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Continuing my Hundred Thousand Rule series, I'll now focus on what the congressional districts of Alaska and North Dakota would look like if the size of the U.S. House of Representatives were expanded to 3,082 members, or one member for every 100,000 residents of the 50 states, rounded up.

Currently, both North Dakota and Alaska have one house district each, under the Hundred Thousand Rule, both states would have seven house districts each.

NORTH DAKOTA - 7 CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS

North Dakota - Statewide View
North Dakota - Fargo/Cass County Inset
Spreadsheets are available here. Data is from Dave's Redistricting App (DRA), Wikipedia, and my own calculations based on DRA and/or Wikipedia data. Election figures are two-party totals from the 2008 presidential election.

District 1 (Blue)

Total Population: 95,489 (90% White, 1% Black, 4% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 2% Native American, 2% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 75,770 (92% White, 1% Black, 3% Hispanic, 2% Asian/Pacific Islander, 2% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Deviation from Mean District Population: -595 (-0.62%)

2008 Presidential Election: 52.03% Obama, 47.97% McCain

Partisan Lean Relative to Nation: 1.66% Republican

Partisan Lean Relative to State: 6.46% Democratic

This is a Grand Forks-based district that includes the northeastern part of North Dakota. This is the only North Dakota district to not split any counties; the district includes all of Pembina, Walsh, Grand Forks, Steele, and Traill Counties. Surprisingly, this district is only slightly Republican-leaning, and both major parties would probably contest this district, although whoever Republicans nominate would be at least slightly favored under most circumstances.

District 2 (Green)

Total Population: 96,839 (94% White, 1% Black, 2% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 72,525 (96% White, 1% Black, 1% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Deviation from Mean District Population: +755 (+0.78%)

2008 Presidential Election: 49.19% Obama, 50.81% McCain

Partisan Lean Relative to Nation: 4.5% Republican

Partisan Lean Relative to State: 3.62% Democratic

This is a southeastern North Dakota district that includes the rural portions of Cass County, as well as all of Barnes, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, and Dickey Counties. This district is more Democratic than North Dakota as a whole, but it has a fairly heavy Republican lean. A Heidi Heitkamp-type Democrat may be able to win here, especially in a year strongly favorable to Democrats.

District 3 (Purple)

Total Population: 94,901 (89% White, 3% Black, 2% Hispanic, 3% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Native American, 2% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 77,245 (90% White, 2% Black, 2% Hispanic, 3% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Deviation from Mean District Population: -1,183 (-1.25%)

2008 Presidential Election: 56.35% Obama, 43.65% McCain

Partisan Lean Relative to Nation: 2.67% Democratic

Partisan Lean Relative to State: 10.78% Democratic

I've included an inset map for this district; it's a district entirely within Cass County that includes most of the Fargo urban area. This is the only North Dakota district that is more Democratic than the country as a whole according to the 2008 Presidential Election results, although Republicans would likely contest the district.

District 4 (Red)

Total Population: 96,645 (80% White, 1% Hispanic, 17% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 74,225 (84% White, 1% Hispanic, 13% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Deviation from Mean District Population: +561 (+0.58%)

2008 Presidential Election: 48.2% Obama, 51.8% McCain

Partisan Lean Relative to Nation: 5.49% Republican

Partisan Lean Relative to State: 2.63% Democratic

This is a Jamestown/Devils Lake district that includes all of Rolette, Towner, Cavalier, Ramsey, Benson, McHenry, Pierce, Sheridan, Wells, Eddy, Foster, Nelson, Griggs, Kidder, Stutsman, and La Moure Counties, as well as the eastern one-third of Bottineau County. This district is more Democratic than North Dakota as a whole, but it's still Republican-leaning, meaning that it would probably take a Heidi Heitkamp-type Democrat to win here, although this district appears to have a growing Native American population that may allow for a more progressive Democrat to win a district like this a couple of decades or so from now.

District 5 (Yellow)

Total Population: 94,741 (93% White, 1% Black, 1% Hispanic, 4% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 73,758 (95% White, 1% Hispanic, 3% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Deviation from Mean District Population: -1,343 (-1.42%)

2008 Presidential Election: 37.47% Obama, 62.53% McCain

Partisan Lean Relative to Nation: 16.22% Republican

Partisan Lean Relative to State: 8.11% Republican

This district is a Bismarck-based district that includes all of Burleigh, Emmons, Logan, and McIntosh Counties, as well as the southern part of McLean County. Kevin Cramer, the incumbent Republican U.S. Representative, lives in this district and would likely run here. Despite being an overwhelmingly Republican district, there is a Democrat who, at least theoretically, may be able to win this district: Erin Oban, a state senator who won a state senate race in a Bismarck-based district in 2014 by defeating a far-right Republican incumbent. Otherwise, this district would almost certainly elect a Republican.

District 6 (Teal)

Total Population: 96,973 (86% White, 2% Black, 3% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 6% Native American, 2% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 74,534 (89% White, 2% Black, 2% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 5% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Deviation from Mean District Population: +889 (+0.92%)

2008 Presidential Election: 40.51% Obama, 59.49% McCain

Partisan Lean Relative to Nation: 13.18% Republican

Partisan Lean Relative to State: 5.07% Republican

This is the Minot-based northwestern North Dakota district which includes all of Divide, Burke, Renville, Mountrail, and Ward Counties, as well as nearly all of rural Williams County, the portions of McKenzie and Dunn Counties that are on the Fort Berthold Native American reservation, northern, central, and eastern parts of Mercer County, the northern part of McLean County, and the western two-thirds of Bottineau County. This district is a Republican stronghold where the Republican primary is tantamount to election.

District 7 (Gray)

Total Population: 97,003 (90% White, 2% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 6% Native American, 2% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 74,663 (92% White, 1% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 5% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Deviation from Mean District Population: +919 (+0.95%)

2008 Presidential Election: 35.75% Obama, 64.25% McCain

Partisan Lean Relative to Nation: 17.94% Republican

Partisan Lean Relative to State: 9.82% Republican

This is a southwestern North Dakota district that includes nearly all of the areas of North Dakota located south and west of the Missouri River and the Willston area that is on the north bank of the Missouri River. All of Oliver, Morton, Grant, Sioux, Adams, Bowman, Slope, Hettinger, Stark, Billings, and Golden Valley counties are part of the district, as well as the vast majority of McKenzie County, the southern three-fourths of Dunn County, west central and southwestern Mercer County, and Willston and areas along the Missouri River immediately upstream from Willston in Williams County. This is the most Republican district in North Dakota, and whoever wins the Republican nomination would likely win the general election.

Under the Hundred Thousand Rule, North Dakota would have four (at least theoretically) competitive districts (three are Republican-leaning and one is Democratic-leaning), two solidly Republican districts, and one district that a specific Democrat may be able to win but would otherwise be solidly Republican.

ALASKA - 7 CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS

Alaska - Statewide View
Alaska - South Central Alaska Inset
Alaska - Anchorage Inset
Spreadsheets are available here. Data is from DRA, Wikipedia, and my own calculations based on DRA and/or Wikipedia data. Election data is from the 2008 Presidential Election and the 2008 U.S. Senate Election in Alaska.

Several notes regarding Alaska:
- Alaska is one of two states (the other being Louisiana) that does not have counties; Alaska has boroughs as the state's county equivalent. However, many areas of Alaska are not part of any borough, so the "Unorganized Borough" of Alaska is divided into numerous census areas for statistical purposes. Six of Alaska's cities are boroughs onto themselves, these are known as consolidated city-boroughs
- Virtually all Native Americans in Alaska are Alaskan Natives, although there may be a few Native Americans in Alaska that are from a tribe that is not native to Alaska.
- Alaska has probably the most bizarre politics of any state: it's one of the least polarized states in the country, and independent candidates and write-in candidates have been known to win statewide elections in Alaska in recent years.
- The 2008 U.S. Senate election in Alaska had an unusual result: the Democratic challenger, Mark Begich, narrowly defeated the Republican incumbent, Ted Stevens, due to the incumbent having been convicted on federal corruption charges several days before the general election. The 2008 U.S. Senate results are considerably more favorable for Democrats than normal electoral circumstances in Alaska and should be treated as a guide for any hypothetical race between a top-tier Democratic candidate and a tainted Republican candidate, which is a rare scenario in Alaska.

District 1 (Blue)

Total Population: 100,779 (70% White, 1% Black, 4% Hispanic, 5% Asian/Pacific Islander, 14% Native American, 8% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 76,850 (73% White, 1% Black, 3% Hispanic, 5% Asian/Pacific Islander, 14% Native American, 5% Other Races)

Deviation from Mean District Population: -683 (-0.68%)

2008 Presidential Election: 46.58% Obama, 53.42% McCain

2008 U.S. Senate Election: 56.29% Begich, 43.71% Stevens

Partisan Lean Based on 2008 Presidential Election: 7.11% Republican

Partisan Lean Based on 2008 U.S. Senate Election: 6.29% Democratic

This is the Juneau-based southeastern Alaska district; the district includes all of the consolidated city-boroughs of Juneau, Wrangell, Sitka, Haines, and Yakutat, all of the boroughs of Ketchikan Gateway and Petersburg, all of the census areas of Prince of Wales-Hyder, Hoonah-Angoon, Valdez-Cordova, and Southeast Fairbanks, and the mostly sparsely-populated southeastern part of the consolidated city-borough of Anchorage. This district is Republican-leaning and would like, although a Democratic candidate can win here with the right circumstances.

District 2 (Green)

Total Population: 101,559 (72% White, 4% Black, 6% Hispanic, 3% Asian/Pacific Islander, 10% Native American, 6% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 75,466 (75% White, 4% Black, 5% Hispanic, 3% Asian/Pacific Islander, 9% Native American, 4% Other Races)

Deviation from Mean District Population: +97 (+0.1%)

2008 Presidential Election: 37.17% Obama, 62.83% McCain

2008 U.S. Senate Election: 50.47% Begich, 49.53% Stevens

Partisan Lean Based on 2008 Presidential Election: 16.52% Republican

Partisan Lean Based on 2008 U.S. Senate Election: 0.47% Democratic

This is a Fairbanks-based district that includes all of Fairbanks North Star Borough and the northern two-thirds of the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area. Republican U.S. Representative Don Young lives in this district, and he'd run here and likely win. When Young retires, this district would likely elect another Republican, although a Democrat can win if bizarre circumstances allow for that to happen.

District 3 (Purple)

Total Population: 101,044 (Native American plurality; 34% White, 1% Black, 3% Hispanic, 7% Asian/Pacific Islander, 49.8% Native American, 5% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 71,492 (Native American plurality; 40% White, 1% Black, 3% Hispanic, 8% Asian/Pacific Islander, 44% Native American, 4% Other Races)

Deviation from Mean District Population: -418 (-0.41%)

2008 Presidential Election: 44.12% Obama, 55.88% McCain

2008 U.S. Senate Election: 57.38% Begich, 42.62% Stevens

Partisan Lean Based on 2008 Presidential Election: 9.57% Republican

Partisan Lean Based on 2008 U.S. Senate Election: 7.38% Democratic

This is, more than likely, the single largest congressional district by land area under the Hundred Thousand Rule. The district includes all of the northern and western portions of Alaska, taking in all of North Slope, Northwest Artic, Bristol Bay, Kodiak Island, Lake and Peninsula, and Aleutians East boroughs, as well as all of the Nome, Wade Hampton, Bethel, Dillingham, and Aleutians West census areas, the western and central portions of Kenai Peninsula Borough, and the southwestern part of the Yukon-Koyukuk census area. The district is, strangely, a Republican-leaning minority-majority district: despite the district being only 40% white by voting-age population and having a large plurality of Alaskan Natives, Republicans tend to do well in this district, probably due to low turnout among the non-white population. Democrats can win here, although it would take high minority turnout and a tainted Republican candidate for that to happen.

District 4 (Red)

Total Population: 101,977 (73% White, 2% Black, 5% Hispanic, 7% Asian/Pacific Islander, 7% Native American, 5% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 75,755 (77% White, 2% Black, 4% Hispanic, 7% Asian/Pacific Islander, 6% Native American, 4% Other Races)

Deviation from Mean District Population: +515 (+0.51%)

2008 Presidential Election: 33.02% Obama, 66.98% McCain

2008 U.S. Senate Election: 44.44% Begich, 55.56% Stevens

Partisan Lean Based on 2008 Presidential Election: 20.67% Republican

Partisan Lean Based on 2008 U.S. Senate Election: 5.56% Republican

This is a South Anchorage/Kenai Peninsula district, as the southern part of the densely-populated areas of the consolidated city-borough of Anchorage and the northern and eastern parts of Kenai Peninsula itself in Kenai Peninsula Borough are included in the district. This district is strongly Republican.

District 5 (Yellow)

Total Population: 100,716 (83% White, 1% Black, 4% Hispanic, 2% Asian/Pacific Islander, 5% Native American, 6% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 72,000 (85% White, 1% Black, 3% Hispanic, 2% Asian/Pacific Islander, 5% Native American, 4% Other Races)

Deviation from Mean District Population: -746 (-0.74%)

2008 Presidential Election: 25.17% Obama, 74.83% McCain

2008 U.S. Senate Election: 39.95% Begich, 60.05% Stevens

Partisan Lean Based on 2008 Presidential Election: 28.52% Republican

Partisan Lean Based on 2008 U.S. Senate Election: 10.05% Republican

This district is a Wasilla-based district that includes the northeastern sparsely-populated areas of the Anchorage consolidated city-borough and all of Mantanuska-Susitna and Denali boroughs. The only real race here is for the Republican nomination.

District 6 (Teal)

Total Population: 101,601 (53% White, 6% Black, 9% Hispanic, 14% Asian/Pacific Islander, 10% Native American, 8% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 77,957 (59% White, 6% Black, 7% Hispanic, 12% Asian/Pacific Islander, 10% Native American, 5% Other Races)

Deviation from Mean District Population: +139 (+0.14%)

2008 Presidential Election: 51.17% Obama, 48.83% McCain

2008 U.S. Senate Election: 57.82% Begich, 42.18% Stevens

Partisan Lean Based on 2008 Presidential Election: 2.52% Republican

Partisan Lean Based on 2008 U.S. Senate Election: 7.82% Democratic

This district is entirely within the Anchorage consolidated city-borough and includes most of the main Anchorage urban area. This is the only Alaska district to be won by Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, although it's more Republican-leaning than the country as a whole based on the 2008 presidential election. Both major parties would likely contest this district heavily.

District 7 (Gray)

Total Population: 102,555 (64% White, 7% Black, 8% Hispanic, 8% Asian/Pacific Islander, 6% Native American, 7% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 73,333 (69% White, 6% Black, 7% Hispanic, 7% Asian/Pacific Islander, 6% Native American, 5% Other Races)

Deviation from Mean District Population: +1,093 (+1.07%)

2008 Presidential Election: 36.72% Obama, 63.28% McCain

2008 U.S. Senate Election: 49.68% Begich, 50.32% Stevens

Partisan Lean Based on 2008 Presidential Election: 16.97% Republican

Partisan Lean Based on 2008 U.S. Senate Election: 0.32% Republican

This district is also entirely within the Anchorage consolidated city-county, and it includes the easternmost parts of the main Anchorage urban core, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (a combined U.S. Army fort and U.S. Air Force base), and the Eagle River community. Republicans would likely win here, as it would take very unusual circumstances for a Democrat to win.

Under the Hundred Thousand Rule, Republicans would get two or three ultra-safe districts, with the rest being either districts that are competitive for both major parties or districts that favor Republicans, but are not completely safe for them.

Discuss

It's official: the growing opposition to the Indiana religious discrimination law is now bipartisan in nature.

Craig Dunn, the chairman of the Republican Party of Howard County, Indiana (Howard County is in the central/north central part of Indiana; Kokomo is the county seat and largest incorporated municipality in the county), wrote this editorial, which was published by the Howey Politics Indiana website, opposing the religious discrimination law that was passed by the Republican-controlled Indiana General Assembly and signed into law by Republican Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Dunn also went as far as to call for "immediate and full protections" for "gay, lesbian, and transgendered people" in Indiana.

I'll quote the key parts of Dunn's editorial here:

...As far as the legislation goes, this bill was not needed. It was a bill in search of a problem that just did not exist. Section Two of the Indiana State Constitution reads: “All people shall be secured in the natural right to worship ALMIGHTY GOD, according to the dictates of their own consciences.” Further Section Three reads: “No law shall, in any case whatever, control the free exercise and enjoyment of religious opinions or interfere with the rights of conscience.”  

[...]

Why then, would Republicans risk the wrath of a significant segment of the public to craft a bill that says substantially the same thing as the State Constitution? And, pray tell, exactly what religious freedoms have been trampled upon that needed to be restored? You see, that is the precise problem with this bill and exactly why the religious right loves it and much of the public hates it. Senate Bill 101 is just about the most befuddled, inexact and non-descriptive piece of legislation ever to be passed in Indiana.

[...]

This mess, and it is the messiest of messes, will only be cleaned up by granting immediate and full protections to gay, lesbian and transgendered people. This means civil unions and all that goes with it. In addition, Republicans in the legislature will need to take actions that prevent any further attempt to abrogate the right of any human to pursue their own brand of Hoosier happiness as is guaranteed by the First Section of the Indiana Constitution. Any action short of this will be the equivalent of taking aspirin for a brain tumor.

That is the kind of editorial that I would have expected from a Democratic state legislator, party official, or activist, not from a Republican Party official.

Mike Pence has made himself the biggest dumbass in the history of Indiana politics by signing a religious discrimination bill into law and then dodging the media's questions about the law and the role he played in enacting the law. Now, there's at least one person in his own party who believes that discriminating against LGBT people is a ridiculous idea. While I strongly disagree with Craig Dunn on most issues, one issue where I do agree with him is that LGBT rights should be legally protected.

Discuss

It's pretty clear to me that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid hates democracy, at least within the Democratic Party, and that he at least tacitly supports the destruction of Social Security.

I'm not kidding at all when I say that.

Despite the Democratic primary likely being tantamount to election in the race to replace retiring Democratic U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Reid has decided to back U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen, a corporate Democrat who, among other things, supports the Simpson-Bowles plan to cut Social Security benefits and destroy what little remains of the middle class, for the Democratic nomination in next year's Maryland U.S. Senate race despite the fact that several other Democrats, including Baltimore Mayor and DNC Secretary Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, U.S. Representative Donna Edwards, U.S. Representative Dutch Ruppersberger, and Former Maryland State Delegate Heather Mizeur are, last I knew, considering running for Mikulski's seat in the Senate.

It's pretty clear to me that Harry Reid is afraid that an actual progressive, such as Representative Edwards or Former Delegate Mizeur, might actually win the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Maryland, win the general election, and oppose whatever plan Reid has of selling out to the far-right Republicans by supporting some part of their corporate, anti-middle class agenda. The fact that Reid would back a corporate Democrat like Chris Van Hollen while several other Democrats, some ideologically similar to Van Hollen and others considerably more progressive than him, are considering running for U.S. Senate in a heavily-Democratic state proves that Reid, as well as many others in the failed, out-of-touch, out-of-ideas Democratic establishment, view progressives who support restoring the middle class, not Republicans who want to impose a destructive far-right agenda on the American people, as the real threat to his political power. Reid thinks that the Democratic Party is his personal fiefdom and that he can dictate to his fellow Democrats who they should support. While many in the Democratic establishment like to refer to the Democratic Party as a "big tent", they certainly don't act like the party is a big tent.

The top-down party mismanagement of the current leadership of the Democratic Party is exactly why right-wing and far-right Republicans like Larry Hogan, Bruce Rauner, Joni Ernst, and Scott Walker are able to win statewide races in states that don't strongly favor Republicans. I'll flatly say that, if Donna Edwards decides to run against Chris Van Hollen in the U.S. Senate primary in Maryland, I'll proudly endorse her campaign despite the fact that I live in Illinois. She bravely stood up to the Democratic establishment once when she took on corporate Democrat Al Wynn and defeated him in a contested U.S. House primary, despite the fact that most of the Democratic establishment supported Wynn and opposed her campaign. She took on the Democratic establishment once before and won, and she can do it again!

Discuss

For all of the talk about Hillary Clinton using private email for official correspondence when she was U.S. Secretary of State, likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush also used private email for official correspondence when he was Florida's chief executive:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush owns the server that runs jeb@jeb.org, the personal email account he used as governor to conduct official, political and personal business.

Asked who controls the server that operates that email address, Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell responded: “He owns it.”

The server was housed in a state-owned office building during the years that Bush served as governor, from 1999 until early 2007. A Bush source familiar with the situation said there were “digital security” measures in place to protect Bush’s emails, but declined to elaborate on how the server and its data were physically and digitally kept from harm. The aide also declined to elaborate on whether the server was “homebrew,” as an email server housed in Hillary Clinton’s Chappaqua home was described by The Associated Press in a Wednesday report.

Using a personal email address and running the address on a personally owned can help protect emails from subpoenas and other legal actions.

I believe that using personal email accounts for government correspondence of any kind is highly unethical, regardless who does it. Also, I find it blatantly hypocritical that Republicans are blasting Hillary Clinton over her use of personal email for official correspondence, while one of the individuals who will likely run for the Republican presidential nomination, Jeb Bush, also used personal email for official correspondence.
Discuss

As I announced a couple of days ago, I'm going to do a series of diaries on what our nation's congressional districts would look like if the U.S. House of Representatives had 3,082 members, or one member for every 100,000 residents of the 50 states, rounded up.

As part of this series, I'll provide maps, created using Dave's Redistricting App (DRA) of what each state's congressional districts would look like, as well as sets of spreadsheets containing information about each district's total population, voting age population, population by race, deviation from the mean district population (i.e., how much each district is overpopulated or underpopulated compared to the total state population divided by the number of districts), two-party results and percentages from past elections, and the partisan lean of each state (depending on the specific partisan lean figure, partisan lean can be relative to either the entire country (i.e, relative to a Democratic candidate's nationwide percentage), the state (i.e., relative to a Democratic candidate's statewide percentage), 50%, or any other figure that I otherwise state). Data used in the spreadsheets either comes from DRA or is based on DRA data and uses my calculations, except for the "national" 2008 presidential election figures, which come from Wikipedia, and any state-specific exemption I make.

The first two states that I'll feature are Wyoming and Vermont, which would each have six congressional districts if the House had 3,082 members. Currently, both states have only one U.S. Representative apportioned to them.

WYOMING - 6 CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS

Link to spreadsheet set. Electoral data is of the 2008 Presidential Election.

District 1 (Blue)

Population: 93,274 (90% White, 7% Hispanic, 1% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 69,882 (92% White, 6% Hispanic, 1% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Deviation: -664

2008 Presidential Election: Obama 22.81%, McCain 77.19%

Partisan Lean: 30.88% Republican

This district includes much of east-central and northeastern Wyoming. The district includes all of Crook, Weston, Niobrara, Converse, and Platte Counties, as well as the southern, central, and east-central parts of Campbell County and the northern part of Goshen County. This is the most Republican district in Wyoming, in fact, it's one of the most Republican districts in the entire country.

District 2 (Green)

Population: 94,727 (81% White, 2% Black, 13% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Native American, 2% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 71,683 (84% White, 2% Black, 11% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Deviation: +789

2008 Presidential Election: Obama 38.88%, McCain 61.12%

Partisan Lean: 14.8% Republican

This is a Cheyenne-based district that includes the southeastern corner of the state, taking in all of Laramie County and the southern part of Goshen County. Republican incumbent Cynthia Lummis lives in this heavily-Republican district, and she would probably win re-election easily here despite the fact that the district has the highest percentage of ethnic minorities of any district (although it's still over 80% white by total population).

District 3 (Purple)

Population: 93,485 (82% White, 1% Black, 13% Hispanic, 2% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Native American, 2% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 72,523 (84% White, 1% Black, 11% Hispanic, 2% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Deviation: -453

2008 Presidential Election: 43.18% Obama, 56.82% McCain

Partisan Lean: 10.51% Republican

This is a Laramie-based district that includes the south central part of Wyoming, taking in all of Albany and Carbon Counties, as well as the eastern two-thirds of Sweetwater County. While it is the most Democratic district in the state at 9.74% more Democratic than Wyoming as a whole, it's still a heavily-Republican district that would likely elect a Republican to Congress.

District 4 (Red)

Population: 94,521 (89% White, 8% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 71,301 (91% White, 7% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Deviation: +583

2008 Presidential Election: 35.46% Obama, 64.54% McCain

Partisan Lean: 18.23% Republican

This district includes much of western Wyoming, taking in all of Teton, Sublette, Lincoln, and Unita Counties, as well as western and northern Park County and the western one-third of Sweetwater County. The Wyoming portion of Yellowstone National Park is located in the northern part of this district. This district is slightly more Democratic-leaning than the state as a whole, which means that it's heavily Republican.

District 5 (Yellow)

Population: 94,478 (89% White, 6% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 3% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 72,487 (91% White, 5% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 2% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Deviation: +540

2008 Presidential Election: 25.53% Obama, 74.47% McCain

Partisan Lean: 28.16% Republican

This district includes much of the north-central part of Wyoming, taking in all of Sheridan, Johnson, Big Horn, Washakie, and Hot Springs Counties, as well as the eastern and southern parts of Park County and the northern part of Fremont County. This district is overwhelmingly Republican.

District 6 (Teal)

Population: 93,141 (84% White, 1% Black, 6% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 7% Native American, 2% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 70,348 (86% White, 1% Black, 5% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 6% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Deviation: -797

2008 Presidential Election: 35.2% Obama, 64.8% McCain

Partisan Lean: 18.49% Republican

This district is a Casper-based district in the central part of Wyoming that includes all of Natrona County and the southern and western parts of Fremont County. While slightly more Democratic than the rest of the state and having the largest Native American population of any Wyoming district, it's still a heavily-Republican district.

Under the Hundred Thousand Rule, Wyoming goes from a 1-0 Republican delegation to a likely 6-0 Republican delegation barring any surprise Democratic victories.

VERMONT - 6 CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS

Link to spreadsheet set. Election data is of the 2008 Presidential election and the 2012 U.S. Senate election. The 2012 U.S. Senate data is from the Vermont Secretary of State's website; a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet of the data (along with other 2012 Vermont election data) is available here. The "Partisan Lean according to 2012 U.S. Senate Election" figures treat Bernie Sanders, an independent candidate, as if he were a Democrat; Sanders's Republican opponent that year was John MacGovern. The partisan lean figures for the 2012 U.S. Senate election are relative to 50%, so, if Bernie Sanders got 70% of the vote in a district, the partisan Lean of the district according to 2012 U.S. Senate election would be 20% Democratic, even though Sanders was an independent candidate and not actually a Democrat.

An unusual factor in Vermont politics is that Vermont actually has a three-party system below the presidential level: in addition to the two major parties, the Progressive Party of Vermont holds several state legislative seats.

District 1 (Blue)

Population: 104,925 (90% White, 3% Black, 2% Hispanic, 3% Asian/Pacific Islander, 2% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 86,303 (91% White, 2% Black, 2% Hispanic, 3% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Other Races)

Deviation: +635

2008 Presidential Election: 75.96% Obama, 24.04% McCain

2012 U.S. Senate Election: 78.28% Sanders, 21.72% MacGovern

Partisan Lean according to 2008 Presidential Election: 22.27% Democratic

Partisan Lean according to 2012 U.S. Senate Election: 28.28% Democratic

This district is difficult to see on the map above, but it's the blue-colored district on the western edge of the state. Anyways, it's a district entirely within Chittenden County, including the City of Burlington and several surrounding cities and towns. This is the most Democratic district in Vermont, and it also has the highest percentage of ethnic minorities of any Vermont district. Democratic incumbent Peter Welch lives here, and the only way he'd lose re-election is either to a Democratic primary challenger or a Progressive Party member in the general election.

District 2 (Green)

Population: 104,028 (95% White, 1% Black, 1% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Native American, 2% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 78,602 (96% White, 1% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Native American, 1% Other Races)

Deviation: -262

2008 Presidential Election: 65.14% Obama, 34.86% McCain

2012 U.S. Senate Election: 72.07% Sanders, 27.93% MacGovern

Partisan Lean according to 2008 Presidential Election: 11.45% Democratic

Partisan Lean according to 2012 U.S. Senate Election: 22.07% Democratic

This northwestern Vermont district includes all of Grand Isle County, the eastern and northern parts of Chittenden County, and all but one town in Franklin County. This is the most Republican district in Vermont, but it should elect a Democrat barring a scandal or a surprise Progressive Party victory.

District 3 (Purple)

Population: 103,286 (96% White, 1% Black, 1% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 2% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 80,872 (97% White, 1% Hispanic, 1% Other Races)

Deviation: -1,004

2008 Presidential Election: 66.38% Obama, 33.62% McCain

2012 U.S. Senate Election: 72.77% Sanders, 27.23% MacGovern

Partisan Lean according to 2008 Presidential Election: 12.69% Democratic

Partisan Lean according to 2012 U.S. Senate Election: 22.77% Democratic

This northeastern Vermont district includes all of Caledonia, Essex, Lamoille, and Orleans Counties, the northern part of Washington County, and a single town along the U.S./Canada border in Franklin County. Even though this district is more Republican than Vermont as a whole, it should elect a Democrat barring a scandal or a surprise Progressive Party victory.

District 4 (Red)

Population: 104,606 (95% White, 1% Black, 2% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 2% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 83,228 (95% White, 1% Black, 2% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Other Races)

Deviation: +316

2008 Presidential Election: 69.12% Obama, 30.88% McCain

2012 U.S. Senate Election: 75.38% Sanders, 24.62% MacGovern

Partisan Lean according to 2008 Presidential Election: 15.44% Democratic

Partisan Lean according to 2012 U.S. Senate Election: 25.38% Democratic

This central Vermont district is a Montpelier-based district that includes all of Orange County, northern Addison County, and southern, central, and east-central Washington County. This district would likely elect either a Democrat or a Progressive Party member.

District 5 (Yellow)

Population: 103,746 (96% White, 1% Black, 1% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 83,290 (97% White, 1% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Other Races)

Deviation: -544

2008 Presidential Election: 66.43% Obama, 33.57% McCain

2012 U.S. Senate Election: 72.65% Sanders, 27.35% MacGovern

Partisan Lean according to 2008 Presidential Election: 12.74% Democratic

Partisan Lean according to 2012 U.S. Senate Election: 22.65% Democratic

This is a Rutland-based district that includes all of Rutland County, southern Addison County, and northern and central Windsor County. This district has the lowest percentage of ethnic minorities of any Vermont district, but it should easily elect a Democrat barring a scandal or a surprise Progressive Party victory.

District 6 (Teal)

Population: 105,150 (95% White, 1% Black, 2% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 2% Other Races)

Voting Age Population: 84,143 (96% White, 1% Black, 1% Hispanic, 1% Asian/Pacific Islander, 1% Other Races)

Deviation: +860

2008 Presidential Election: 70.22% Obama, 29.78% McCain

2012 U.S. Senate Election: 73.29% Sanders, 26.71% MacGovern

Partisan Lean according to 2008 Presidential Election: 16.53% Democratic

Partisan Lean according to 2012 U.S. Senate Election: 23.29% Democratic

This district includes the southernmost part of Vermont, including all of Bennington and Windham Counties, as well as southern and east-central Windsor County. This district is slightly more Republican than Vermont as a whole according to the 2012 U.S. Senate results but slightly more Democratic as a whole according to the 2008 presidential election results.

Under the Hundred Thousand Rule, Vermont goes from a 1-0 Democratic delegation to a 6-0 Democratic delegation, unless one or more Republicans and/or Progressive Party members pull off surprise victories.

The next diary in the Hundred Thousand Rule series will feature Alaska and North Dakota.

Discuss

Michael Sneed of the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, who wants to drive down wages and bust unions in Illinois, is actively supporting Rahm Emanuel's re-election campaign in the April 7 run-off election for Mayor of Chicago. Specifically, Rauner has made at least two phone calls to Willie Wilson, who got third place in the first round of the Chicago mayoral race and, as a result, did not make the runoff, in an attempt to convince Wilson, who supported Rauner in last year's Illinois gubernatorial election and was a member of Rauner's post-election transition team, to publicly endorse Rahm:

(Michael) Sneed hears Gov. Bruce Rauner has called former mayoral candidate Willie Wilson twice to encourage him to endorse Mayor Rahm Emanuel in April’s runoff election.

Rauner and Wilson are expected to meet Saturday. Wilson supported Rauner in his gubernatorial campaign last year, and in turn Rauner appointed him to his transition committee.

On Thursday, Wilson announced he was retracting the promise he made on the eve of Election Day that he would endorse Garcia in the event of a runoff.

Make no mistake about it, when it comes to driving down wages, busting unions, destroying public education, stealing retirees' pension benefits, privatizing government, and giving more power and wealth to the wealthiest and most politically connected Illinoisans, Bruce Rauner and Rahm Emanuel are on the same page. The fact that Rauner is now actively working behind the scenes in a desperate attempt to revive Rahm's failing re-election bid in Chicago proves it.

Regardless of who Willie Wilson endorses (although I think that he'll endorse Rahm Emanuel), the April 7 Chicago mayoral runoff election is the first real opportunity that people in our state's largest city will have to send a clear message that they strongly oppose the Rahm-Rauner corporate agenda to turn Illinois into an even worse state than it currently is. I strongly encourage Chicagoans to show up at the polls on April 7 and vote for Jesus "Chuy" Garcia for Mayor of Chicago. If elected, Chuy will fight for a better and more progressive Chicago, including pushing for a moratorium on charter schools, making housing more accessible and affordable, ending the corruption and getting rid of the waste in Chicago's tax increment finance (TIF) program, improving public transit in Chicago, and making Chicago a more inclusive city for all.

Discuss

In May of 2012, I wrote this diary announcing that I was going to do a series of DailyKos diaries illustrating how each state's congressional and state legislative districts would look like if there was one member of the U.S. House of Representatives for every 100,000 people.

Well, I completely forgot about what I was planning to do not long after I wrote the original diary, so I'm going to make the following announcement: sometime in the next few days, you're going to see the first diary in the Hundred Thousand Rule fantasy redistricting series. The first diary in the series will cover Wyoming and Vermont. I already have the maps for Wyoming and Vermont saved on my hard drive, and I'll spend the next couple of days creating detailed sets of spreadsheets using Google Sheets and the CD data that DRA provides, as well as images of the hypothetical districts of the first two states in my series.

Additionally, I'm going to do my series based on a hypothetical 3,082-seat U.S. House of Representatives (one seat for every 100,000 residents who live in the 50 states, rounded up), instead of a 3,081-seat House like I originally planned on doing. I did a spreadsheet showing how many seats each state would be apportioned if there were 3,092 House seats here, and here's how many seats each state would be apportioned if there were 3,082 House seats:

Alabama - 48
Alaska - 7
Arizona - 64
Arkansas - 29
California - 373
Colorado - 50
Connecticut - 36
Delaware - 9
Florida - 188
Georgia - 97
Hawaii - 14
Idaho - 16
Illinois - 128
Indiana - 65
Iowa - 30
Kansas - 29
Kentucky - 43
Louisiana - 45
Maine - 13
Maryland - 58
Massachusetts - 65
Michigan - 99
Minnesota - 53
Mississippi - 30
Missouri - 60
Montana - 10
Nebraska - 18
Nevada - 27
New Hampshire - 13
New Jersey - 88
New Mexico - 21
New York - 194
North Carolina - 95
North Dakota - 7
Ohio - 115
Oklahoma - 38
Oregon - 38
Pennsylvania - 127
Rhode Island - 11
South Carolina - 46
South Dakota - 8
Tennessee - 63
Texas - 251
Utah - 28
Vermont - 6
Virginia - 80
Washington - 67
West Virginia - 19
Wisconsin - 57
Wyoming - 6

Sometime this weekend, I'll have the first diary in my Hundred Thousand Rule fantasy redistricting series online. I apologize for the extremely long wait.

Discuss

Remember when legendary Wisconsin progressive blogger Chris "Capper" Liebenthal uncovered the Scott Walker War on Christmas? Well, Capper is back with another Walker email that he brought to the attention of the readers of Cognitive Dissidence, the blog that Capper is the lead author of. This time, Walker sent out an email, in which Walker went full Sarah Palin and whined about the corporate news media in this country, which is, as a whole, conservative-leaning, asking him actual questions about important political issues and political controversies in which Walker is involved in, through his state campaign committee in Wisconsin.

You can read the Walker email here, I'll quote the relevant part of it on here for those of you who don't want to read anything published by Scott Walker's campaign operation:

And he refuses to be distracted by the small, petty, and pale ideas that the "gotcha" writers for the Liberal Media want to talk about. He refuses to be drawn into the sideshow of answering pointless questions about whether or not President Obama loves our country. To Governor Walker, what matters are ideas, issues, his record, and results...

When you have a record like President Obama and the Democrats', the last thing you want to talk about are results. That is why their defenders in the mainstream media love to distract the public. That is why they sensationalize the news, promote Democrat propaganda, and criticize Republicans.

It's 100% clear to me that Scott Walker thinks that the corporate media in this country should kiss his ass and force far-right political propaganda down the throats of the American people, something I strongly disagree with. Outside of FOX News, right-wing talk radio, and other obviously far-right media outlets, many in the corporate news media are at least occassionally willing to ask politicians hardball questions about important political issues and serious controversies, and it's clear to me that Walker thinks that he shouldn't be questioned by anybody. Walker's claim that the corporate news media in this country is only interested in promoting Democratic propaganda is absolute hogwash, as, if the corporate news media in this country was actually in the tank for the Democratic Party (something which I despise just as much as the media being in the tank for the Republicans), Walker would have never been elected Governor of Wisconsin. People like Ruth Conniff, Rebecca Kemble (who, by the way, is the progressive candidate in the 18th Madison, Wisconsin city council district race in April), John Nichols, and John "Sly" Sylvester, who are all part of an actual left-wing media in Wisconsin, don't have the reach that the right-wing media in Wisconsin, which includes right-wing shock jocks like Charlie Sykes and Mark Belling and right-wing propaganda outfits like Right Wisconsin, Media Trackers, and Wisconsin Reporter, have, since the traditional newspapers and local TV news programs in Wisconsin will repeat the right-wing media's lies without presenting any kind of left-wing perspective on a story. While there is quite a bit of sensationalism in the corporate news media in this country, nearly all of it benefits Republicans electorally.

If Walker wants to talk about his ideas, issues, record, and results, he's one of the worst state governors in American history by that metric. Walker promised that his far-right agenda of, among other things, driving down wages, busting unions, infringing on the rights of workers, women, voters, and people, gutting and privatizing public education, and giving out corporate welfare to his campaign donors would provide at least 250,000 new jobs and a ton of prosperity for the people of the State of Wisconsin by the start of this year, and Walker didn't even come close to meeting that goal, in fact, his agenda has caused the Wisconsin economy to grow at a slower rate than the national economy as a whole over the first four years Walker was in office. Now, Walker wants to, among other things, implement wage theft (i.e., right-to-work-for-less) legislation that many local business organizations in Wisconsin refuse to publicly support and gut the public university system in Wisconsin, both of which would severely hurt Wisconsin's economy.

Now, Walker wants to be president so that he, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and the rest of the far-right Republicans in Washington, D.C. can, among other things, drive down wages, bust unions nationwide, fast-track the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in order to make America less energy secure, start more wars in third-world countries, take away health insurance from millions of Americans, infringe on the right of women to make their own reproductive health care decisions, install right-wing activist federal judges that would implement a far-right political agenda against the will of the American people, enact more free-trade agreements to ship more American jobs overseas, and allow Wall Street to destroy the American economy again. While Walker will claim to be a moderate and mislead the American people in his likely presidential campaign, we know what the real Walker-Boehner-McConnell agenda is, and if Walker appears on a general election ballot in my home state of Illinois, I would walk through fire if that's what I have to do to get to the polls in order to vote for the Democratic opponent to him.

Discuss

For someone who calls himself "unintimidated", Scott Walker is acting like he's very intimidated as a likely candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.

First, Walker was intimidated by Martha Raddatz in an interview on ABC's This Week earlier this month, in which Walker managed to expose himself as a war hawk and waffle through an interview all at once.

Now, Walker has been intimidated by Charles Darwin, a British naturalist has been dead for nearly 133 years. That's because Walker refused to give a straight answer to a question that Walker was asked by the media while on a "trade mission" (which is actually more like a publicity mission) in Darwin's home country of the United Kingdom whether or not he believed in evolution, the change in traits of various living animals, plants, and other types of organisms over a period of time. Here's how Walker responded to media questions about his views on evolution:

I'm going to punt on that one as well.
I love the evolution of trade in Wisconsin.
Charles Darwin's theory of evolution has repeatedly been proven to be true time and time again by scientific researchers, and yet Scott Walker won't say whether or not he believes in evolution. Americans simply cannot trust Scott Walker...after all, if he can't give a straight answer to a question on evolution of species, the American people can't trust Walker on the big issues, such as the economy.

On an slightly related note, I'm not sure if "punting" is a British political metaphor for refusing to give a straight answer to a hardball question, but it's worth noting that, in rugby, a sport that has a large fan base in the British Isles and is the ancestor sport to American football, punting is often utilized in a similar manner to how punting is utilized in American football (i.e., in an attempt to pin the opposing team deep in its own territory).

Discuss

Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has issued an executive order that effectively makes Illinois a "right-to-work-for-less" state for public-sector workers by allowing non-union public employees to effectively steal wages and other benefits of union contracts without paying for them in the form of either union dues or fair share fees:

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner launched the first of his promised attacks on the state’s labor unions on Monday with an executive order intended to end the legal requirement for Illinois state workers who are not members of unions to pay agency or “fair share” fees to cover the costs to the union of bargaining on their behalf. The action is a shot across the bow by a governor who clearly intends to go to war with organized labor in Illinois.

Currently, all unionized state employees must pay an agency fee. According to the governor, 6,500 workers are now paying this fee—what he dubs an “unfair share” to one of the several unions representing a significant share of the state’s workforce. Until the courts rule on his executive order, Rauner said the dues of the 6,500 will be held in escrow.

[...]

Rauner not only chose to make the attack on organized labor one of his earliest actions, but also chose to bypass the state legislature, where Democrats control both houses and could have been expected to reject this public sector equivalent of the “right-to-work” laws for private sector workers.

Thankfully, our state's public employee unions are strongly opposed to Rauner's unilateral busting of public employee unions, in fact, AFSCME Council 31, our state's largest public employee union, is organizing against Rauner's union-busting efforts:
Anti-union strategists obviously hope that more workers will choose to forego paying dues if they can, but some unions, including the largest public sector union in the state, AFSCME Council 31 (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), say they have already started an escalated plan of internal organizing to strengthen support for the union and worker solidarity.

“Bruce Rauner’s scheme to strip the rights of state workers and weaken their unions by executive order is a blatantly illegal abuse of power,” AFSCME Council 31 director Roberta Lynch said. “Perhaps as a private equity CEO Rauner was accustomed to ignoring legal and ethical standards, but Illinois is still a democracy and its laws have meaning. … Our union and all organized labor will stand together with those who believe in democracy to overturn Bruce Rauner’s illegal action and restore the integrity of the rule of law.”

While this executive order does not appear to effect private-sector unions and workers, that doesn't change the fact that this executive order effectively allows non-union public employees in Illinois to effectively steal wages and other benefits of union contracts without paying for them via union dues or fair share fees. Bruce Rauner thinks that he can do whatever he wants without having to face any consequences whatsoever simply because he bought a low-turnout gubernatorial election last year with his money and the money of his right-wing cronies. Illinois progressives and labor union members are not going to back down and roll over to Rauner's heavy-handed tactics to bust unions, drive down wages, and further weaken an already weak Illinois economy. Can we get 100,000+ Illinoisans to peacefully protest outside of our state capitol?
Discuss

Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, now the frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination (at least in the Iowa Caucuses), managed to do two things to alienate a large segment of the American people on ABC's This Week: he exposed himself as a war hawk, and he completely waffled, in both the American and British sense of the word, when asked a simple foreign policy question about whether or not he'd send ground troops into Syria to fight against the Islamic fundamentalist terror group ISIS.

You can watch the video of Martha Raddatz's interview of Walker here. For those of you who can't stomach watching Walker speak, here's a transcript of Martha Raddatz's interview of Walker, courtesy of PoliticusUSA:

RADDATZ: Let’s talk about some specific, and you talk about leadership and you talk about big, bold, fresh ideas. What is your big, bold, fresh idea in Syria?

WALKER: Well, I think – I go back to the red line.

RADDATZ: Let’s not go back. Let’s go forward. What is your big, bold idea in Syria?

WALKER: I think aggressively, we need to take the fight to ISIS and any other radical Islamic terrorist in and around the world, because it’s not a matter of when they attempt an attack on American soil, or not if I should say, it’s when, and we need leadership that says clearly, not only amongst the United States but amongst our allies, that we’re willing to take appropriate action. I think it should be surgical.

RADDATZ: You don’t think 2,000 air strikes is taking it to ISIS in Syria and Iraq?

WALKER: I think we need to have an aggressive strategy anywhere around the world. I think it’s a mistake to –

RADDATZ: But what does that mean? I don’t know what aggressive strategy means. If we’re bombing and we’ve done 2,000 air strikes, what does an aggressive strategy mean in foreign policy?

WALKER: I think anywhere and everywhere, we have to be – go beyond just aggressive air strikes. We have to look at other surgical methods. And ultimately, we have to be prepared to put boots on the ground if that’s what it takes, because I think, you know–

RADDATZ: Boots on the ground in Syria? U.S. boots on the ground in Syria?

WALKER: I don’t think that is an immediate plan, but I think anywhere in the world–

RADDATZ: But you would not rule that out.

WALKER: I wouldn’t rule anything out. I think when you have the lives of Americans at stake and our freedom loving allies anywhere in the world, we have to be prepared to do things that don’t allow those measures, those attacks, those abuses to come to our shores.

I searched "waffle definition" on Google, and I got a pair of dictionary-style entries for the word "waffle", the first one of which included North American English and British English defintions of the verb "waffle".

Here's the North American definition of the verb "waffle":

fail to make up one's mind.
Here's the British definition of the verb "waffle":
speak or write, especially at great length, without saying anything important or useful.
In both the North American and British senses of the word, Scott Walker completely waffled on whether or not he'd send U.S. ground troops into Syria to fight a war against ISIS, also referred to as ISIL or the Islamic State. Walker refused to say decisively whether or not he'd send ground troops into Syria to fight against ISIS (although his use of various neocon buzzwords and the fact that he stopped short of outright calling for boots on the ground to combat ISIS that he's a war hawk who would likely send ground troops into battle against ISIS), and he spoke at great length about wanting to get tough on Islamic fundamentalist terror groups but gave virtually no specifics on what he'd do on foreign policy if elected president.

Not only does Scott Walker's horrible domestic policy track record in his home state of Wisconsin frighten me (he's racked up a multi-billion dollar state budget deficit, privatized public education, busted unions, gave his cronies pay raises, and handed out corporate welfare and tax breaks to the wealthy), his vague, hawkish foreign policy frightens me as well.

Discuss

Rahm Emanuel, the incumbent Mayor of Chicago who claims to be a Democrat but is Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner's vacation buddy, publicly railed against a non-binding referendum on whether or not voters support proposed directly-elected Chicago school board at a public forum for Chicago mayoral candidates by bizarrely claiming that democracy is nothing more than way of tricking voters:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Saturday that nonbinding referendums calling for an elected school board on next month's mayoral ballot are a politically inspired effort to "trick" voters at the polls because the concept is going nowhere in Springfield.

Speaking at a mayoral campaign forum with his four Feb. 24 election challengers — although each appeared on stage separately — Emanuel said elected school board referendum proposals appearing on ballots in 37 of the city's 50 wards aren't backed by new Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner or state lawmakers.

"You know, the governor said he's not for it. The legislature said that they're not for it and I don't think we should actually convince (or) trick people by having a political campaign issue as a way to fixing our schools," Emanuel told an audience at a Loop forum hosted by the Chicago Women Take Action Alliance, a coalition of several groups.

Every single one of Rahm's opponents who appeared at the forum, including Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, who has been endorsed by this website, the Chicago Teachers' Union (CTU), and me, publicly supported a directly-elected Chicago school board.

The last time that Republicans had total control of the legislative and executive branches here in Illinois was for a two year period in the mid-1990's, and they took that opportunity an enacted a state law that mandated that Chicago's school board consist of political appointees by the mayor while still allowing small communities in downstate Illinois like Westville, a community in the east central part of the state with less than 3,000 residents, to continue to have directly-elected school boards serving them and nearby areas. In fact, Chicago is the only area of Illinois that is not served by a directly-elected school board.

The appointed Chicago school board is rife with conflicts of interest. One example of this is venture capitalist and Rahm-appointed Chicago school board member Deborah Quazzo financially benefiting from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) contracts:

Companies that Chicago Board of Education member Deborah Quazzo has an interest in have seen the business they get from the city’s schools system triple since Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed her to the board last year, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.

From 2010 until her June 2013 appointment, the total payout to companies that Quazzo invested in has come to about $930,000, the records show.

Quazzo’s companies have gotten an additional $2.9 million in Chicago Public Schools business in the year and a half since the millionaire venture capitalist joined the board to fill a vacancy left by Penny Pritzker when President Barack Obama named Pritzker commerce secretary.

In all, five companies in which Quazzo has an ownership stake have been paid more than $3.8 million by CPS for ACT prep or online help with reading, writing and math. One of them stands to collect an additional $1.6 million this year from a district contract.

For Rahm Emanuel to publicly call democracy (in this specific case, voters being able to send a message to state legislators that they want them to pass a bill to allow them to elect who they want to serve on their city's school board), a way of tricking people is absolutely absurd. Maybe it's because I'm a downstater, but I find it hypocritical that I'm able to elect people to my school district's board, while people in our state's largest city can't elect anyone to their city's school board. To those who don't like the idea of non-binding referendums, I'll say this: I view non-binding referendums as the pressure relief valves of politics, because they allow voters an opportunity to vent their frustration toward the political status quo.

In 37 of Chicago's 50 wards (Wards 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 40, 45, 46, 47, 49, and 50), non-binding referendums asking voters whether or not they support a proposed directly-elected Chicago school board will be on the ballot. While a "yes" majority will not automatically replace the Chicago school board with a directly-elected school board, I strongly encourage a "yes" vote to send a message to Bruce Rauner, Rahm Emanuel, and the Republicans and Raunercrats in the Illinois General Assembly that Chicagoans are sick and tired of not being able to vote for who they want to serve on their school board, while voters in every other part of Illinois are able to choose who they want to serve on their school boards.

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