We simply must win back the state legislatures. There are several reasons each of which, I believe, is sufficient in and of itself. First, it is utterly unacceptable to have voter suppression laws pass. It is unconscionable. The fact that republicans would do this alone disqualifies them from consideration from any reasonable voter. I despise them for their efforts to do this. Second, anti choice legislation must not be foisted upon American women and American families. No, not in 2012. Third, we must win back the US House of Representatives. It is this third reason that I wish to concentrate on in this diary.
Why did we not retake the US House of Representatives ?
After all, we have the resultsfrom the elections.
Although a small number of ballots remain to be counted, as of this writing, votes for a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives outweigh votes for Republican candidates. Based on ThinkProgress’ review of all ballots counted so far, 53,952,240 votes were cast for a Democratic candidate for the House and only 53,402,643 were cast for a Republican — meaning that Democratic votes exceed Republican votes by more than half a million.More than half a million.
What is Gerrymanderring ?
In the process of setting electoral districts, gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating geographic boundaries to create partisan or incumbent-protected districts. The resulting district is known as a gerrymander (ˈɡɛrimændər, alt. ˈdʒɛriˌmændər); however, that word can also refer to the process.While there are limits to gerrymandering (it cannot be unfair to minority populations), state legislatures and the state courts create the boundaries (using software) for congressional districts. Republicans control most state legislatures. Mitt Romney only won 24 states. However, we have the following results :
24 Republican-controlled governmentsFewer people vote for state senators and state representatives than for US Representatives and US Senators. Therefore, we have the ability to make more of an impact in those races. Let us all remember that President Obama once served as a State Senator in Illinois.
14 Democratic-controlled governments
3 Democratic Governor/Republican-controlled Legislature
4 Republican Governor/Democratic-controlled Legislature
1 Independent Governor/Democratic-controlled Legislature
1 Republican Governor/Split Legislature
2 Democratic Governor/Split Legislature
1 Republican Governor/Non-partisan Legislature (Nebraska)
If we do not take back more of the state legislatures, we will still not be able to win back the US House of Representatives unless we win in a wave election.
Consider Pennsylvania, where President Obama won 52 percent of the votes cast, and Democratic Sen. Bob Casey defeated his Republican rival, 53 percent to 45 percent. Yet Democrats won just five of that state’s 18 U.S. House seats. They carried both districts in the Philadelphia area — by 85 percent and 89 percent, respectively — and three other districts, by 77, 69 and 61 percent. Of the 13 districts where Republicans prevailed, GOP candidates won seven with less than 60 percent of the vote; in only one district did the Republican candidate’s total exceed 65 percent of the votes cast.DeLong points out
Why such lopsided numbers? Because Republican-controlled redistricting after the 2010 Census packed Democratic voters into a handful of imaginatively shaped districts around Pennsylvania’s urban centers and created a slew of GOP districts in the rest of the state. The overwhelming Democratic margins in the two heavily African American Philadelphia districts didn’t require constructing oddly shaped districts, but carving up the rest of the state to minimize districts that Democrats might win required politically driven line-drawing of the highest order.
D.R. and M.D.:For a graphical representation of how messed up things are check this out:
Congressional representation: Now that’s what I call voter suppression: NO SOONER had Barack Obama been re-elected than John Boehner sought to pre-empt the president’s argument that his agenda had been vindicated. “The American people want solutions,” the speaker of the House said, “and tonight, they’ve responded by renewing our House Republican majority. With this vote, the American people have also made clear that there is no mandate for raising tax rates.”
Did not! The Democrats won 50.6% of the votes for president, to 47.8% for the Republicans; 53.6% of the votes for the Senate, to 42.9% for the Republicans; and… 49% of the votes for the House, to 48.2
[I]t is a problem for the country that the House has ceased to reflect the immediate popular will. The current crop of Congressional Republicans have proved themselves willing to go to unprecedented lengths--principally putting the Treasury at risk of default--in order to implement their policy agenda… perhaps the biggest changes in decades to the role of government in the economy will be negotiated by a party that was rejected at the polls. For at least the next two years, America will remain stuck with a gravely unrepresentative House of Representatives…
So how did Republicans keep their House majority despite more Americans voting for the other party—something that has only happened three times in the last hundred years, according to political analyst Richard Winger? Because they drew the lines.As long as they get to draw the lines for the congressional districts, we will face a very uphill battle trying to win back the US House of Representatives even if we win more votes for our Democratic US House of Representative Candidates.
After Republicans swept into power in state legislatures in 2010, the GOP gerrymandered key states, redrawing House district boundaries to favor Republicans. In Pennsylvania, Democratic candidates received half of the votes in House contests, but Republicans will claim about three-quarters of the congressional seats. The same is true in North Carolina. More than half the voters in that state voted for Democratic representation, yet Republicans will fill about 70 percent of the seats. Democrats drew more votes in Michigan than Republicans, but they'll take only 5 out of the state's 14 congressional seats.
And the consequences of this? A reasonable budget cannot pass. The Bush tax cuts will expire. However, the middle class tax cuts will also expire. We will be able to get very little passed or done.
We must step up our efforts to win back state legislatures and governor seats.
We conclude that there was a general preference for Democrats in 2012 House races of 52% to 48%--roughly the same as the Republican advantage of 52% to 48% in the 2010 midterm elections. The Democratic wave this year had much less impact than the Republican one in 2010 because despite the large Republican majority in Congress, very few Republicans actually represented Democratic-leaning districts--in sharp contrast to the number of Democrats representing Republican districts in 2010. This disparity is tied to the Democrats' inefficient distribution of their votes--primarily resulting from the Democratic vote being naturally more concentrated, and in some cases (such as in North Carolina, where Democrats won four of 13 seats while winning the statewide popular vote in House races) due to gerrymandered maps.The 500,000 vote total from the source above may have slightly changed - probably not in a significant way and most votes being counted now are provisional = Democratic lean. They do not count races where there was no choice - only the incumbent. There were more Republicans in this situation than Democrats. So, that would mitigate the number to some extent. However, a good argument can be made for this methodology (in fact those putting together the numbers found it more reasonable to not count 1 person "races" than to count them ): what we want to know is: which party do the voters prefer ? Thus, one does not count "votes" when there is no alternative. Did this hurt the republicans ? Perhaps, but a prima facie case could be made that it hurt the Democrats more. Why ? Obviously, a partisan lean is dominant in a district that does not have a challenger. However, Democratic districts in this situation tend to be more population dense.
Open Seat Percentages versus District Partisanship: FairVote determines the partisanship of districts and assesses the average relative performance of Democratic and Republican candidates compared to that partisanship in open seats, where neither party has the advantage of running an incumbent. We determined that Democrats on average ran 2.1% ahead of district partisanship in open seats, which translates to 4.2% of the Republican candidates in those races.
"Incumbency Bump": FairVote calculates the average margin by which Democratic and Republican incumbents outperformed their district partisanship in their vote percentages. In strong incumbent years such as 2000, the average incumbency bump for both parties can be more than 8% (meaning an incumbent on average would receive 60% of the vote in a district where that candidate's party would be projected to get 52% of the vote in an open seat election). When one party's incumbents on average receive a greater "incumbency bump" than the other party's incumbents, there is an overall preference for that party in the election. This year, Democratic incumbents ran 6.2% ahead of district partisanship on average, as opposed to 2.5% for Republican incumbents - an edge of 3.7% for Democrats
Therefore, I am uncertain if any major changes from the conclusions of this diary are warranted from this new research.
But each person can draw his or her own conclusion.