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A few nights ago, Rachel Maddow reported that Republicans were working to rig the next presidential election by targeting several states and changing how they assign electoral votes.

She was also frustrated because no one was reporting on this.

That has changed, at least a little.  In the last few days there have been several diaries, on the subject.  Other - left-leaning, but it's a start - are reporting on this.  Including, as I edit this, our front page.  Hooray!

The Maddow Blog has created an Election Process Toolkit

How does it work?  Let's go through an example. Imagine you have 1000 voters and 10 districts with 100 voters each.   Now say that votes split 60-40 for Ds versus Rs.  

You’d expect the Ds to win most of the districts, if everyone was scattered evenly throughout  the state, as they took 60% in each district.  

Congr.    Even Distribution   
District    Dem    Rep
CD 1    60    40
CD 2    60    40
CD 3    60    40
CD 4    60    40
CD 5    60    40
CD 6    60    40
CD 7    60    40
CD 8    60    40
CD 9    60    40
CD 10    60    40
Total    600    400

Or, alternatively, if Ds  all lived together and Rs all lived together, you’d have 6Ds going to Congress and 4Rs.

Congr.    Clustered Distribution   
District    Dem    Rep
CD 1    100    0
CD 2    100    0
CD 3    100    0
CD 4    100    0
CD 5    100    0
CD 6    100    0
CD 7    0    100
CD 8    0    100
CD 9    0    100
CD 10    0    100
Total    600    400

Gerrymandering in favor of Rs, however, clumps enough of the Ds together to make sure the other districts go R.  After all, you only need 51% of the vote to win a district.  In my example, I could easily make 7 districts R and 3 D – despite overwhelming support for Ds.

Congr.    Gerrymandered   
District    Dem    Rep
CD 1    100    5
CD 2    100    5
CD 3    100    5
CD 4    45    55
CD 5    45    55
CD 6    45    55
CD 7    45    55
CD 8    40    55
CD 9    40    55
CD 10    40    55
Total    600    400

The totals remain the same, but the results are completely different.

This is not just theoretical.  It’s happening.  Examples from Maddow show

83,000 more votes cast for Democrats than Republicans in the House.  
But the gerrymandering sent 13 Rs and 5 Ds to Congress

240,000 more votes cast for Democrats than Republicans in the House
But they sent 9Rs and 5 Ds to Congress

More votes were cast for Rs than Ds in the Congressional elections, about 52% to 48%
But the representation is not similar: 12 Rs and 4Ds

If the Republicans get their way and allocated electoral votes by the gerrymandered districts in targeted states - we will find it difficult to win any election.  In 2012, Romney would have won, despite Obama's getting 5 million more votes.

There's a proposal in Pennsylvania to implement this.  It is no idle matter, but a real threat to democracy.


Tired of politics?  Need to escape?  Try my Greek mythology based novels, either the story of Oedipus from the point of view of Jocasta, or a trilogy about Niobe, whose children were murdered by the gods - or were they?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MarciaJ720, Inland, Davui, GDbot

    by chloris creator on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:15:57 AM PST

  •  I am very worried about this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chloris creator, rubyduby7

    continued abuse of power by the GOP and the Tea Party folks.

    All I can hope for is that the people are beginning to wake up and go, "These R's are nuts and do not represent me because they won't allow me to be represented."

    They are playing dirty.  They are Authoritarian Bullies and nothing more, though they also have power.

    We don't need to be worried about Obama being a Communist, no, we need to worry about total control by a minority party.

    -6.13 -4.4 Where are you? Take the Test!!!

    by MarciaJ720 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:34:01 AM PST

    •  They have been lying and playing dirty (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GDbot, MarciaJ720

      for 30 years.

      Trickle down economics.
      Suppression of climate change information.
      Voter suppression.
      WMDs in Iraq.
      Lyin' Ryan and his marathon time (such an ego)

      A few people are waking up but unless we are vigilant we will lose our democracy.

      by chloris creator on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:41:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Short term victory strategy for long term failure (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chloris creator, GDbot

    Gerrymandering may bring you a ruling majority in the short term, but the ideological inbreeding that results is not a prescription for long term health of a political party.  Note what is already happening to the the Repugs.  When we return to control of state legislatures, which we will, we would be well served to not engage in the same practice.

    “The aim of mankind should be to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.”--Edith Hamilton (1867-1963)

    by cinepost on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:24:42 AM PST

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