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An interesting story in Michigan regarding the House of Representatives.  It appears that Michigan, a state that voted 54% to 45% in favor of Obama, and a state that had a very similar percentage of votes for members of the House of Representatives -- 55% Democratic votes and 45% Republican votes, will send nine republicans to the House of Representatives and five Democrats..  In a state that sends 14 congressfolks  to represent the people of Michigan, instead of 8 Democrats and 6 Republicans, as one might expect based on the 55/45 divide in the state, it is sending 5 Democrats and 9 Republicans.  Six (6) extra Republicans representing Michigan......

Gerrymandering districts is not limited to only one party -- both sides are doing it.   In Massachusets and Maryland there is a Democratic edge of 23% and 25% respectively and only one Republican congressfolk and 17 Democrats where one one might expect more Republicans.  That is fairly consistent for states that have more than a 10% favor for either party.   But in the swing states, the Republicans are doing it better.    In Pennsylvania, where there is a +5% for Democrats, they have 5 Democratic congressfolks and 13 Republican congressfolks.  In Florida, a relatively 50/50 state, they have 10 Democratic congressfolks and 17 Republican congressfolks.

Mother Jones has an article on this: http://www.motherjones.com/....  It talks about how for every 1 vote to elect a Republican, it took between 2.5 to 3+ votes to elect a Democrat in many swing states.

Kossack tle wrote about this  last Thursday -- http://www.dailykos.com/...

When Boehner and others say that President Obama did not get a "mandate" in 2012 because the House of Representatives stayed Republican -- that was clearly not the intent of the voters.  But when a there have to be 2 to three times more Democratic voters than Republicans to accurately represent a swing state, well, it does become a bit difficult.

Whether or not any of the gerrymandering in place today is so egregious that a court would throw it out is unclear.   Signing petitions and passing state laws to ensure a fair redistricting of a state's population by an independent panel of citizens or judges prior to 2020, would help ensure that the members of congress sent by each state, does adequately represent the voting population in those states, rather than the interests of whichever party controlled the statehouse every decade....

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yep, Ohio Votes 1:1, US House 3:1 Republicans. nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ardyess, IreGyre

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 05:28:52 PM PST

  •  The point is maximal political power, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ardyess

    the better to collect the dough.  Representing the people has nothing to do with it.

    A new birth of freedom..

    by docterry on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 05:30:36 PM PST

  •  It should be done by a nonpartisan (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ardyess, smiley7, moose67, IreGyre

    body as it's done in CA. What they did was pretty impressive this cycle. Seems to be reflective of the political makeup of the state. Don't see much of a way to do that outside of popular initiative, as was done in CA, though.  Considering our poor record of putting progressive initiatives through in MI, I don't hold much hope.

    Some states have it a lot worse. NC and PA come to mind.  As Gooserock said above, OH too.

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 05:35:10 PM PST

    •  Except that stupid top two primary BS which (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dougymi, IreGyre

      needs to be stopped pronto.

      Steve Singiser wrote about it after the primaries here in ca.

      One particular quote from that piece:

      And herein lies an institutional problem with the "top two" structure, one which might actually counteract one of the stated goals of the new system. If one of the rationales for this system was to weaken the influence of political parties, it may have failed miserably. Because one has to assume now that parties in 2014 will be working double time to clear the decks for their preferred candidates in the filing process. Whether it is indirect "take one for the team pressure," or a raft of party assistance being dropped in the laps of the favored horses in the field, one has to guess that the sting of losing a winnable district will compel the Democrats (and the GOP, if they were paying close attention) to interfere more in the primary process, not less.
      I don't know how we change this, but we sure need to.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 05:52:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's the CA SOS letter on the matter (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dougymi

        here. [pdf]

        I guess we have to do another frigging proposition to correct this. I don't see or hear anything to indicate, right now, that is going to happen but it needs to.

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 06:03:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  We tried in Ohio. Issue 2 was defeated. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dougymi, IreGyre

      The GOP threw everything but the kitchen sink at it — money, lies, misleading ballot language, little tricks to confuse voters. They got plenty of help from their editorial minions at our conservative dailies. I hope we're going to try again — and again — and again — if necessary. Ohio's representation in Congress is an obscenity.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 07:17:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The U.S. House of Representatives are only for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ardyess

    the rich and themselves. To hell with the people seems to be their motto.

    Hope has a hole in it when Republicans come, bringing shackles and sorrow; branding their greed on the backs of the poor. - Wendy Connors

    by Wendys Wink on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 05:38:20 PM PST

    •  Not all of them. There are some good house (0+ / 0-)

      members.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 05:53:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not my congresswoman (0+ / 0-)

      And such blanket cynical attitudes are as destructive to better government as rigged districts.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 07:18:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's impossible to know the "intent" of the voters (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    valion, VClib

    You assume that all voters vote on a party line basis.  That's not necessarily true.  For example, here in Louisiana, a lot of voters will split votes -- in 2002, some who voted for Mary Landrieu (a Democrat) also voted for Republicans for Congress.  While those who are hard core partisans will vote one party regardless of the particular candidate, that's not true of all voters.  So, in those states, it could well be that some voters voted for the President AND also voted for a Republican for Congress.  Or, some voters voted for Romney and also a Democrat as their local Representative.  Or some voters voted for a Democratic Senate candidate and a Republican House candidate.  

    As for gerrymandering, as you recognized, that's as old as politics.  All that's guaranteed by the Constitution is 'one person, one vote" meaning you have to have roughly the same numbers in the various districts -- you can't have 10,000 people in one Congressional district, and 100,000 in the next.  

    We can only deal with the election system we have, and the results that those elections give us.  And this last election gave us a Democratic President, a Democratically-controlled Senate, and a Republican-controlled House.  And we have to presume that was the "intent" of the people, because that is the result the elections gave us.  

    We cannot expect a Representative to say, well, the people did not really mean to put me here, so I'll vote contrary to the position I ran on.  We have to expect that an elected Representative will vote as he/she promised to vote when he/she was running for office -- because that is the basis for the voters in his/her district voting him/her into office.  

    •  If more people vote for a Democrat (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IreGyre

      then that vote is how you know their "intent."  In Ohio, virtually all elections are close to 50/50 when you look at the statewide vote. There's no way that the state senate in particular should be fossilized as 2/3rds Republican. And a 75-25 split in congressional seats in clearly NOT the "intent" of Ohio voters. All you can go by is the votes they actually cast — and they did not cast 75% of their votes for a Republican.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 07:20:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  in CA, it's 38 D's and 15 R's out of 53. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cany

    or 72% D.  That's much higher than the presidential election, in which Obama got 59% and Romney got 38%.

    "the good guys play to stun. the death eaters play to kill." --jlms qkw

    by bubbanomics on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 05:42:45 PM PST

  •  The entire country is going to pay for a decade (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cany, flatford39, IreGyre

    because democrats didn't turn out in 2010.  We can never let that happen again.  Our weak showing ensured that a bunch of teabagger assholes will become career politicians and obstruct progress in a range of areas.  They effectively thwarted the will of the people, and to correct this, democrats shouldn't be shy about using every advantage they can muster.  

    The unfortunate thing is that most people don't even know how this stuff works or why it's important.  

    My view is that politicians shouldn't be drawing district lines and we should be working to change that.  It makes me absolutely sick to my stomach that we should have the House and should be able to tackle the big stuff but can't because of one teabagger wave in a census year.  Ugh.

    •  No kidding. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      IreGyre

      Never again two thousand and ten.

      With the skills we have in organizing, that should never have happened. We really dropped the ball. And THAT is going to make things much harder for dems in congress AND the pres.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 05:55:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My district (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cany

        chucked our 2010 mistake teabagger.  Bye, bye, Cravaack....hope the door hits you, jerk!

        Wish a few more districts would make good.  

      •  Hopefully OBAMA has also learned (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IreGyre

        see my comment on another thread:
        http://www.dailykos.com/...

        •  It's really the DCC's job, I think. Obama has (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IreGyre

          his work cut out for him in legislation and that's going to be tough enough.

          I'm not at all sure we should be thrusting the DCC's job on the president.

          202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

          by cany on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 06:33:35 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  There were distinct reasons for that in Ohio (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        IreGyre

        very much related to what happened this year with guys like Akin and Mourdock. Hopefully the Ohio Democratic Party now understands that it is NOT acceptable to run an anti-choice extremist on the Democratic statewide ticket and expect women to be good little obedient soldiers and sign up for the campaign. I KNOW why women sat out in Ohio in 2010 because I was very nearly one of them. And I canvassed for Gov. Strickland only reluctantly because someone I know who worked for him called me and asked. It was his friend that was the anti-choice extremist, so in a very real sense, he was responsible for his own defeat.

        Please do NOT blame women who don't want to work for people who would take away their rights.

        Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

        by anastasia p on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 07:23:41 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  We should eliminate congressional districts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tapu dali

    I think that if a state can have say 15 congress people then put all the name on the ballot and the top 15 get jobs. Maybe that way I would get a congress critter who at least once in a while voted the way I wanted. Instead I get a useless Republican name Glenn Thompson who never does anything I like!

    •  Believe me, I feel your pain. (0+ / 0-)

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 05:56:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Horrific idea (0+ / 0-)

      In Ohio, you might get 15 downstate rural neanderthals and the cities completely unrepresented. I like the current system of having a person nearby who actually represents local needs and interests. With no congressional districts, you have the very real possibility of 100% sweeps in wave years, and I think that's bad. (A lot of states would never send a Democrat to Congress again, and California might never send another Republican.)

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 07:25:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Proportional representation (0+ / 0-)

      For all seats in a state to be elected at large, in a fair way, you need some form of proportional representation.

      Early on, in American history, there were states which did not district but elected all Congressmen at large. An example is New Jersey, a state where the electorate was quite evenly divided.

      After the 1830 census, New Jersey was allocated six House seats.

      1832 6 Democrats elected with between 23,808 and 24,278 votes. 6 National Republicans (a party label used by what later became the Whig party) defeated with 23,248 to 23,784 votes.

      1834 6 Democrats elected (27,358 to 27,413 votes), 6 Whigs defeated (26,339 to 26,413 votes).

      1836 A Whig triumph! Six Congressmen, with 25,554 to 26,006 votes. The Democratic Party ticket polled between 25,287 and 25,470 votes.

      1838 The state was so evenly divided that it elected 5 Democrats and a Whig. The victorious Democratic candidates got between 28,426 and 28,492 votes (the loser got 28,315). The victorious Whig tied the fifth placed Democrat with 28,426. The other Whigs got 28,295 to 28,395 votes.

      1840 A Whig landslide (by NJ standards)! The six Whig Congressmen got between 33,229 and 33,342 votes and the six Democrats received 31,098 to 31,138 votes. The anti-slavery Liberty Party put up five candidate who received 60 to 68 votes.

      New Jersey moved to electing by districts, for its five seats in the 28th Congress (1843-1845). Four districts elected Democrats and the 5th District had an Independent Whig defeat the official Whig nominee.

      There is no man alive who is sufficiently good to rule the life of the man next door to him. Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris, M.P.

      by Gary J on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 04:30:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  All highly reminiscent of the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IreGyre

    "Rotten boroughs" and "pocket boroughs" of 18th century England. Did the "Founders" this was a feature rather than a bug? To keep the riffraff at bay?

    I know you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. -- S.I. Hayakawa

    by tapu dali on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 05:48:26 PM PST

  •  to have partisan politicians draw CD boundaries (0+ / 0-)

    To teir favour is or should be totally unacceptable. Happens not in 0canada, the UK, Australia, NZ etc. All drawn by independent bodies.

    But if course: American Exceptionalism". Right. Exceptioanally dumb.

    Sorry for the insult. There's much in your country I admire, but your electioal system, well, not so much.

    I know you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. -- S.I. Hayakawa

    by tapu dali on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 06:04:14 PM PST

    •  Apologies for the typos. handheld w small keys (0+ / 0-)

      I know you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. -- S.I. Hayakawa

      by tapu dali on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 06:06:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bipartisan politicians drawing the districts (0+ / 0-)

      is the supposedly "better plan" that Ohio's secretary of state Jon Husted is flogging after attacking (with his fellow Republicans) the now-defeated ballot issue of replacing the current system with a nonpartisan citizen commission that would have given an equal amount of seats to independents and minor party members. (Of course, we all know how much Husted looooooves democracy!) He offered this plan when he was in the lege too: to expand the size of the apportionment board, adding more politicians and requiring a certain amount of minority buy-in. All that would lead to is horse trading: if you protect my incumbent over here, I'll protect yours over there. We saw last year how rapidly a politician can become an enemy of electoral democracy when Kucinich went off the rails supporting the extreme gerrymander — until it no longer benefited him. He even attacked his fellow Democrats for fighting for a better deal — one reason they shrugged when he was ultimately pitted against a fellow incumbent Marcy Kaptur. I'm in the next district east,where I am represented by the estimable Marcy Fudge (just elected head of the Congressional Black Caucus!) but many people I know are now in Marcy's district. And I think she's going to work out better for them. Dennis, that was a crappy place to go.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 07:30:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Of course not (0+ / 0-)

    90%+ of America makes less than $100k a year.  How many Congressional newcomers make less than $100K?  How many have made less than $100K any year within 10 years of their first election to Congress.  I would guess the number is asymptotic to nil.

    Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

    by ActivistGuy on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 06:14:14 PM PST

    •  I would say it includes most of Ohio's Democrats (0+ / 0-)

      few though they be in number. I would guess my congresswoman is among them. Previous to going to Congress, she was the mayor of a smallish Cleveland suburb. I don't think Marcy Kaptur, Tim "The Good" Ryan or Joyce Beatty is rich. Unfortunately, part of the Cleveland area is now represented by the execrable Teabaggin' Jim Renacci, one of the wealthiest individuals in Congress. And THE wealthiest individual in Congress, the execrable Darrell Issa, actually went to high school here in my Cleveland suburb. I was actually thinking about him earlier today when I drove by Heights High on my way to Whole Foods. He seems an unlikely person to have come from a city that went for Obama by 70 points and where he did not lose a single precinct.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 07:34:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  No. Next question. n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  this is the vestige of a past realignment (0+ / 0-)

    The same was in the '80's with D's holding House majorities until '94.  It takes a while for demographics and ideologies take time to work out.

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty~Ben Franklin

    by RWN on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 06:24:43 PM PST

  •  My thoughts on gerrymandering (0+ / 0-)

    I would like to see EITHER of these 3 different ideas implemented

    1) I will use an example state ..Tenn

    Just start at the western part of the state, make a line running North/South at the appropriate number of people, keep proceeding until finished.

    This will make congressional districts compact and more truly represent people in a given area.  I have also wondered how the house would look with districts drawn on a purely rational contiguous basis too!

    2) This idea is a bit radical.  All out gerrymandering, but in a way that is TOTALLY different than today.  Gerrymander to make districtss as equal in D/R's as possible!  Make it so that extreme candidates (aka Bachmann) could never win.  Get some rational (or at least a bit more rational) candidates. Some states being so lopsided, create as many 50/50 split districts as possible, and a couple heavily D (or r) districts left in a lopsoded state

    Love to hear what people here have to say about these ideas (especially #2)

    Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

    by Mannie on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 06:25:26 PM PST

    •  Both impossible (0+ / 0-)

      1. Tennessee has unique geography that might make that possible, although it might be stymied by population distribution. You can make districts on a rational contiguous basis, but they have to take into account local geographic factors and population distribution.

      2. Can't be done unless you want districts so irrational that the public completely disengages from their congressperson and the election thereof, one of the consequences of gerrymandering. You would have to destroy community unity, toss together communities with no commonalities and a lot of distance between them, and shatter the voice of those communities. It would be hellish. The fact is that some areas just will never be competitive. I am in Ohio's 11th congressional district. My congresswoman had no Republican opponent this time because there's no point in a Republican running. We are the majority minority district, and we were compact and contiguous until the Ohio Republicans gerrymandered to pack even more Democrats into a handful of districts. Likewise, John Boehner's district is uncompetitive and a Democrat will never win. Trying to undo that is virtually impossible without damaging communities.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 07:38:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is more complicated than gerrymandering (0+ / 0-)

    Democratic votes tend to be packed into compact urban areas that are overwhelmingly Democratic. For example, 19% of Obama's PA vote came from a single county, 23% of Obama's OH vote came from a single county, and half of Obama's NY vote came from a single city! It would be almost impossible to spread those votes over entire states.

    Besides, a lot of the Democratic caucus loves those D+30 districts. They have seats for life.

    •  NY was redistricted by the courts this time (0+ / 0-)

      and ended up 21-6 D. That is because all the NYC districts save one went D, which is about right.  

    •  Redistricting is a royal pain (0+ / 0-)

      Unless there's a trifecta in state government, or some gentlemen's agreement to leave incumbents alone, it seems that more often than not redistricting ends in a court battle.

      I'm surprised that the GOP hasn't more often endorsed the idea of independent commissions since court-drawn maps tend to follow the letter of the law and produce fair (hence Democratic-leaning) districts. While commissions tend not to go in for outright gerrymandering, the membership can be manipulated and members lobbied to create maps that protect specific incumbents or lean one way or the other overall.

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