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View Diary: What if legislators didn't have to draw majority-minority districts? Democrats would lose big (71 comments)

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  •  Majority-minority districts (6+ / 0-)

    Very interesting demonstration of how conventional wisdom is wrong in this case.

    •  But not always wrong, I think. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GayHillbilly, bear83, Taget

      I believe it was the 1990 legislative redistricting in New Jersey that un-packed several majority-minority districts and made it possible for the Democrats to win control of both houses of the legislature, which they've controlled ever since.

      •  Actually New Jersey doesn't use expliclty partisan (6+ / 0-)

        gerrymandering, instead having a bipartisan commission with an even number of Ds and Rs who then agree to a tiebreaking member. The longtime tiebreaker, the late Rutgers professor Alan Rosenthal, sided with Republicans in the 1990s and they won the legislature all decade, but sided with the Dems in the 2000s and in 2011 so we've held it ever since.

        In many cases going from a Republican to Democratic map will of course give us more seats while at the same time unpacking minority districts, because as you can see in the Georgia I drew, the 2 black-majority districts serve to pack in Democrats very effectively.

        The only time that was likely wrong was in the initial 1990s round. For instance in Louisiana and Georgia Democrats held the majority of conservative white districts and drawing new minority districts made them more vulnerable, so multiple ones lost. In fact the George Bush Sr. administration explicitly aimed to do just this by having the DoJ force "max-black" districts, such as the infamous NC-12 in North Carolina going from Durham to Charlotte. However after the 1994 and 2010 alignments, we just can't win that sort of district anymore so it can't happen like it did in 1992/1994.

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