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View Diary: Congressional races by state: IL (44 comments)

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  •  Any way you draw districts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    plf515

    will be a gerrymander to some or another group, so I am NOT sympathetic to the aesthetic argument you make. People do not follow natural boundaries any more than congressional districts do.

    No, the Democrats are in charge now, and they should do what they can to unpack what is effectively a Republican gerrymander.

    •  really? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plf515

      I think a purely geographic (cartographic?) re-districting is by definition NOT gerrymandering.  Right?

      •  wrong (0+ / 0-)

        It produces a natural Republican gerrymander.

        •  why? (0+ / 0-)

          Seriously, I don't get it.

          •  Democrats are naturally packed into (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            plf515

            "compact" areas--also known as cities.

            •  well (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              plf515

              since the districts tend also to be apportioned by population, I guess I still don't see what the  problem with the concave/ convex idea is.

              •  Who programs the computers? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                plf515

                What are the exact instructions? How do you propose to ensure minority voting strength is not diminished?

                •  so, what's your solution? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  plf515

                  Gerrymander right back, and trust that the balance will shift one way or the other over the course of several decades?  I think there must be a more equitable way...I just don't know what it is!

                •  Is the minority issue critical? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Chicago Lulu, andgarden

                  I mean, it surely was critical at one point, but one could argue that, now, in some places it's irrelevant and in other places might even hurt minority power.  

                  Take NYC....it's got some ridiculous looking districts, all represented by liberal Democrats....

                  NY 8,9,10,11, and 12, for instance....here

                  8 is Nadler
                  9 is Weiner
                  10 is Towns
                  11 is Clarke
                  12 is Velazquez

                  does it help or hurt Latinos that the 12th is designed to get as many Latinos as possible?  After all, then they influence just one seat.

                  I dunno

                  •  It is an important question (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Chicago Lulu, plf515

                    and also a political one. Overpack minorities and they'll elect a representative that looks like them, but have no influence; crack them and they'll have no influence at all. make them 1/3-1/2 of a district, and they'll be kingmakers.

                    This played out in Georgia in between 1990 and 2006. If 2002 hadn't been such a Republican year, and one of the Democratic nominees hadn't turned out to have ethical problems, this is what would have happened there:

                    If Democrats in Georgia have drawn the new lines for Congressional districts as cleverly as they think they have, the party will win four additional seats in the House in the November elections, and the state's delegation will include five African-Americans, the most ever from any state.

                    here, Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat, and the Democrats who control the State Senate and House set out with a vengeance to reverse the gains Republicans had made in the 1990's. Then, they joined forces with black politicians to create three districts where black voters were a heavy majority -- a tactic called ''max black'' that had the effect of making the state's other districts safely white and Republican.

                    The Democrats' strategy was based on the conclusion of Mr. Lewis and other black political leaders in Washington and the Georgia Legislature that blacks could win even if they did not make up the overwhelming majority of voters in a district, and that white Democrats needed black votes to win.

                    It was still a pretty Democratic map, given the state, and Blacks had real influence in the elections.

    •  Not necessarily (0+ / 0-)

      Wikipedia notes

      Gerrymandering is a form of redistricting in which electoral district or constituency boundaries are manipulated for an electoral advantage.

      •  And Wikipedia is god? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        plf515

        Indeed, suppose we take Wikipedia on its own terms. I maintain that there is no way to draw the maps that would not give an advantage to one group or another.  My favorite example is given above.

        •  well, I'm an atheist :-) (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Chicago Lulu, andgarden

          but the wikipedia definition matches what I've seen elsewhere.

          I agree that any map advantages some group, especially considering how hard it is to agree on what 'advantaged' means, exactly.  But, to me, gerrymandering implies some deliberate attempt.

          If the people who drew up the districts only knew population, and nothing else, then I don't think gerrymandering would be possible (of course, such people probably wouldn't be qualified to draw up districts!)

          •  And suppose you only knew (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            plf515

            population sizes? What decisions would you make about who went into what district, and why? Suppose you "accidentally" split a majority-black city 7 ways, or just as bad, put it all into one district? Both outcomes would advantage one group over another.

            •  Suppose you had strict geographic guidelines (0+ / 0-)

              based on census blocks and counties.

              It would be hard to come up with exact guidelines, but you  could probably come up with an algorithm....

              Of course, it's tricky because few states are rectangles (or even close)....

              •  Here's a crazy idea (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                plf515

                Identify n regional centers of concentrated population density, where n is the number of congressional seats to apportion. (At least half a dozen of these will be in Chicago; give each one to a "side" of town.) Pick a representative census tract to serve as a starting center. Program a computer to work outward from these centers, agglomerating new tracts onto the starting one -- but only if they meet a certain threshold of similarity on various demographic measures (ethnicity, income, education, predominant employment sector, etc.). Eventually two agglomerations will creep close enough to each other for the program to have to decide which direction a certain tract should flip in; base this on whichever agglomeration it most closely matches.

                Here's an even crazier idea: Abandon geographical representation and use a proportional choice-voting system akin to the one used to elect the Cambridge, Mass., city council (explained here). It works astonishingly well at making sure various groups are well-represented; in fact, it allows groups with shared interests to coalesce around candidates even when these interests haven't been overtly identified before the election. Cool!

                "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk." --Ian McDonald

                by Geenius at Wrok on Wed Jan 02, 2008 at 09:11:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

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