(Part 1 can be seen here)
So for those of you who had read my previous diary, you probably know what's coming here, but for those of you who haven't, my previous map attempted to create the most Democratic-friendly states I could respecting rough population equality, for these states, population equality went out the window, and screw how unequal the populations are.
Now, I did have some goals/rules that I was shooting for with this map:
1. With the exception of the Republican sinkhole, all states must be considered "safe" for Democrats (or at worst, be a likely hold for Democrats in a wave election).
2. All states must have at least 600,000 people in them, no exceptions.
3. Minimizing the population size of the Republican sinkhole is a must (but not at the expense of severely weakening the Democratic states), this is to reduce the number of House seats the sinkhole would receive.
4. Counties should not be split unless they are large enough to support multiple states, or to put it another way, counties should have more than one state self-contained (there are two exceptions I made, the first is the Republican sinkhole, in many instances, the counties that I'm working with simply have too many heavily Republican parts to them to not add them to the sinkhole, the other exception is Nueces County, I basically split Corpus Christi and the more heavily Democratic parts outside of Corpus Christi in the county between my third state and the Republican sinkhole to fulfill goals 1, 2 and 3.)
I achieved my first and second goals pretty easily, even though it was at the expense of the fourth rule, and as for the third rule, well I did try to add as much population to the Democratic states as I could while still trying to respect not splitting counties or weakening the Democratic states, my preferred goal would have been to get at least 700,000 people in each state and to average at least 900,000 for each state. Neither one really happened, as my smallest state has a population of around 639,000 and my average state population size is 850,798.
Could I have weakened some Democratic states a bit more to up their populations (and thus take away some more House representation from the Republican sinkhole)? It's complicated, the major problem is that in pretty much every area of the state, the Democratic areas move into very Republican areas very quickly, meaning that even making relatively minor changes would probably weaken several states to an unacceptable level for me, so I took the hit.
The results? Well that's below the fold:
State 1: El Paso County (Blue)
Demographics (VAP): White 13.1%(15.4%); Hispanic 82.2%(79.8%); Black 2.6%(2.7%)
Partisanship: Obama 66.4%, McCain 33.6%; Democrats 62.9%, Republicans 37.1%
Population center: El Paso
Notes: This state is simply El Paso county, and as most of you are probably aware, it's heavily Hispanic and heavily Democratic, don't expect Republicans to compete for this state.
State 2: The Border (Green)
Demographics: White 14%(16.6%); Hispanic 84.2%(81.3%); Black 0.8%(1%)
Partisanship: Obama 59.8%, McCain 40.2%; Democrats 62.5%, Republicans 37.5%
Population centers: Laredo, Piedras Negras
Notes: So this is the border area, another heavily Hispanic and Heavily Democratic state (although interestingly, Obama did worse than other Democrats typically do). This state has the second-lowest population in the state, and the reason for that is pretty simple, it's surrounded by extremely Republican areas, to an extent that when I tried to add even 100,000 people to this area, it went from 62% Democratic to 51% Democratic, so I had to be content with meeting the minimum population requirements. In any case, it's still bigger than Wyoming, so take that! :P
State 3: Brownsville/Corpus Christi (Purple)
Demographics: White 16.7%(19.7%); Hispanic 80.7%(77.5%); Black 1.4%(1.5%)
Partisanship: Obama 60.2%, McCain 39.8%; Democrats 61.3%, Republicans 38.7%
Population centers: Brownsville, Corpus Christi
Notes: So yeah, this is my big exception, I basically took Cameron County and added the few remaining Democratic counties, in order to keep the state's Democratic strength while adding the necessarily population, I had to add San Patricio County completely and then take the heavily Democratic parts of Corpus Christi and Nueces County (given I had already chopped it up, I figured I may as well go for broke!) The result though is a secure Democratic states and probably another 2 Hispanic Democratic senators.
State 4: Hidalgo County (Red)
Demographics: White 7.8%(10.1%); Hispanic 90.6%(88.2%); Black 0.4%(0.4%)
Partisanship: Obama 69.5%, McCain 30.5%; Democrats 67.1%, Republicans 32.9%
Population centers: McAllen
Notes: Another county-turned-state, this is simply Hidalgo County, it's the most Hispanic and the most Democratic of the 13 Texan states. Republicans need not apply here!
State 5: San Antonio/Southern and Central Bexar County (Yellow)
Demographics: White 20.1%(23.5%); Hispanic 69.5%(66%); Black 7.7%(7.9%)
Partisanship: Obama 62.4%, McCain 37.6%; Democrats 60.1%, Republicans 39.9%
Population center: San Antonio
Notes: Places like San Antonio pose some problems for making states, on the one hand San Antonio itself is large enough itself that it can just be it's own state (even removing the outlying parts of Bexar County) but if you do just make the whole city into a state, you have to add enough very heavily Republican precincts that it becomes a swing state (and a slightly Republican leaning one at that!) Given that though, this state still has two-thirds of Bexar county in it, I basically just removed northern Bexar county and gave it to the Republican sinkhole. Even though I did technically split San Antonio, the lines are still fairly reasonable (you ain't seen nothin' until you see what I did to Dallas/Ft. Worth!)
State 6: Travis County (Teal)
Demographics: White 50.5%(55.2%); Hispanic 33.5%(29.3%); Black 8.1%(7.8%)
Partisanship: Obama 65%, McCain 35%; Democrats 57.8%, Republicans 42.2%
Population center: Austin
Notes: Another county, another full state, of the Democratic states, this one is definitely the whitest and, interestingly, the least Democratic (how odd is it to say that Austin is the least Democratic of a bunch of states based out of Texas?) Of course, it's still pretty safe for Democrats, as it broke over 15 points for Democrats (and over 30 for Obama) so I don't foresee any problems for Democrats. In any case, you'd probably be able to say hello to Senator Lloyd Doggett (how's that for a turn-around!)
State 7: Northern Houston (Grey)
Demographics: White 17.5%(21%); Hispanic 52%(47.6%); Black 25.2%(25.8%)
Partisanship: Obama 64.9%, McCain 35.1%; Democrats 61.4%, Republicans 38.6%
Population center: Northern Houston
Notes: So, Houston is fun to work with on a couple of levels, by partisanship the state is divided pretty evenly, to the extent that it's easy to make three states out of it without weakening any one of them. That said, I did have to keep some parts of Houston out of the northern part of the state because they are pretty absurdly Republican. Of course, you have to keep within Houston proper, otherwise you start absorbing the Houston suburbs... which are super Republican. This is definitely a state that has the potential to elect a couple of black senators (
State 8: Southern Houston (Slate-blue)
Demographics: White 18.7%(21%); Hispanic 47.8%(43.6%); Black 23.9%(24.1%)
Partisanship: Obama 63.8%, McCain 36.2%; Democrats 60.5%, Republicans 39.5%)
Population center: Southern Houston
Notes: So this is southern Houston, and contained entirely in Harris County, now the reason why this is important is that if I had decided to make another exception and go southwest a bit, I could have easily added another 120K to the state and made it a bit more Democratic (and add some more AAs to the mix) but it really wasn't necessary, either from a partisan stand-point or from representation (as it's my opinion that both northern and southern Houston both stand a very good chance of producing at least one black senator between them).
State 9: Houston Core (cyan)
Demographics: White 30.3%(36.5%); Hispanics 46%(39.6%); Black 17.4%(17%)
Partisanship: Obama 62.9%, McCain 37.1%; Democrats 60.9%, Republicans 39.1%
Population center: Central Houston
Notes: Ok, I'm almost cheating with this state, I only barely get in my population requirement and I've clearly just put a doughnut hole in the center of the city. This state is definitely whiter than the other two (by quite a bit actually) but still is just as Democratic as the other two, now I don't really know Texas that well, but it seems to me that the white vote here is more Democratic than the white vote in other parts of the city. One other thing I forgot to mention in my other two states is that Houston has a pretty decent sized Asian population, my southern Houston state is actually close to 10% Asian.
State 10: Northeastern (sort-of) Dallas County (Deep-pink)
Demographics: White 25.4%(30.1%); Hispanic 44.4%(39%); Black 25.3%(25.9%)
Partisanship: Obama 64.7%, McCain 35.3%; Democrats 60.6%, Republicans 39.4%
Population center: Dallas
Notes: Yeah, I know, I pretty much butchered Dallas, but it's pretty hard to make two very Democratic states out of Dallas County without making the map damn ugly (if you don't want to move over to Tarrant County, that is). So this state starts with the eastern-most part of Dallas County and, for lack of a better term, oozes into south-central Dallas proper. This wasn't actually intentional, but all of the states based out of Dallas and Fort Worth have a very decent chance of electing black senators, which is really something I like about these states, the United States senate needs a lot more diversity IMHO.
State 11: Southwestern (sort of) Dallas County (Chartreuse)
Demographics: White 26.4%(32%); Hispanic 41.8%(36.8%); Black 26.7%(26.1%)
Partisanship: Obama 66%, McCain 34%; Democrats 60.2%, Republicans 39.8%
Population Center: Dallas
Notes: Part II of the unholy abomination that is the Dallas states, and you may notice how large of a difference there is between how Obama did and Democrats normally do, that was one of the major obstacles I had with both Dallas and Fort Worth, Obama did a lot better than Democrats normally do here. I could typically see precincts where Obama won by 15 points or even 20 points, but that Democrats would lose (and sometimes even badly). Here, more than anywhere else, I had to be extremely cautious of just going on the Obama numbers.
State 12: Fort Worth (Cornflower Blue)
Demographics: White 28.1%(33.4%); Hispanic 39.3%(36.8%); Black 26.3%(25.9%)
Partisanship: Obama 64.5%, McCain 35.5%; Democrats 60%, Republicans 40%
Population Center: Fort Worth
Notes: Yeah... I should be ashamed of myself right now, I'm not even trying to be reasonable here (although I would like to mention that I, for the most part anyways, kept the city of Fort Worth whole, although it wasn't totally possible without severely weakening the state as a whole). The same problems with the second Dallas state apply here, you'd be surprised how much better Obama did than most Democrats in some parts of Fort Worth proper (though not so much in the more outlying parts of the county, particularly to the west).
State 13: The Rest of Texas (Dark-Salmon)
Demographics: White 60.7%(64.5%); Hispanic 23.5%(20.3%); Black 9.7%(9.4%)
Partisanship: Obama 34%, McCain 66%; Democrats 32.9%, Republicans 67.1%
Population Centers: Houston Suburbs, Dallas County, Fort Worth County, Northern Bexar County
Notes: This is what Texas would be if you removed places like Austin, El Paso, Southern San Antonio, most of Houston, Dallas proper, and Fort Worth Proper. It's extremely Republican and extremely conservative, as it basically contains nearly all of rural Texas.