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note:  I know what will be said in this post below will have been said before, both on the web and in other posts on this site and probably in much more articulate terms.  But it bears repeating.  And should be repeated every day, and in every possible way until the media finally begin to accept it as common fact.  Gerrymandering is the number one political problem in this country, far more important than Citizens United or filibuster reform and in 2012 it cost the Democrats from taking control of the House.

                                                        * * *

Much has been made over these last few weeks about the GOP's recently won control over the House of Representatives and how this fact should somehow embolden them to refuse to bend on tax rates.  This theory is based on the false assumption that the nation as a whole is still a center-right majority and the reason Mitt Romney lost was that he was a flawed candidate who did not articulately explain conservative dogma.  The argument goes that the reason the GOP did so poorly in the Senate was because of meddling in GOP primaries by fringe groups and in some cases Dems themselves, McCaskill I'm looking at you, and that those losses shouldn't be looked at as cause for alarm, as much as cause to crack down on the democratic process for electing GOP candidates.

In actual reality, gerrymandering costs the Democrats roughly 23 seats in this last election and incidentally control of the House.  Not only that, but the majority of the damage was done in just a handful of states, which all share a curious distinction this year of being considered swing states.  

Below the cheese doodle I will briefly lay out my work and assumptions and pose a series of further avenues of discussion.

Now that the final votes are tallied and a majority of the states have already certified their totals, it is a good time to revisit the case against gerrymandering and see how it affected the 2012 election.

I am doing just a broad analysis here and completely understand there are limitations to its usefulness.  There are just too many external factors involved to account for everything.  A bad candidate, a poorly funded one, a local issue that caused voters to go against their party ID, etc.  But bear with me because I think you will see that even when you try and give the benefit of the doubt to all these other factors, the end results still suggest something is rotten in the state of Denmark.  Besides the leverpostej that is, but I digress.

So let's assume the following:

That a person voting for the President in this election was likely to also vote for a Democratic House of Representative.  And that a person voting for Mittens Romney was likely to vote the opposite.  I know that there are people who vote for one party at the top of the ticket and another at the bottom, but this trend is getting smaller as we get more hyper-partisan and in this election there was such hatred for Obama by the right that I find it hard to believe enough Republican voters would vote for Obama at the top of the ticket and then a Republican Representative that it would move the data too much.  

Let's also assume then that the vote totals for President are a more clear indication of voter preference with regards to governance than vote totals for Representatives.  After all, most incumbent Representatives don't have adequate competition from the other side and with all the money from outside groups, it is much easier to sway the electorate in a Representative race rather than the Presidential one.  Besides voting for President is a state wide affair, so those living in highly gerrymandered districts can still vote for their preferred candidate at the top of the ticket, but may not bother with the other races since there is no point.

So basically what I am saying is that if 52% of the voters in Nevada voted for Obama, which they did, then you'd expect roughly 52% of the 4 Representatives Nevada is allocated, going to the Dems.  And what do you know, Nevada in 2012 sent 2 Dems and 2 Reps to Congress.

Now this is not an exact science, so let's give ourselves a plus or minus one on the number of Representatives to make sure we are not being nitpicky.  So if Nevada sent 3 and 1 instead of 2 and 2, it shouldn't necessarily be seen as a sign of something nefarious, but if Nevada had sent 4 and 0 to the House, I think you could make the argument that isn't in the interest of democracy, because how do 52% of the voters end up with essentially zero representation?  

So taking the vote totals of each state and comparing the statistical number of Reps versus the actual number of Reps we can start to look for broad patterns to alert us to anything unusual.  First the swing states.

As you can see 6 of the 12 swing states elected more Republicans than the vote total would suggest. A pretty high number that would suggest something caused it rather than just noise.  Also, no swing state elected more Democrats than their vote total and the more heavily contested a state, the more likely Republicans were to have an advantage.  To wit, the most lopsided states were Virginia, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  With only Pennsylvania not receiving the boat loads of advertising the other three states were subjected to.

Now take a look at the rest of the country.

What you can see from the above chart is that the states with the most discrepancies between vote total and House Representation happen to be the states where one party majorly dominates.  California, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maryland for the Democrats and Texas and most of the south for the Republicans.  But while the Democrats get some relief from gerrymandering from their states, it is not even close to enough to overcome the gerrymandering in GOP states.  

Not only that, most of the Dems gerrymandering is concentrated in the two huge states of New York and California.  The latter which supposedly has a non-partisan board drawing up districts, but still had a +5 Dem advantage.  I don't know what that means, but assuming the board did its job and wasn't secretly working for the DNC, that +5 may very well be in the normal range, but in that case just look at those swing state numbers.  There are 3 states, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania all with smaller populations than California, but all with a -4 Republican advantage and no non-partisan board.  What does this all mean?  I don't know, I'm not a scientist.  But if it's true the more people that vote, the better Democrats do, then maybe the same is true with regards to gerrymandering.  Meaning the less you gerrymander, the better Democrats do.  If that is the case then it would make the -4 states even more undemocratic than they already are.

Basically Democrats got 16 seats more than the vote totals might indicate from 5 states.  But lost 39 seats from 15 states the GOP controlled.

Now go back to the swing states.  Look at the spread between actual Reps and statistical Reps and what you see is striking.  Michigan -3, Pennsylvania -4 are perhaps the most egregious results, especially since we won both those states handily.  But look at the big 3, Florida -4, Ohio, -4, Virginia, -3.  Those are 3 states where Obama spent the most time and money.  And it shows in his vote total.  But it doesn't show up in the number of Representatives elected from those states.

So is gerrymandering like a Chinese finger trap?  The more you run up your vote total in the Presidency, the worse results you end up with on the House side?  And if that is true, does that mean we don't really even know the full damage of gerrymandering because it is only the swing states that matter and thus, the only states receiving large sums of advertising?  Or to put it another way, what if we took Georgia and made it a swing state.  In the last election Georgia gave Obama almost 46% of the vote.  That should have been good for 6 of Georgia's 14 Reps.  In fact Dems won only 5 of those races.  Not too bad considering, but what if Obama had put the money and time into Georgia as he did Ohio?  Would we see a situation where the Dems are unable to get more than 5 Reps even though their vote total for Presidency would rise? Is there a limit to the damage that gerrymandering can do?  And more importantly how do we change our tactics for 2016 and forward?  Because while Georgia may one day become a purple state at the Presidential level, something about this chart tells me that won't affect the House races that much.  And since we all see the damage done by a GOP controlled House, we are going to need a better plan than simply pouring money into a state and assuming that will reap offices.  Does that mean we need a non-partisan board making the districts?  I don't know, like I said, I'm not a scientist.  But this is a problem that the politicians won't touch because who wants to give up the power to decide which of your constituents you have to listen to?

Obviously there are many different ways to slice and dice this election data and I fully accept the fact I may have made my analysis entirely too simple to try and make any claims based off of it.  But what I do know is this.  We all heard the arguments about what to do with taxes.  And we voted based on the knowledge that if Obama won, taxes on the rich would go up.  To claim that the GOP has a mandate to refute that because it 'won' the House of Representatives is not only patently false, it is insulting to the millions of us who put blood, sweat and tears into this election.

This needs to be screamed about the way that Faux News screams about Benghazi.  This should not be left alone because it is hard to do math and stories about gerrymandering are not sexy.  

Thank you for listening, carry on.

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Comment Preferences

  •  State Democrats really do need to learn how to win (5+ / 0-)

    big in a census-year election.

    It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

    by Murphoney on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 05:14:07 AM PST

    •  2010 was a national wave (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RandomNonviolence, Gooserock

      it's more than just state Dems.

      I would argue the opposite - National Dems need to make sure they have the momentum going into decadal elections.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 05:27:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  isn't that sort of the opposite of the opposite? (0+ / 0-)

        I mean, all the momentum won't help if they lose control of redistricting -- again and again and again.

        It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

        by Murphoney on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 05:37:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  if they have momentum they won't lose control (0+ / 0-)

          Decadal elections are what determines redistricting. Gotta bring the A game.

          Dems lost everywhere in 2010. It was national. Not just local/state issues. Dems didn't have much of a national story (remember "recovery summer" and "don't give the keys back" ???).

          In 2012 nationally Dems had a better narrative - and Dems were much more successful.

          An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

          by mightymouse on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 05:51:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  "decadal" and census-year are synonymous. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            If "momentum" is what carries a census-year election: grand-o.  But momentum without a win in a census-year election is window dressing, without the window.

            And I disagree wholeheartedly with the intimation that state politics -- or even local politics, if that's what it takes -- is held captive by a national narrative.  It seems to me that Republicans are better willing (if not necessarily better able) to make use of the utile perspective that capturing state and local seats (school board elections, anyone?) can give you a foot in the door -- the micro-tip of the wedge that will move your agenda forward regardless of what the macro-story is.

            It seems curiosity has killed the cat that had my tongue.

            by Murphoney on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 06:01:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  thanks for the extensive documentation (4+ / 0-)

    of what is broadly 'known'. I'm tired of hearing them lean on this crutch as their only ammunition in these negotiations

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 05:20:05 AM PST

  •  About California (5+ / 0-)

    The gerrymandering in California was an incumbent protection plan that a more closely divided California legislature put in place in the reapportionment that followed the 1990 census and maintained after the 2000 census. The state is more Democratic than the incumbent protection plan suggested, so the +5 we have now isn't gerrymandering; it's correcting a previous gerrymander.

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 05:20:20 AM PST

  •  It's a really bad problem. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, bluezen

    Even with Republicans having more races in which they ran unopposed(thus getting more of the raw vote total vs. Dems than they would have if opposed), Democrats still got over one million votes more than Republicans in the House.  That's a worse discrepancy between popular will and actual outcome of the election than the 2000 Presidential election was, when Gore was ahead by 500k in the pop. vote, yet Bush was selected.

    Dave Wasserman ‏@Redistrict
    U.S.: House Dems' popular vote lead over GOP currently at 1,151,844 (59,244,595 to 58,092,751) & growing:

    I don't know what to do about it, tbh.  Could lawsuits work in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, where gerrymandering is just ridiculously bad?

    It's increasingly clear that Republicans have mostly only been able to have so much power in this millennium by cheating, cheating, cheating, and then cheating again.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 05:26:23 AM PST

  •  gerrymandering is a huge problem, (4+ / 0-)

    but its one case where saying "both sides do it" is not merely a false equivalency. Some of the most obscene gerrymandering is done to create ethnically pure districts in large cities. The shape of IL-4 from the last census in 2000 is probably the worst I've ever seen...

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 05:36:45 AM PST

  •  The problem stems from the paucity of House (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Hindsight Times, llywrch


    According to the Constitution, there should be one House member for every "30,000".

    Today, there should be about 10,000 House positions.

    Gerrymandering could still occur, but the effect would be greatly reduced.

    Notice: This Comment © 2012 ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 05:45:39 AM PST

  •  if some other country, claiming to be a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mindara, mightymouse, a2nite

    democracy, engaged in gerrymandering the way we do, they would be flogged in the court of public opinion as being corrupt & not representative of their population.

    and yet, we put up with it as "normal" -- why is that?

    good diary.  tip'd & rec'd.

    •  Because what is the alternative? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Somebody has to draw district lines.  And district lines are always going to favor somebody.  There's no way around that.  

      Gerrymandering takes place on both sides.  How many districts are drawn with crazy boundaries so as to assure a minority-majority district, meaning that it is an overwhelmingly Democratic district, like Louisiana Dist. 2, which is specifically drawn to leave sections of the Greater New Orleans area that are not minority-majority, or that don't have enough population so as to endanger the nature of a majority-minority district?

      If you drew district lines just around natural geographic boundaries, you'd (1) run into issues with the "1 person 1 vote" principle that the SCOTUS has said is required; and (2) greatly reduce the number of minority-majority districts, and likely reduce the minority representation in the House.  When you start looking at not only the number of people in a district but the ethnic make up of people in a district, that means that drawing the lines is necessarily going to have political winners and losers. There's no way around it.  So, most states allow the elected representatives in that state to draw those lines.  Again, elections have consequences, and this is one of them -- those who win elections get to (within certain constitutional boundaries) draw the lines.    

      •  "minority-majority districts" (3+ / 0-)

        While Republicans like to hold those up as examples of Democratic Gerrymandering, and they originally were, I think in a lot of cases such districting ends up helping the Republicans more than it does minority representation.  Because if you create one urban district that's overwhelmingly composed of minority (read: Democratic) voters, the surrounding districts are often overwhelmingly white (read: Republican).
        Some years ago, when NJ Democrats were arguing for "unpacking" some of the overwhelmingly minority districts, it was amusing to see the Republicans out there arguing that such a map would disadvantage minority voters.  The Democrats won that argument, and, consequently, control of the legislature in the next election.

        •  I completely agree with this (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bill W, nextstep, VClib

          I'm not sure it helps Republicans "more"  than it does minority representation, but it certainly helps Republicans "as well."  Because when you put as many minority voters as possible into one district, you draw the lines to leave out those areas that do not have minority majorities, and those all get put into another district that ends up being majority Republican.  

          As I've said, Louisiana District 2 (look how it specifically leaves out areas right in the center of New Orleans as well as the supposedly "white" densely populated areas of Orleans and Jefferson Parish near the Lakefront)  and District 1 (which puts those same densely populated areas into a district with the far less populated areas north of the Lake).  That's gerrymandering to create a minority-majority district (District 2) that also had the effect of creating another District (District 1) where Steve Scalise got 66% of the vote.  

        •  Are we past thinking that a person can only be (0+ / 0-)

          adequately represented by a person of the same sex, race, and religion?
          I mean really!

          WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

          by IARXPHD on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 07:30:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sadly, we are NOT in a "post-racial" society, so (0+ / 0-)

            if a district is overwhelmingly white, those voters can be expected in most cases to elect a representive who will ignore the needs of "minority" voters. Color-blind yet? No.

      •  While it's true that drawing district lines (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mightymouse, Brooke In Seattle

        is both required and causes winners/losers, you've left out that Republicans are grossly abusing the process.

        So the point is to find methods of reducing the abuse. Not to just give up, as you recommend.

        "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

        by nosleep4u on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 07:52:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There's really no such thing as "abusing the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          process."  The limitations on drawing district lines are pretty clear: (1) the one person one vote principle articulated by the SCOTUS; and (2) you can't draw lines that attempt to dilute minority representation.  

          As long as you do this, it's perfectly legitimate to draw lines for political reasons.  And it's equally true that both parties have drawn lines for political reasons.  The fact that Republicans got control of more state legislatures in 2010 and thus were able to control the line-drawing in more states is not "abuse" of the process.  You had to EXPECT that the party that won control of a state legislature in 2010 would be in control of redrawing districts after the 2010 census, and you had to EXPECT that, as long as they stayed within the constitutional limitations, they would draw those districts in a way that politically favors them.  If Democrats had won more state legislatures in 2010, I would have expected them to do exactly the same thing, because that's how our system of government works.  

          The districts are drawn favorably to the Republicans now because in the 2010 election they made big gains in control of state legislatures.  That's part of the "elections have consequences" deal, not abuse of the process.  It's how we have to expect the process to work when we vote for our state legislatures.   If Democrats don't like the way the districts are drawn now, the solution is to make gains in state legislatures in time for the next redistricting.  

      •  what's the alternative? how about straight grid (0+ / 0-)


        what's wrong with that?

  •  The problem is your assumptions (0+ / 0-)

    This is, of course, not always true:  

    That a person voting for the President in this election was likely to also vote for a Democratic House of Representative.  And that a person voting for Mittens Romney was likely to vote the opposite.

    And it is less and less valid the more "local" an election gets.  People vote based on who is running in their district, not for nationwide "governance," when they vote on a Congressional basis.  That is the system we have, and I don't think it's valid to try to extrapolate those votes into how those same people would have voted if there was a nationwide popular vote on "governance" in the House.  You can't make that assumption.  

    So this is also an invalid assumption:

    Let's also assume then that the vote totals for President are a more clear indication of voter preference with regards to governance than vote totals for Representatives.
    This is the biggest problem.  There is no vote for "governance."  In our system, there is no such thing as "voter preference for governance."  There is only a vote for a candidate in a specific election.  And, while you a acknowledge that many Republican candidates do not have a realistic Democratic candidate, the same is true for many Democratic candidates.  If a person in Louisiana voted for Romney for president, they may well have voted for a Democratic candidate in House District 2 because there was no viable Republican running.  The same is true in reverse -- a person may have voted for the President, but for a Republican in District 1, because there was no viable Democrat running.  

    This may be an interesting intellectual endeavor, but it says nothing about who "won" the House.  For that, we can only go by the system we have.  And under the system we have, the House has more Republicans than Democrats, and a Republican Speaker.  Rep. Scalise, for example, in District 1, was elected with a far greater margin of victory in his district than the President had nationwide, and that was by running on an extremely conservative platform down the line.  It is kind ridiculous to infer that he should take the position that he didn't really "win" his election as part of a House Republican majority and that he should abandon what he campaigned on -- and what got him a landslide victory in his district -- because of some theoretical argument that overall the people of the country as a whole voted for "governance" by Democrats.  

    I'm not saying Republicans in the House (like Scalise) shouldn't compromise --- absolutely they should, and must. They have to realize that the President won re-election, just as they did, and he retains the powers of the Presidency.  But just as they cannot expect the President to completely cave in and abandon everything he ran on and won, the President cannot expect House Republicans, like Rep. Scalise (or Democratic Dist. 2 Rep. Cedric Richmond) to abandon completely what they ran on.  Both sides must compromise, and neither side can be expected to cave in completely, if any governance is to happen.  

    Dealing in theoretical musings about who might have won if we had had a nationwide popular vote for "governance" is useless.  We don't have a system with a nationwide popular vote for anything.  We have an electoral college -- a state by state, not popular vote -- for President, a Senate where members represent the states that elected them, not the country as a whole, and a House where members represent the districts that  elected them, not the country as a whole.

  •  Eric Cantor's congressional district in Virginia (4+ / 0-)

    is a perfect example of the torturous gerrymandering that the GOP avails itself of. It is the 7th congressional district and here's a linky link to a map of it if you'd like to see the obscenity of it for yourselves ;)

    "On this train, dreams will not be thwarted, on this train faith will be rewarded" The Boss

    by mindara on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 06:27:35 AM PST

  •  Why assume when there are facts? (4+ / 0-)

    Wasserman has the House votes and you can see that the Dems got a million+ more votes, but also that there are districts where one party won the house and the other won the presidency.

    Disclaimer: If the above comment can possibly be construed as snark, it probably is.

    by grubber on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 06:28:13 AM PST

    •  True (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But the point of that article still stands ... that Republican gerrymandering is grossly out of control.

      "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

      by nosleep4u on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 08:01:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wasserman's spreadsheet shows another answer (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SilentBrook, nils o, madhaus

      Put aside the charge of Gerrymandering for a moment, & let's look at the races.

      In 26 House races, there were no Democratic candidates, 9 in states that Obama won. (Crap, no one ran against the Orange Man Boehner, according to this chart. Why was that? He needs to face a Democrat in every election until he's out of office!) The Republicans failed to offer candidates in 21 -- giving them a 5 seat advantage off the bat.

      Yes, 10 of these seats were in deep Red states like Alabama, Mississippi, & Kansas, but looking at the "Other" column for the races there were no Democratic challenger, 13 of them showed healthy 3rd-party totals -- in other words, in 13 races at least 10% of the voters would vote for anyone other than a Republican. Third-party candidates rarely have a decent political infrastructure to get more than 10% of the vote by themselves. Even more surprising, in two races -- CO-5 & KS-3 -- the "Other" candidates received more than 30% of the votes, which should make us all wonder if a well-funded Democratic candidate couldn't have won those two races.

      The problem isn't only Gerrymandering. It's that the Democrats also need to embrace Howard Dean's 50-state strategy. Or we'll never free ourselves of these dysfunctional Republicans & their billionaire supporters.

  •  This is what happens in a system with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    first-past-the-post voting that is run by one political party with two factions.

    Every single problem you describe isn't just a problem with Republicans, it's a problem with Democrats, and in any case it does represent a problem with our system of elections as a whole.

    Every time a person votes, he's voting for a specific candidate that is by and large the product of the political party with which he self-identifies--and irrespective of what he believes or what the party's purported platform is.

    Our system of elections isn't set up to be responsive to voters' preferences on any matter; it's rigged--by both parties--to preserve incumbents' (and by extension the parties') power.

    That's why even though we're all about to eat an Austerity Shit Sandwich a bunch of people are still going to vote for the democratic representatives and senators who vote for the Sandwich and claim the noble mantle of "pragmatic" (instead of acknowledging the truth--that they're essentially mindlessly supporting a political party) while they do it.

  •  It's a Party Phenomenon of Conservatives Planning (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Brooke In Seattle

    on a generation long scale to work for control of key states and redistricting etc. combined with Democrats' historic aversion to voter motivation and their laser focus on nothing further ahead than the next step, which gets us historic disasters such as the 2010 census year debacle we'll be paying for for 15 years at least.

    It's much less if at all a phenomenon of voters.

    Hopefully the party's recent rediscovery of voter turnout will cure at least that much of our political ills.

    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 Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 06:32:53 AM PST

  •  After the 2010 elections (5+ / 0-)

    Boehner openly bragged that the new Republican state legislators would ensure through redistricting that the House would stay in Republican hands for years. He may have been right.  In Pennsylvania they definitely broke up the urban Democratic districts into the rural Republican strongholds resulting in fewer Democrats elected to the House.  

    "Life is too important to be taken seriously" Oscar Wilde

    by Annie B on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 06:34:32 AM PST

    •  Penn alone is a swing of 5 members from (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, SilentBrook

      shenanigans during redistricting.

      What the Dems have to learn is from the R's in Texas...if they regain control of the state leg, redistrict the state!

      It might get ugly for a while , but eventually the SCOTUS will have to rule one way or the other about doing that. Or perhaps it will spark a Constitutional Amendment for fair district requirements.

      WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

      by IARXPHD on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 07:33:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've done an analysis using Dave's redistricting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    website, and using Iowa rules (Where I live) and with the same presidential voting to house voting assumptions, I get almost exactly the same gerrymander effect.

    WTF!?!?!?! When did I move to the Republic of Gilead?!

    by IARXPHD on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 07:27:51 AM PST

  •  The GOP played by the rules and won (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bill W

    that's not really in dispute.  You can't really claim otherwise.  A sports analogy is a football game in which one side dominates in every single statistical category except the final score - the winner is still the team with the most points up there on the scoreboard . . .  

    The problem, of course, is that the rules are idiotic.

    •  You're right. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy, coffeetalk

      I think the analysis in this diary is fascinating, and it makes some good points, but you can't say that they didn't really win a majority in the House.  They did, under the rules that everyone agreed to going in.  
      To claim otherwise reminds me of the Clinton supporters four years ago, arguing that she really won the primary because if you added up all the actual votes cast in primaries and caucuses, she came out ahead.  Well, that's an interesting factoid, but that's not how we determine the winner.

  •  Lots of good arguments here- the fight has to (0+ / 0-)

    start in order to be won, and even if at first Dems and progressives lose battles, we have to engage:

    Publicize- take out ads showing redistricting maps that are textbook Gerrymanders (like the New Orleans one with the piece missing); make the point that they don't pass the smell test.

    Take the high road- don't wait for the other side to do the right thing; sponsor initiatives like the California one that make districts fairer, BUT make sure the commissions are not corrupt or biased.

    Confront ALEC- the American Legislative Exchange Counsel is behind much of the retrogressive work at the State level: writing model legislation, helping GOP candidates win, crafting GOP strategy. There needs to be an ALEC-specific Dem counter-strategy, because they're already ahead in that game.

  •  I think the nature of the problem... (0+ / 0-) well illustrated in this diary, though I'll quibble a bit about saying that they "did not win the House", with or without quotes around the word "win".
    But I wonder what the solution to the problem is.  Is our goal to have as many competitive districts as is possible, or is it only to see each state delegation's party balance roughly reflect the sum total of votes cast in that state?  I go back and forth on this.  It's tempting, in an idealistic way, to go with as many competitive districts as possible.  But what would happen when another '94 or '10 race occurs?  We think of a disaster as losing forty or fifty seats.  What if a party lost a hundred or more seats in one election?  

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