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View Diary: I'm sorry, but the GOP did not 'win' the House (41 comments)

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  •  Because what is the alternative? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib

    Somebody has to draw district lines.  And district lines are always going to favor somebody.  There's no way around that.  

    Gerrymandering takes place on both sides.  How many districts are drawn with crazy boundaries so as to assure a minority-majority district, meaning that it is an overwhelmingly Democratic district, like Louisiana Dist. 2, which is specifically drawn to leave sections of the Greater New Orleans area that are not minority-majority, or that don't have enough population so as to endanger the nature of a majority-minority district?

    If you drew district lines just around natural geographic boundaries, you'd (1) run into issues with the "1 person 1 vote" principle that the SCOTUS has said is required; and (2) greatly reduce the number of minority-majority districts, and likely reduce the minority representation in the House.  When you start looking at not only the number of people in a district but the ethnic make up of people in a district, that means that drawing the lines is necessarily going to have political winners and losers. There's no way around it.  So, most states allow the elected representatives in that state to draw those lines.  Again, elections have consequences, and this is one of them -- those who win elections get to (within certain constitutional boundaries) draw the lines.    

    •  "minority-majority districts" (3+ / 0-)

      While Republicans like to hold those up as examples of Democratic Gerrymandering, and they originally were, I think in a lot of cases such districting ends up helping the Republicans more than it does minority representation.  Because if you create one urban district that's overwhelmingly composed of minority (read: Democratic) voters, the surrounding districts are often overwhelmingly white (read: Republican).
      Some years ago, when NJ Democrats were arguing for "unpacking" some of the overwhelmingly minority districts, it was amusing to see the Republicans out there arguing that such a map would disadvantage minority voters.  The Democrats won that argument, and, consequently, control of the legislature in the next election.

      •  I completely agree with this (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bill W, nextstep, VClib

        I'm not sure it helps Republicans "more"  than it does minority representation, but it certainly helps Republicans "as well."  Because when you put as many minority voters as possible into one district, you draw the lines to leave out those areas that do not have minority majorities, and those all get put into another district that ends up being majority Republican.  

        As I've said, Louisiana District 2 (look how it specifically leaves out areas right in the center of New Orleans as well as the supposedly "white" densely populated areas of Orleans and Jefferson Parish near the Lakefront)  and District 1 (which puts those same densely populated areas into a district with the far less populated areas north of the Lake).  That's gerrymandering to create a minority-majority district (District 2) that also had the effect of creating another District (District 1) where Steve Scalise got 66% of the vote.  

      •  Are we past thinking that a person can only be (0+ / 0-)

        adequately represented by a person of the same sex, race, and religion?
        I mean really!

        WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

        by IARXPHD on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 07:30:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sadly, we are NOT in a "post-racial" society, so (0+ / 0-)

          if a district is overwhelmingly white, those voters can be expected in most cases to elect a representive who will ignore the needs of "minority" voters. Color-blind yet? No.

    •  While it's true that drawing district lines (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, Brooke In Seattle

      is both required and causes winners/losers, you've left out that Republicans are grossly abusing the process.

      So the point is to find methods of reducing the abuse. Not to just give up, as you recommend.

      "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

      by nosleep4u on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 07:52:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's really no such thing as "abusing the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        process."  The limitations on drawing district lines are pretty clear: (1) the one person one vote principle articulated by the SCOTUS; and (2) you can't draw lines that attempt to dilute minority representation.  

        As long as you do this, it's perfectly legitimate to draw lines for political reasons.  And it's equally true that both parties have drawn lines for political reasons.  The fact that Republicans got control of more state legislatures in 2010 and thus were able to control the line-drawing in more states is not "abuse" of the process.  You had to EXPECT that the party that won control of a state legislature in 2010 would be in control of redrawing districts after the 2010 census, and you had to EXPECT that, as long as they stayed within the constitutional limitations, they would draw those districts in a way that politically favors them.  If Democrats had won more state legislatures in 2010, I would have expected them to do exactly the same thing, because that's how our system of government works.  

        The districts are drawn favorably to the Republicans now because in the 2010 election they made big gains in control of state legislatures.  That's part of the "elections have consequences" deal, not abuse of the process.  It's how we have to expect the process to work when we vote for our state legislatures.   If Democrats don't like the way the districts are drawn now, the solution is to make gains in state legislatures in time for the next redistricting.  

    •  what's the alternative? how about straight grid (0+ / 0-)

      lines.

      what's wrong with that?

      •  It won't comply with the Constitution (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        which requires a principle of "one person, one vote" as explained in Baker v. Carr.  People don't live in straight grid lines.

        •  that depends on the size of the grid, doesn't it? (0+ / 0-)

          the system in place now -- gerrymandering -- certainly isn't fair or democratic, & that seems out of compliance with the constitution, too -- to put it mildly.

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