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View Diary: The cost of gerrymandering (255 comments)

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  •  I think an important point is missed in comparing (1+ / 0-)
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    devtob

    Republican-gerrymandered states like Michigan and Pennsylvania to Democratic-controlled states like New York and Illinois.

    The real demonstration of gerrymandering's effect is shown in those states where one party won a majority (or nearly a majority) of the Congressional votes in the state, yet received a small minority of the Congressional seats. MI and PA are in this category, for certain. Gerrymandering is really about the only way to explain the discrepancy.

    In states where one party receives a significant majority of the Congressional vote and an even greater share of Congressional seats, statistics may be sufficient to explain the discrepancy.* If we assume, for example, that NY voted for Congressional candidates at about the same rate that they voted for Obama, then getting 77.8% of the Congressional seats with only 62.4% of the vote doesn't show gerrymandering. If anything, it shows the Democrats being very fair to the Republicans in NY.

    Consider the Electoral College. In 1984, a year of one of the biggest landslides in recent memory, Ronald Reagan received 58.8% of the vote to Walter Mondale's 40.6%. Yet Reagan was awarded 97.6% of the Electoral votes (525 to Mondale's 13.)

    Since it would be silly to suggest that the states were gerrymandered to achieve that result, I think we can conclude from this and other Presidential election results that a rising tide does lift all boats: A small increase in the winning candidate's popular vote share can lead to a large increase in that candidate's Electoral College share.

    In other words, Mondale's national popular vote share in 1984 was significantly larger than the Republicans received in the NY Congressional elections this year. Yet the Republicans received 22% of NY's Congressional seats to Mondale's paltry 2.4% of the Electoral votes. In fact, it's my guess that a random geographic allocation of NY's Congressional districts wouldn't have given NY's Republicans a greater share of the seats.


    *I'm not a statistician, so I can't back this argument up with numbers, but I'd bet that someone can.

    Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

    by Nowhere Man on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:27:48 PM PST

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