Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's New Congressional Districts Are More Compact. But They're Still Just as Partisan.

The state Supreme Court did away with a Republican gerrymander and tilted the new map toward Democrats. That should be worrying.

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Democrats got a boost in their effort to retake Congress this week, as the Pennsylvania Supreme Court unveiled a new congressional district map to replace a Republican gerrymander the same court had ruled unconstitutional last month.

The new map imposed by the court is undoubtedly less gerrymandered than the previous one, which has been drawn by Republican state lawmakers after the 2010 census. The GOP had won 13 of Pennsylvania's 18 congressional seats in each of the three elections held under that map. The new map will, according to a variety of analyses released this week, lend itself to a more balanced division of the state's congressional delegation.

The new map also features districts that are more compact. The "compactness" of congressional districts can be measured in several different ways—for example, by measuring the size of the smallest circle that can be drawn to encompass the entire district—but the Supreme Court map improves on the old Republican map pretty much any way you slice it.

Even without engaging in complicated geometry, that much is plain just by looking at the two maps side by side. The 2011 map is on the left; the court-drawn map is on the right:

Source: Wiki commons; Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Gone are the awkward tentacles and interweaving of districts in the Philadelphia suburbs. Instead we see districts that (mostly) follow county lines.

Rather than simply undoing the Republican gerrymanders, though, the state Supreme Court map may tilt things slightly in the Democrats' favor.

"This is the PA map Dems wanted," tweeted Dave Wasserman, U.S. House editor for The Cook Political Report. "It's a ringing endorsement of the 'partisan fairness' doctrine: that parties should be entitled to same proportion of seats as votes. However, in PA (and many states), achieving that requires conscious pro-Dem mapping choices."

To understand why, you have to know a few things about Pennsylvania. The state has about a million more registered Democrats than registered Republicans, but because blue voters are clustered in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and a few other places around the state, Republicans have a natural advantage when it comes to congressional districts. In other words, even without too-clever-by-half district lines like the ones they drew in 2011, Republicans would be favored to win probably 10 or 11 of the state's 18 seats on a generic ballot in a non-wave election.

The bottom line: If you overlay this new map onto precinct-level election results in 2012 and 2016, and you'd expect Democrats to win seven or eight seats, instead of just five. With a bit of a wind at their backs, Democrats could win up to 11.

Republicans pushed the envelope in 2011. It worked, until it didn't. (Republicans hold a 12-5 edge at the moment, with one open seat that will be filled with a special election on March 13. Confusingly, that election will be held within the lines of the now-trashed 18th district as it was drawn in 2011.)

Democrats took control of the state Supreme Court in 2015—judges in Pennsylvania serve in technically nonpartisan role but are elected via a partisan process—and some of the new justices campaigned on a promise to review the Republican-drawn congressional maps if given the chance. When they got the chance, no surprise, they tossed the Republican map and replaced it with their own, Democratic-friendly map.

While the new map is not as blatantly gerrymandered as the 2011 Republican map, it makes a lot of small, subtle choices intended to nudge congressional districts toward the Democrats, as The New York Times' Nate Cohn demonstrates.

The best example of that phenomenon is with the minor changes to the boundary of the current 8th district, which mostly follows the outline of Bucks County, just north of Philadelphia. It was probably the most competitive district in the state under the old map—the old district scores as "even" in Cohn's analysis—but tiny deviations in the western border of the district remove some Republican-heavy portions of neighboring Montgomery County and substitute them with Democrat-heavy areas of the same county. The result is a district that's now slightly favorable to Democratic candidates. (This was already a major midterm target for Dems; now it will be a must-have.)

The lesson in all of this, as National Journal political editor Josh Kraushaar puts it: "You can't take the partisanship out of politics."

Just like other supposedly nonpartisan redistricting efforts, the Supreme Court's creation succumbed to the inherently political nature of congressional mapmaking. Unlike those other attempts to remove politics from the equation, though, this unscheduled redrawing of districts has actually increased the partisanship of the process.

There's a chance the U.S. Supreme Court will review the state court's actions and rule that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overstepped its constitutional bounds by imposing this map without the consent of the state legislature or the governor. Under both the state and federal constitutions, redistricting powers are explicitly granted to state legislators—and even when legislatures have voluntarily tried to pass off that authority to others, they have faced lawsuits for doing so.

If the SCOTUS doesn't block the new Pennsylvania map, the state Supreme Court will have set a dangerous new precedent by scrapping and redrawing congressional districts in the middle of what's supposed to be a 10-year cycle for redistricting. There is literally nothing to stop a Republican judge from seeking the next vacant state Supreme Court seat with promises of undoing this congressional map and imposing a new one. Each new state Supreme Court election in Pennsylvania will come with the implicit (if not explicit) promise of shifting the congressional district lines to favor the winning party.

Gerrymandered district lines disrespect the will of the voters, but so does constantly shifting district lines.

It's difficult to feel bad for the Republicans, who drew a bad-faith map in 2011 and eventually got their comeuppance for doing so. They deserved to lose their ill-gotten advantage. But Democrats do not deserve the advantage they have given themselves by politicizing the state Supreme Court's oversight powers.

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  1. The Democrats are very mad at Pennsylvania for going Trump in election 2016.

    1. *They are mad when things don’t go their way. They were perfectly happy to gerrymander in the 80s and 90s and even celebrated it, then as soon as things flipped gerrymandering is the worst thing ever

      1. Gerrymandering has only been around for 200 years or so.

        Sooner or later an Obama Momma judge will probably just go ahead and declare the republican party to be illegal.

        1. I’d be fine ruling that political parties, as an organization recognized by any government, are illegal.

          No automatic qualification for a ballot, every individual has to qualify on their own merits.
          No party affiliations on ballots, it’s the voter’s responsibility to know which candidate their party endorsed.
          Primaries? Either they all become non-partisan or they simply stop existing.
          The only “power” of a party would be it’s endorsement (and it would be their responsibility to tell folks who their pick was, not something the state did), and funding streams.

          Sure, it’d mostly be redecorating and not making any real change, but frankly the government shouldn’t be involved in political parties anyway. The way we’ve practically written the big two into our laws is a travesty.

  2. It’s difficult to feel bad for the Republicans, who drew a bad-faith map in 2011 and eventually got their comeuppance for doing so.

    Their greediness was their undoing. Let’s see if it’s the Democrats’ undoing as well.

  3. Just one more ringing endorsement of the idea of getting rid of single member districts and replacing them with multi-member proportional districts. If the goal is to reflect the political ideology of the citizens in a state, there is absolutely no fair way to do that with single member districts.

    1. If the goal is to reflect the political ideology of the citizens in a state, there is absolutely no fair way to do that with single member districts.

      Or, let’s be honest, with legislatures.

    2. Proportional districts would remove what little independence reps still have. All power would concentrate in the parties

      1. All power is currently concentrated in parties. That is why gerrymandering is a thing that exists. Go to Oklahoma and tell me that power isn’t concentrated in the Republican and Democratic parties. Go to California and do the same. The truth is that our current election laws have been written and manipulated by the Republican and Democratic parties for well over a century, cementing their control over all governments in this country.

      2. Really. Point me to a state in the US in which you can form a new party and get a candidate elected to the legislative branch all in the same year.

      3. Well, sorta-kinda. You could have open party list proportional representation. So a party “maverick” that is adored by the people but barely tolerated by the party could rise to the top of the list in this situation.

        1. Like Jeremy Corbyn.

      4. (A) I’m in the “government shouldn’t be involved in primaries” camp. If a party wants to have a democratic primary? Then let ’em have it. But the government shouldn’t be telling a political party how to choose it’s representatives. If folks don’t like how a party chooses it’s candidates and assigns seats, then they should vote for a different party.

        (B) Voting for a party that then chooses who gets the seats it wins is one way to do proportional voting. But it is not the only way.

        So yeah, if things happen in the way you don’t want them to happen, you’d be vindicated. But don’t mistake there being a “bad” way for things to happen for there only being “bad” ways for things to happen.

    3. 1. Each district sends the top three vote recipients to the legislature.

      2. Each legislature proxies the votes they received. This is trivial to do with computers, and would have been almost as trivial with pen and paper. This eliminates one of the major justifications of censuses and redistricting.

      3. Every legislature can create bills on their own. After it has been in public view, unchanged for 30 days, if a 2/3 majority of other legislatures in each chamber have approved the bill, it becomes law. Other legislatures and the public can of course suggest changes, but only the author can revise his bill, and if he does, the 30 day clock restarts.

      1. 3. s/legislature/legislator

    4. Well said E. Zachary Knight! 100% agree.

  4. “You can’t take the partisanship out of politics.”
    Okay.

    But you can take the partisanship out of districts. Multi-seat districts with some flavor of proportional voting. Done.

    1. Why don’t they listen to you?!?!?!?!?!?!

      It’s almost like the government isn’t even listening!

      Try being more persuasive!

      1. Heh. That’s funny.

        I like the name.

  5. Well at least hopefully they’ll have worked out the four-color problem by the time they’re finished with this.

  6. Obviously the solution is for voters in District A to elect the representative of District B, where A and B are randomly chosen.

    1. I like the way you think! Damned ingenious, sir!

  7. Gerrymandered district lines disrespect the will of the voters, but so does constantly shifting district lines.

    That’s right–the representatives elected by the people to take care of this very task are somehow disrespecting the will of the people who put them there.

    Riiiiight.

    This isn’t at all about a state judiciary doing something that is not part of it’s job.

    Republicans had control at census time, republicans get to re-district. That’s the law. Dems just have to suck it. Democrats gerrymander insanely when they get the chance. Like all political strategies–it’s A-OK when Dems do it and creeping fascism when the GOP does it.

    This HAS to end.

    1. “This HAS to end.”

      By removing the ability of the government – legislature or judiciary – to engage in these gerrymandering tricks in the first place.

      1. It’s funny how these sort of “blatant partisan activities” only get attacked/redone/ruled unconstitutional/etc, when it is to the benefit of the Dem.

      2. By removing the ability of the government – legislature or judiciary – to engage in these gerrymandering tricks in the first place.

        And how do you do that?

        SCOTUS DEMANDS gerry-mandering to give us majority-minority districts as is.

      3. By removing the ability of the government – legislature or judiciary – to engage in these gerrymandering tricks in the first place.

        And how do you do that?

        SCOTUS DEMANDS gerry-mandering to give us majority-minority districts as is.

        1. There is no Constitutional requirement to have districts at all.

          1. …then why is gerrymandering a “crisis”? Couldn’t the state just say “Well, we’ll have x number of Republicans and y number of Democrats, voting be damned”?

            1. No, because the Constitution says that the House of Representatives will be chosen by popular vote.

              But the Constitution does not mandate that each Representative must represent a single-member districts.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_ticket

    2. This HAS to end.

      If by “this” you mean “gerrymandering”, then sure.

      If by “this” you mean “complaining about gerrymandering”, then fuck no.

    3. What you’re whining about politicians cheating to win, but not when Republicans do it, only when Democrats hypothetically do it?

      1. There is nothing hypothetical about it. There is a reason why the Texas Congressional delegation was majority Democrat until about 2000.

    4. This s what has to end–

      it’s A-OK when Dems do it and creeping fascism when the GOP does it.

      Redistricting is part of the law.

      And that’s what it’s called when Dems do it. Re-districting. Because it’s part and parcel of the census process.

      It’s called ‘gerrymandering’ when non-Democrats get enough power to stop Democratic machine politics.

      We need to stop accepting their premises. We need to stop apologizing for wanting OUR ideas in control. The left is WRONG. In every way. They destroy everything they touch. We NEED to stop helping them.

      1. How about instead of offering apologias for either tribe, advocate for something like multi-member slates of candidates to represent districts?

        1. Or you could advocate just ONE fucking idea in your entire pathetic little life that isn’t regurgitated from DNC talking points.

    5. its not “the law”. The “redistrict every 10 years” rule is the result of a COURT decision.

      Moreover, legislatures must follow the relevant constitutions. In the case of PA, the GOP legislature ignored the provisions of Article 1, section 26 of the PA constitution.

      Manipulating district maps to ensure the status quo is wrong. It was wrong when gerrymandering mostly happened to insure that incumbents could keep their seats, and its wrong now when its about manipulation by political parties.

      I mean, point out a Democratically controlled state that is as gerrymandered as PA or Virginia or North Carolina, and I’ll be happy to condemn it, and support any court case brought against it.

  8. So they tilted the new districts in favor of democrats, fitting the definition of “gerrymandering”?

    Where’s my shocked face…

  9. I don’t know how many times I have to say this. The more Republicans shit on democracy, the more institutions outside of the legislative branch will have to push back in ways that may be unpalatable. Let’s deal with the root problem, how about? Anyone?

    1. Sure.

      Reminds me of Citizens United.

    2. Democracy is the tyranny of the majority and institutions outside of the legislative branch are effectively unfazed by any amount of democracy you throw at them.

      Why else do you think Progressives continually create more ‘institutions’ outside of the purview of congress?

      1. Same reason conservatives do. It’s easier that way, and of course it’ll never go rogue and do things you don’t want it to.

        Face it, congress-critters are lazy fucks just like the rest of us.

        1. I don’t think ‘Conservatives’ do that, although I’m more than willing to concede that Republicans do. Primarily because Republicans have their own Progressive wing.

    3. IOW, the more republicans shit on democracy, the more democrats have to shit in democracy too. And of course some republican is saying that in reverse order and is no less correct than you. This ‘they started it’ bullshit is insipid nonsense.

      1. So who tells that to Trump and the alt-right?
        NOTHING happens until somebody goes first

        But Left-Right=Zero

  10. The new district map still has a significant Republican bias, both in terms of proportionality and voter efficiency gap, so if anything the court didn’t go far enough in their redraw.

    Add to that the Republicans had a month to present their own proposal and chose to spend it throwing tantrums before finally submitting a map that was just as gerrymandered as the current one to deliberately thumb their nose at the court. But now they want to complain they didn’t get any input.

    But whatever, keep carrying that GOP water!

    1. Pennsylvania elected Trump in 2016. Its a red state for now.

      It will become more red as blue collar workers flock to the GOP.

      1. 1. Trump won the state by less than 1%, so even based on that metric, you would expect the congressional delegation to be split 9-9. The new map is predicted to go 11-7
        2. In congressional races, the Democrats got more total votes than the Republicans did, so the map is even more Republican biased by that metric.
        3. The voter efficiency gap is still +3% in the Republican favor

        1. 1. Many of PA’s Democrats are so in name only.
          2. Ds have a clustering process.
          3. PA’s state legislature–which is reapportioned by a bipartisan commission–has the largest R majority in 60 years.

          So, more Rs are going to go to Congress regardless of the map.

          1. “clustering problem”

        2. 1. You would think that if your analysis is about an inch deep and thinks of the the state’s demigaphics as thiroughly mixed, rather than that the distribution of democrats is extremely clumpy.

          The court rationalized their decision to throw out the legislatively derived map for doing weird geographical twists in order to achieve a predetermined result. The extralegally produced judicial map does geogrsphically weird things (albeit on a smaller scale) in order to orduce a predetermined result.

          That type of hypocrisy is par for the course from a legislature’s decision making. It is unacceptable coming from a court.

    2. The new district map still has a significant Republican bias

      Who cares? SCOTUS will put a stop to the blatantly unconstitutional shenanigans of the PA court before it matters. The Dems will just have to wait their turn to gerrymander their own map.

      1. The thing that’s being missed is that the State has a Republican bias unless you find a way to decentralize the democrat voters in the urban centers.

        1. Yeah, the post went into that a little. Just checked here and their best-effort at making it “fair” has crazy gerrymanders too.

        2. Which is why the efficiency gap metric is more important than strict proportionality.

          1. Why is it more important?

            It’s the job of the state to insure one city rules the entire state?

            1. It wouldn’t. A map draw with zero efficiency gap in PA would still probably result in Republicans being proportionally over represented in congress.

              The current map has a +18% Republican efficiency gap and results in a 13-5 delegate split in the GOP’s favor

              The court reduced that to +3% Republican efficiency gap and it’s still 11-7 delegate split in the GOP’s favor

              And even map would probably still be 10-8 or 11-7 in the GOP favor.

              So they’re still over represented, just not ridiculously so.

              1. So would you say that districts should be drawn in such a way as to produce exactly even outcomes?

                1. Is the idea that the major parties should be given maps that attempt to guarantee a proportional electoral result should not be considered a good development by non aligned voters.

              2. So they’re still over represented, just not ridiculously so.

                If one party has 3 million voters all located in a small area in a somewhat large state, there is no way to “overcome” an “efficiency gap”.

                Perhaps Progs shouldn’t cluster in small areas.

                Seems like you’re attacking the wrong problem.


                1. Which is why the efficiency gap metric is more important than strict proportionality.

                  A map draw with zero efficiency gap in PA would still probably result in Republicans being proportionally over represented in congress.

                  So then…?

                2. Seems like you’re attacking the wrong problem.

                  Not at all. Democratic Party shills don’t give a fuck about anything but electing Democrats.

          2. You may think that, but as far as I’m aware the law just says that the winners make the maps. Here we have a case of the winners being told that their map isn’t favorable enough even though Democrats were given seats that were entirely bulletproof as well in their urban centers.

            Essentially what’s being said is that Democrats were not given enough bulletproof districts and some of the Republican bulletproof districts need to be made more favorable for contesting elections.

            That may be an ostensibly good goal, but rarely is that how these types of things work themselves out.

            If this precedent is allowed to stand, you can expect gerrymandering to move into the judiciary where it will behave exactly the same as it did before so pretending this is some great thing is to pretend that judges are non-partisan or that Democrats are especially resistant to the urge to gerrymander. Two things do not seem to be in evidence.

            1. you’re dead wrong about what the law says.

              read your constitution first — in PA, read Article 1, section 26.

              The legislature MUST abide by the provisions of the state constitution. Period.

              THAT is the law.

              1. Article I Section 27 of the Pennsylvania constitution states:

                The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.

                Did you by chance misquote?

                1. HA! No, I misquoted. Derp. I apologize.


                  No Discrimination by Commonwealth and Its Political Subdivisions.
                  Section 26.

                  Neither the Commonwealth nor any political subdivision thereof shall deny to any person the enjoyment of any civil right, nor discriminate against any person in the exercise of any civil right.

                  However, I’m still confused on the applicability here.

                  1. Gerrymandering renders the votes of a percentage of the citizens moot, which is has repeatedly been qualified as a civil right in the courts. Hence, it is unconstitutional.

                    Given how polarized the nation is now, I do think that legislatures should be taken out of the role of creating districts. CA did this via the oft-broken initiative process, and now legislative lines are drawn by a commission of retired judges (not partisan judges, ala PA). The irony of the Republican-sponsored CA initiative is that while they wanted the CA Democrats to stop drawing the districts, the GOP actually lost seats as the CA Legislature had mostly been drawing districts to favor incumbents of each party, and the Judge-drawn districts actually reflected CA’s makeup better.

                    Ultimately this is a good thing for all Pennsylvanians’ Civil Rights. It’s only (currently) good for the Democrats because of how gerrymandered the districts have historically been.


  11. There’s a chance the U.S. Supreme Court will review the state court’s actions and rule that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overstepped its constitutional bounds by imposing this map without the consent of the state legislature or the governor.

    Just ‘a chance’? If this doesn’t to the Supreme Court I’d be shocked.

    I’m not really in ‘favor’ of gerrymandering but, whoops, lookie there. The previous map gave Democrats absolutely safe seats as well in a state where Democrats lost.

    What is being said is that Democrats are better at manipulating the levers of power than Republicans, and that the judiciary is usually the tool that they use. Even when, as in this case, they have absolutely no power to do what they did in the first place.

    I have no doubt that if Republicans had attempted the same thing they would not have been successful because, well, the Democrats would have won and the people would have spoken. In the Republican case, they must have tricked voters into electing them at the specific time when redistricting was on the table.

    I’m sure none of us see any downsides in the judiciary drawing the lines for congressional districts going forward. After all, since they don’t actually have the power to do this there won’t be any mechanism to control the process they use to do it.

    Either way, one thing is absolutely certain. Gerrymandering isn’t going anywhere, the only question is who will be allowed to engage in it.

  12. This is straight-out Democrat stealing through their allies on the court. The court looked at the constitution and found themselves a right to legislate that isn’t there.

    See the yellow district in the lower middle of the state? Scott Perry’s seat, solidly R. Now it’s a shot for a D to take because they crossed the Susquehanna and joined the very Democratic East Shore with the West Shore.

    1. And Perry’s current district is an example of pernicious (and racist) gerrymandering. The Harrisburg metro area is deliberately split in a way that totally negates its heavily democratic electorate, and makes it impossible for Harrisburg’s majority black population to have a voice in their federal government.

      Unsurprisingly, you’re very happy with this bit of racist map-making….

      1. Did you feel similarly about Jack Murtha’s permanent seat in the 12th district for 50 fucking years you pathetic Democratic piece of shit hack?

  13. Can’t see how this is remotely legal. No Constitutional provisions in the PA Constitution provides courts the authority to determine districts.

    1. The court claims legislative power in this case from this clause from the state constitution:

      ? 5. Elections.
      Elections shall be free and equal

      What bootstrapping that was.

      1. Except their map is not that either.

        The courts do not have the power to draw districts.

        1. yes they do. Just ask the US Supreme Court, which in 2015 ruled that courts did have that power.

        2. yes they do. Just ask the US Supreme Court, which in 2015 ruled that courts did have that power.

    2. No provision in the PA constitution empowers the legislature to determine districts either — of course, you just repeat what you heard, rather than actually check what the constitution says, like most of the white nationalist crew.

      1. Of course, you just continuously lie and histrionically cry RACIST while copying DNC talking points, like every single basement dwelling virginal Democratic Party shill.

  14. What the fuck is a ” natural geographic disadvantage”?

  15. Whether or not this map is an example of gerrymandering or not, this is a judicial coup. The court has no authority to draw a districting map. This is the sort political disrespect for procedure that rots a republic out from the inside. It is the sort of abuse that warrants impeachment.

    1. Meanwhile a court redraws Maryland’s districts: “A Victory for the Constitution!”

      Legislatures aren’t allowed to pass unconstitutional laws, and courts decide when that happens.

      1. Courts are not allowed to write laws…period. What happens when you come to an impasse like this, but drawing their own map is out of the court’s scope of work. This is a corrosive precedent and no good will come of it.

        1. It’s Republicans’ fault down the line though.

          Nobody said a functioning democratic government was immune to self-destruction, especially when people try so hard to do it.

          1. You are whistling past the graveyard at institutional rot because of a momentary partisan advantage.

    2. Yes, it would have been so much better if the court had just held the legislature in contempt and imprisoned all of them until they produced an acceptable map.

      I can’t decide if that’s sarcasm or not.

      1. Honestly, I would have been more OK with that end result.

      2. Sounds like government.

      3. I know right? Like actually following the law is sooooooo passe.

  16. I’m still confused as to how you can claim both that the mapping is tilted toward Democrats *and* is partisan. Which is it, partisan or tilted toward Democrats? “Partisan” by definition means favoring the GOP. Something that favors the Democrats is called *bipartisan*. I’m not sure if you missed the typo or if you’re just ignorant.

  17. Stop apologizing for either Team Red or Team Blue manipulating district lines so as to take or maintain power. Instead, let’s propose taking that power away from government entirely. Let each state be its own “district”, with representatives chosen using a proportional representation system.

    1. That is a gimmick like a common primary will not do what is advertised to in the most suboptimal fashion.

    2. So let the State choose from one preordained selection? Seems legit.

    3. Stop apologizing for either Team Red or Team Blue and just implement all these talking points I got directly from the DNC!

      Fuck off you pathetic shill.

  18. despite the author’s insistence, there is zero evidence that any district, let alone the 8th, is the result of partisan decisions. A simple comparision of the two maps reveal that the “old” map included a grossly misshapen (e.g. gerrymandered) appendage intruding into Montgomery County from Bucks County. In the new map, a very thin sliver of montco is included in the eighth — so thin, in fact, that no part of montgomery county in the eighth is more than 5 miles from the bucks border. In the old map, the eight intruded 25 miles and more into montco.

    In other words, “compactness”, not partisanship, fully explains the eighth district boundaries.

    1. Well…

      You can have a map with no partisan intent that still has a partisan favor, because unless R and D folks are equally distributed through the state’s population centers, they’ll probably wind up clustered in some district or another.

    2. The shapes should all be 99% convex and not this goddamn tentacle rape monsters that both parties pull in their bullshit partisan map drawing.

  19. Michael Barone: All that you ? and Justice Anthony Kennedy ? need to know about redistricting and gerrymandering

    Quote:
    Does gerrymandering matter? Not as much as you might think. You’re sure to be wrong if you take at face value the rhetoric of liberals who seem to place most of the blame for Republican majorities in the House of Representatives on partisan map-making.

    I have argued repeatedly ? in December 2017, September 2017, July 2015, October 2014, September 2014, January 2014, and February 2013, that redistricting is less important in securing Republican congressional and legislative majorities than demographic clustering ? the fact that Democratic voters are increasingly concentrated in black, Hispanic, gentry liberal and university areas.

    That’s because Democrats’ huge majorities in districts dominated by such voters do nothing to elect Democrats in the remaining districts. A party with clustered constituencies is inevitably disadvantaged by a system of equal-population legislative districts.

    1. Great. An article on tribal partisan bullshit REQUIRES comments filled with tribal partisan bullshit (ideally, balanced)

      1. That explains why you showed up with your DNC talking points and AARP card you diaper shitting old partisan shill.

        1. That explains why you showed up with your DNC talking points

          This is the web archive of my published political writing. Please see Taxes, Health Care and New Federalism while I pee my pants laughing

          My Campaign Interview, State Insurance Commissioner (emphasis added)
          Party: Libertarian
          Campaign theme: Freedom works!

          Deregulate. Open your Yellow Pages. Compare the number of health insurers with the number of auto and home insurers. Then ask yourself which insurance is the most highly regulated – but offers the fewest choices, with out-of-control prices. As you can see, over-regulation is hazardous to your health.

          There are two prices involved: drugs and insurance. Deregulating health insurance will greatly increase the number of insured families. But drug prices would be beyond my control, and another candidate seems to agree. He would form nongovernmental buying co-ops. Great idea, but you don’t need to elect him to get it.

          Insurers have legitimate concerns regarding fraudulent health histories from applicants. But insurance applicants can now be forced to choose between living and lying when new jobs require them to change carriers. Deregulate for portable coverage.

          Your turn. What have you done – for liberty – not your fragile ego?

    2. so a part gets almost 2 to 1 reps in a state that is basically 50/50. No we shouldn’t do a damn thing about that. Bullshit.

  20. Good reading:

    538.com: The Atlas Of Redistricting

    Note that only an outright Democratic gerrymander produces more Democratic seats than any other method of districting.

    1. When THOSE four authors do all the redistricting!

  21. Why are Republicans/conservatives the whiney pussies these days?

    And what nitwit decided this isn’t fucking stupid

    … parties should be entitled to same proportion of seats as votes. However, in PA (and many states), achieving that requires conscious pro-Dem mapping choices.

    Equal balance is pro-Democrat! There was NO COLLUSION. And my Electoral win was a LANDSLIDE

    Complaining about a problem, without posing a solution,
    is whining. -Theodore Roosevelt

    Redistriicting by a balanced committee, Dem/Rep/Ind with a 60% majority for passage. Third parties = Independents, but with separate seat(s) at X% of the vote.

    1. “Equal balance is pro-Democrat!”

      The problem of uneven geographic distribution of voters was touched on in the article and should be easy to comprehend if you are able to do more than hear yourself preen.

      “Redistriicting by a balanced committee, Dem/Rep/Ind with a 60% majority for passage. Third parties = Independents, but with separate seat(s) at X% of the vote.”

      Who selects this committee? Balanced how? Are the Independents truly independent? Platonic Ideals are not achievable in the real world and telling people that there are is lying out naivet? or malevolence.

      1. The problem of uneven geographic distribution of voters was touched on in the article and should be easy to comprehend if you are able to do more than hear yourself preen.

        PREENING: How can it be balanced by party and pro-Democrat, AT THE SAME TIME?

        Who selects this committee?

        Same as now Three separate methods!

        Balanced how?

        REPEAT: “Redistriicting by a balanced committee, Dem/Rep/Ind”

        Are the Independents truly independent?

        They were elected as independents!

        Platonic Ideals are not achievable in the real world and telling people that there are is lying out naivet? or malevolence.

        Appointing the APPOINTED commission and/or committee A DIFFERENT WAY is … platonic. lying, naive or malevolent!! Who knew?

        (Two states already require bipartisan solutions. As a naive liar myself, it seems reasonable that all states use equivalent standards for their APPOINTED commissions/committees, in Congressional Districts)

        Anything else?

        1. Yes, Mikey. Just keep repeating your talking points and pet your stuffed monkey. It helps with the impotent rage of senile dementia makes you cranky. That button next to the bed is for calling the orderlies when your diaper needs changing. And don’t forge to take your pills.

          1. hello.|2.22.18 @ 6:22AM|
            Yes, Mikey. Just keep repeating your talking points and pet your stuffed monkey. It helps with the impotent rage of senile dementia makes you cranky. That button next to the bed is for calling the orderlies when your diaper needs changing. And don’t forge to take your pills.

  22. It’s a ringing endorsement of the ‘partisan fairness’ doctrine: that parties should be entitled to same proportion of seats as votes.

    That doctrine is bullshit. These are 18 separate elections with 18 different sets of voters. No party is entitled to any such thing.

  23. Gerrymandering can and should be done by a mathematic algorithm. Gerrymandering needs to be limited and not for any party in particular. There should roughly equal numbers of reps to population or somebody has fucked up badly. I don’t give a fuck what party you are. Quit being selfish and think about fairness.

    1. Quit being selfish and think about fairness.

      Spoken like a true libertarian!

    2. Bipartisan committee or commission (they vary), 60% majority to adopt
      Make it federal — for federal races only. Uniformity of election standards is a legitimate concern

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