented it.
I'm sorry, but unless you equate the anti-federalists with modern Democrats - you are wrong. You are also wrong on frequency - the Republicans have a 11.5 Congressional seat advantage (statistically) due to gerrymandering. The only state with significant Democratic gerrymandering is Illinois.
 

aaronvan

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There are many algorithms (i.e. least-sides polygons) with which we could to impartially create congressional districts. Democrats won't use them because they would lose seats under current American demographics.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
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May 5, 2008
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Don't say Democrats have done it as a justifcation. My point is, it's currently Republicans behind it, but it should not be acceptable period. Hence my suggestion for an independent, politically neutral board. It's the only reason Texas is still a red state. At a minimum, they would be purple.
 
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Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
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I so wish there were a Federal Law that required districts be drawn in each state by a non-partisan group. But there's just not enough appetite to make that happen. (Plus, SCOTUS has repeatedly ruled that districting is up to the states. A Federal law would be difficult to enact).
Another issue where states rights could quite possibly need to be curtailed in the common interest.

Of course, the solution is to have a law whereby the districts are drawn in a non-partisan, impartial and independent manner that relies on demographics and population rather than party political advantage.

That means taking re-districting out of the hands of the political process entirely, and giving to an impartial, independent, qualified body.

My sense is that you may need a nation wide - for which, read, Federal - solution to this issue.

However, given @SwiftLives's observation on the Supreme Court's reluctance to become involved - seeing this as an internal matter for states, - and not an issue of whether elections can be said to have been fairly run by a body answerable to federal authority, it may prove challenging to find a way to construct a body with the necessary authority, independence and power.


I think public-financing laws for elections (i.e. no private money) would go a long way towards fixing this...and other related problems.
Agreed.

Impartial districting and public - and transparent - financing would alleviate some of these problems.
 
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VulchR

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The extent of gerrymandering in many US states is outrageous. In science one can calculate something called a 'lie factor': the size of an apparent effect as it is portrayed versus its true size. It would be easy enough to calculate the lie factor for the proportion of Congressional seats versus the proportion of popular vote.

In any case, is it any wonder that Congressional approval by the public has reached its lowest ebb since the 1970's? If representatives are elected against the will of the majority of the people in a given geographic area, they're hardly going to be satisfied.
 
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Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
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A lot of my work abroad over the past twenty years has involved observing, scrutinising, supervising, monitoring and reporting on - and occasionally, helping to run - elections (and everything to do with elections, such as registrations, counts, audits) across a few continents when working for bodies such as the EU, OSCE, and UN, and professionally, I suppose that I am regarded as something of an elections expert.

Some US colleagues - whom I respect - have raised their concerns with me about the issue of re-districting in the US and how much it contradicts - and sometimes frustrates, as it is deliberately designed to do - the possible expression of the will of an electorate.

This is something that doesn't just thwart and frustrate the democratic process, it undermines it. And, it serves to undermine confidence in the impartiality and fairness of an electoral contest, as well. It erodes belief in the system, and corrodes respect for it.

Worst of all, this is the sort of thing that undermines the credibility of the US abroad when discussing matters such as political and electoral reform in countries where such things are but a dream.
 
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Huntn

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
May 5, 2008
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The Misty Mountains
How purple could it be when all the state wide elected offices are held by republicans?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_party_strength_in_Texas
Read up on what gerrymandering does, favors the party who holds the majority and who does the redistricting to favor their party.

Another issue where states rights quid possibly need to be curtailed in the common interest.

Of course, the solution is to have a law whereby the districts are drawn in a non-partisan and independent manner that relies on demographics and population rather than party political advantage.

That means taking re-districting out of the hands of the political process entirely, and giving to an impartial, independent, qualified body.

My sense is that you may need a nation wide - for which, read, Federal - solution to this issue.

However, given @SwiftLives's observation on the Supreme Court's reluctance to become involved - seeing this as an internal matter for states, and not an issue of whether elections can be said to have been fairly run by a body answerable to federal authority.




Agreed.

Impartial districting and public - and transparent - financing would alleviate some of these problems.
A lot of my work abroad over the past twenty years has involved observing, scrutinising, supervising, monitoring and reporting on - and occasionally, helping to run - elections (and everything to do with elections, such as registrations, counts, audits) across a few continents when working for bodies such as the EU, OSCE, and UN, and professionally, I suppose that I am regarded as something of an elections expert.

Some US colleagues - whom I respect - have raised their concerns with me about the issue of re-districting in the US and how much it contradicts - and sometimes frustrates, as it is deliberately designed to do - the possible expression of the will of an electorate.

This is something that doesn't just thwart and frustrate the democratic process, it undermines it. And, it serves to undermine confidence in the impartiality and fairness of an electoral contest, as well. It erodes belief in the system, and corrodes respect for it.

Worst of all, this is the sort of thing that undermines the credibility of the US abroad when discussing matters such as political and electoral reform in countries where such things are but a dream.
The Federal government has asserted itself into States when there was a compelling reason to do so, a violation of rights guaranteed by the Constitution, civil and voting rights. This is clearly a case where the democratic process is being undermined, to the detriment of the nation.

Does the UK have voting districts? If so, how are they altered?
 

aaronvan

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The extent of gerrymandering in many US states is outrageous. In science one can calculate something called a 'lie factor'
There are a number of sites that show what Congressional districts apportioned under unbiased, scientific means. I've posted them here before (to zero interest, I might add. No Trump, no guns, no interest.)
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
May 5, 2008
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How about you go read about it and then start a thread where you explain what you learned.
All ready did that, except I was familiar before posting. :rolleyes: I gave you a polite answer and provided a link in the OP, it seemed like your question could benefit from reading it. :p
 

ucfgrad93

macrumors P6
Aug 17, 2007
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Colorado
This is UNACCEPTABLE in a democracy, but how many Republicans do you think approve of these methods? Not only undemocratic, it's CORRUPT. This is why a neutral bipartisan districting commission is required to save any notion of a representative democracy being maintained in the U.S.. :mad:
Probably the same number of Democrats that approve Maryland's 3rd Congressional district.

The district's odd shape is attributed to gerrymandering in order to favor Democratic candidates following the 2000[2] and 2010[3] censuses. In 2012 the district was found to be the third least compact congressional district in the United States.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maryland's_3rd_congressional_district
 
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VulchR

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There are a number of sites that show what Congressional districts apportioned under unbiased, scientific means. I've posted them here before (to zero interest, I might add. No Trump, no guns, no interest.)
Sorry if I missed them. I am interested, for this gets at the core of how the people are represented in government.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
Original poster
May 5, 2008
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Apparently, so do you when it is done by the Democrats that you support. Otherwise, you would have called them out in your original post like you did the Republicans.
Stop drinking the partisan tea, sharpen up those reading skills, and review the original post and follow up posts, instead of spewing. :rolleyes:
 

VulchR

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Apparently, so do you when it is done by the Democrats that you support. Otherwise, you would have called them out in your original post like you did the Republicans.
If you had read the link from the OP, you would have realised that it is a matter of degree. Both parties are guilty, but one more than the other.
 

ucfgrad93

macrumors P6
Aug 17, 2007
17,540
8,165
Colorado
This is UNACCEPTABLE in a democracy, but how many Republicans do you think approve of these methods? Not only undemocratic, it's CORRUPT. This is why a neutral bipartisan districting commission is required to save any notion of a representative democracy being maintained in the U.S.. :mad:
Stop drinking the partisan tea, sharpen up those reading skills, and review the original post and follow up posts, instead of spewing. :rolleyes:
My reading skills are just fine. You specifically called out the Republicans, saying they support this kind of corruption while totally neglecting the fact that many Democrats support it as well.