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In 2010, the voters of Florida voted on a constitutional amendment, the Fair Districts Amendment (FDA), which purported to require the districts of both the state senate and state house of representatives to be compact, respect geographical and political boundaries, and not favor or disfavor any political party. The amendment (and a similar one that put the same restrictions on congressional redistricting) passed with over 62 percent of the vote, more than the 60 percent needed to pass. One would think that this would result in non-gerrymandered districts. However, Florida Republicans, who were in charge of redistricting in 2011, drew a set of maps that, while a bit tamer than the 2001-2011 maps, are still Republican gerrymanders. I have often wondered what the Democrats could have done if they were in charge of redistricting but still had to follow the rules of the FDA.

Thus, the purpose of this diary is twofold: One, to show what sort of maps the Democrats could have drawn if they had the opportunity to draw the maps, and two, to demonstrate just how toothless the Fair Districts Amendment really is. The biggest flaw of the FDA is that it leaves the redistricting pen in the hands of the state legislature rather than giving it to an independent commission.

If the Democrats had control of redistricting in 2011, they could have drawn themselves maps that would have all but guaranteed them majorities in the state legislature in all years better than 2010, even while still following the FDA. I present these maps below the fold.

Part 1: State Senate

Here is a map of the entire state (click through to see larger versions of these maps):

StSen dis whole state

District 1 (blue): Greg Evers (R-Baker)
Demographics: 76/15/4/3 (white/black/Hispanic/Asian, all VAP)
Prez ’08: 65-34 McCain

This district, based in Pensacola and one of the most Republican in the state, is almost identical to Evers’ current district. He’s completely safe. SAFE R.

District 2 (green): Don Gaetz (R-Niceville)
Demographics: 81/10/5/2
Prez ’08: 71-28 McCain

It makes sense that the reddest district in the state would be represented by the President of the Senate. He’ll make sure that the Redneck Riviera’s voice will be heard. SAFE R.

District 3 (purple): Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee)
Demographics: 61/30/5/2
Prez ’08: 57-43 Obama

The third and last panhandle-based district is substantially more Democratic than the other two, due to liberal and college-heavy Tallahassee and majority-black Gadsden County. Democrats usually outperform Obama here due to their strength with Demosaurs, and Montford is no exception. SAFE D.

District 4 (red): Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville)
Demographics: 48/40/7/3
Prez ’08: 61-38 Obama

This district is about as Democratic as possible for one entirely in Duval County, and it still looks nice. Jacksonville is no haven for white liberals, but there are enough to allow African-American Democrats to consistently be elected here, but not enough to make Gibson vulnerable to a primary challenger. SAFE D.

District 5 (gold): Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach)
Demographics: 77/10/6/5
Prez ’08: 65-34 McCain

This district includes the remainder of Duval and all of Nassau. It’s somewhat of a white flight district, and thus is strongly Republican. Bean is very safe. SAFE R.

Here is a map of the I-4 Corridor:

StSen dis central

District 6 (teal): Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange)
Demographics: 78/10/9/2
Prez ’08: 53-46 Obama

This district includes most of Volusia County, only excluding DeBary and the Pierson area. Volusia narrowly voted for Romney in 2012 after voting for Obama by 6-7 points in 2008, but once those conservative areas are removed, this district was probably about 50-50 in 2012. Democrats don’t have a great track record of winning 50-50 districts in this area, but they should be able to compete here. Republicans have a slight advantage because they have an incumbent here. LEAN R, but close to tossup.

District 7 (gray): David H. Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs)
Demographics: 64/15/16/4
Prez ’08: 51-48 Obama

This district includes all of Seminole County and then a small, ultra-Democratic section of Orange. Seminole County had a much smaller Republican swing in 2012 than Volusia, so this district probably also voted about 50-50 in 2012. However, Democrats in Seminole have a much better record of winning close races here, as shown by the victories of Mike Clelland and Karen Castor Dentel for state representative in districts based in Seminole. Either of those two would be great candidates here. TOSSUP.

District 8 (slate blue): Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando)
Demographics: 47/27/19/5
Prez ’08: 59-40 Obama

This district is basically the western part of Orange County. It contains Apopka, Winter Garden and Ocoee, most of the African-American areas of Orange County, and the conservative-leaning southwestern part of the county. However, as a whole it is solidly Democratic. Thompson won’t have any problems here. SAFE D.

District 9 (cyan): Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando)
Demographics: 57/9/28/5
Prez ’08: 57-42 Obama

Gardiner loses his portion of Brevard County and is given a district that he can’t win. The fast-growing and Democratic-trending Hispanic population here will only make this district become more Democratic with time. LIKELY D with Gardiner, SAFE D without him.

District 10 (deep pink): Darren Soto (D-Orlando)
Demographics: 47/9/39/5
Prez ’08: 57-42 Obama

This district contains the remainder of Orange, all of Osceola, and then a Republican portion of Polk (there’s a good reason for this, as you’ll see). This area trended strongly Democratic from 2008 to 2012, and Soto ran exactly even with Obama in 2012, so he’ll be fine. SAFE D.

District 11 (chartreuse): Open seat
Demographics: 69/16/10/4
Prez ’08: 55-44 Obama

This district includes all of Alachua and the less Republican areas of Marion, including the western part of the county, west Ocala, and Marion Oaks. Amazingly, no incumbent lives in either Alachua or Marion Counties, and due to the blueness of this district, a Democrat would be favored here. The only way a Republican could win here is if turnout plunged at the University of Florida. LIKELY D.

District 12 (cornflower blue): Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island)
Demographics: 79/12/6/2
Prez ’08: 70-29 McCain

This district takes in a bunch of strongly conservative counties right where the western panhandle forms. It also includes right-wing Clay County, a bunch of suburbs of Jacksonville, where Bradley lives. No counties are split in this district. SAFE R.

District 13 (dark salmon): John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine)
Demographics: 84/7/6/2
Prez ’08: 61-38 McCain

This district takes in dark red St. Johns, light-red Flagler, moderate-red Putnam, and the remainder of Marion. The only islands of Democratic strength here are Palm Coast and Palatka, and they are easily drowned out by the exurbs. SAFE R.

District 14 (olive): Alan Hays (R-Umatilla)
Demographics: 81/8/9/1
Prez ’08: 59-41 McCain

This district takes in the remainder of Volusia, all of Lake and Sumter (the latter home to the ultra-conservative retirement community The Villages), and a small, Republican portion of Polk. This is Republican territory to the core. SAFE R.

District 15 (dark orange): Charles Dean, Sr. (R-Inverness), Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby)
Demographics: 86/4/8/1
Prez ’08: 55-44 McCain

This district includes Citrus and Hernando Counties and some generally conservative areas of Pasco. This area is filled with white retirees, most of whom vote reflexively Republican. Dems just have no strength here, particularly at the state legislative level. The primary between Dean and Simpson would be very interesting, but either would be favored in the general. SAFE R.

District 16 (lime): Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg)
Demographics: 74/14/7/4
Prez ’08: 60-39 Obama

This district contains all of St. Petersburg as well as Pinellas Park and Largo. It undoes the ridiculous gerrymander in place now that gives Dems only one state senator in the Tampa Bay Area, despite both Hillsborough and Pinellas voting for Obama. Brandes stands no chance here, and probably wouldn’t even run here. Any Democratic state representative here could run. SAFE D.

District 17 (dark slate blue): Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater)
Demographics: 86/4/7/2
Prez ’08: 52-47 McCain

This district contains the remainder of Pinellas, and then takes in a small, strongly Republican part of Hillsborough for population equality purposes. This area is generally pretty Republican, but state representative Carl Zimmerman (D) represents a district with about this partisanship, and he would be a strong candidate for the Dems. Still, winning here would be an uphill climb. LIKELY R.

District 18 (yellow): Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa)
Demographics: 53/12/30/3
Prez ’08: 56-43 Obama

This district includes downtown Tampa and unincorporated areas to its north and west, such as Town ‘n’ Country, Carrollwood Village, and Lake Magdalene. Joyner doesn’t get the Democratic vote sink that she currently has, but she should be able to win this without much trouble. SAFE D.

District 19 (yellow-green): John Legg (R-Port Richey)
Demographics: 74/9/13/3
Prez ’08: 53-47 Obama

This district takes in the remainder of Pasco, and then a portion of Hillsborough that includes northeast Tampa, Temple Terrace, and Lutz. This is a swing district that probably narrowly voted for Obama in 2012. Two good candidates for the Democrats would be state representatives Mark Danish and Amanda Murphy. However, this district will be hard-fought either way. TOSSUP.

District 20 (pink): Tom Lee (R-Brandon)
Demographics: 59/17/19/3
Prez ’08: 53-46 Obama

This district includes a wide swath of eastern Hillsborough County, including Pebble Creek, Thonotosassa, Brandon, Riverview, and Sun City Center. This district probably voted for Obama by about 5 points in 2012. This could be a closely fought district, and while the Democrats might have a slight edge, I’d still rate this as TOSSUP.

District 21 (maroon): Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland)
Demographics: 66/15/16/2
Prez ’08: 50-49 Obama

This is the purple district that I was trying to create by putting as much of Polk County’s Republican areas as possible in the 10th, 14th, and 22nd districts. This district was probably incredibly close in 2012, as most of the swing toward Romney here was in the heavily white areas, many of which are in other districts. Democrats don’t have a great bench here, but they should at least be able to make it competitive. LEAN R.

District 22 (sienna): Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton)
Demographics: 78/6/14/2
Prez ’08: 59-40 McCain

This district includes the remainders of Polk and Hillsborough Counties, all but the most Democratic areas of Manatee County, all of Hardee and DeSoto, and a small part of Highlands. Galvano might live either here or in the 28th, but he’d most likely run here since it contains more of his current district. Any Republican could easily win here. SAFE R.

District 23 (aquamarine): Garrett Richter (R-Naples)
Demographics: 79/3/16/1
Prez ’08: 61-38 McCain

This district takes in almost all of strongly-conservative Collier County and the southern part of Lee County. This is hard-core Republican retiree territory, and Democrats have absolutely no bench and no chance here. SAFE R.

District 24 (indigo): Lizbeth Benacquisto (R-Fort Myers)
Demographics: 40/29/28/2
Prez ’08: 67-32 Obama

Benaquisto may live here, in the far western part of this district, but there’s no way that she’d run here. She’d much more likely run in the 27th. This district is a new majority-minority district stretching from Fort Myers to West Palm Beach, and including minority-heavy areas between them such as Hendry County, Immokalee, and Belle Glade. This is the most Democratic district on the map outside of Broward and Miami-Dade. SAFE D.

District 25 (pale violet red): Open seat
Demographics: 68/16/13/2
Prez ’08: 54-45 Obama

This district includes all of St. Lucie County, Democratic parts of Indian River, and Palm Bay and Melbourne in Brevard. The three incumbents who represent this area live in Rockledge, Sebring, and Stuart. While this wouldn’t be a slam dunk for the Dems, they would start out modestly favored. LEAN D.

District 26 (gray): Thad Altman (R-Rockledge)
Demographics: 85/6/6/2
Prez ’08: 58-41 McCain

This district takes in the remainders of Brevard and Indian River Counties, including Titusville, Cocoa, Rockledge, Sebastian, and Vero Beach. Altman is completely safe here. SAFE R.

District 27 (spring green): Open seat
Demographics: 85/4/9/1
Prez ’08: 55-44 McCain

This district contains the remainder of Lee County plus all of Charlotte and Glades. No incumbent lives here, but Benacquisto represents most of this area already, and she would run here and win easily. The white retirees here are not hospitable to the Dems. SAFE R.

District 28 (plum): Nancy Detert (R-Venice)
Demographics: 82/6/10/1
Prez ’08: 51-48 Obama

This district includes all of Sarasota County, which is generally the least red county on Florida’s Gulf Coast south of Tampa Bay, and then takes in the most Democratic areas of Manatee County as well. This district probably voted narrowly for Romney in 2012, and Detert is one of the more moderate Republicans in Florida (though that isn’t saying much), so I’ll say this district is LEAN R. Dems would have a good chance at winning here once Detert is term-limited.

District 29 (dark sea green): Denise Grimsley (R-Sebring), Joe Negron (R-Stuart)
Demographics: 83/4/10/1
Prez ’08: 55-44 McCain

This district includes most of Highlands County, all of Okeechobee and Martin, and northern and coastal Palm Beach all the way down to Boca Raton (hey, the FL Reps did it for Bill Hager’s House district). This area shifted strongly Republican in 2012. Negron would probably defeat Grimsley in a primary, since he represents more of this district. But either of them would have no problem winning this in a general election. SAFE R.

Here is a map of South Florida:

StSen dis south

District 30 (light coral): Joseph Abruzzo (D-Wellington), Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth)
Demographics: 58/13/26/3
Prez ’08: 61-38 Obama

This district includes a chunk of Palm Beach County, taking in Royal Palm Beach, Wellington, Greenacres, Palm Springs, and Lake Worth. I’d guess that either Abruzzo or Clemens would move into the 24th to run there, since neither have any better options. A primary between these two would probably be messy and close, so hopefully they could come to an agreement. But no Democrat could lose this district in a general election. SAFE D.

District 31 (khaki): Jeremy Ring (D-Parkland), Maria Sachs (D-Delray Beach)
Demographics: 73/11/11/3
Prez ’08: 63-36 Obama

What can I say? This map really messes up the incumbents in this area. That’s what a (supposedly) nonpartisan map is supposed to do. Ring would probably move into the 33rd to run there, and let Sachs run here in a much safer district than what she currently has. That way, both incumbents would have districts that were dominated by their home counties. SAFE D.

District 32 (orange-red): Chris Smith (D-Fort Lauderdale)
Demographics: 33/44/18/3
Prez ’08: 79-20 Obama

This is the African-American district in north-central Broward County. It includes all of Sunrise, Lauderhill, Lauderdale Lakes, North Lauderdale, and Tamarac as well as parts of Coral Springs, Pompano Beach, and Fort Lauderdale. This is the second-most Democratic district in the state. SAFE D.

District 33 (royal blue): Open seat
Demographics: 65/13/17/2
Prez ’08: 60-39 Obama

This district includes all of Margate, Coconut Creek, Deerfield Beach, Oakland Park, and Dania Beach, as well as parts of Pompano Beach and Fort Lauderdale. No incumbent lives here, but Jeremy Ring would probably move here and run here. He’d win here easily, too. SAFE D.

District 34 (lime green): Open seat? Maybe Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood)?
Demographics: 47/12/34/5
Prez ’08: 61-38 Obama

This district includes Plantation, Weston, Davie, Cooper City, Pembroke Pines, and part of Hollywood. It’s not clear if Sobel lives in the part of Hollywood in this district, but even if she doesn’t, she’d probably run here, since the rest of Hollywood is in a district that is dominated by Miami Gardens and Miramar. Sobel, or any Democrat, would be completely safe here. SAFE D.

District 35 (dark orchid): Oscar Braynon (D-Miami Gardens), maybe Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood)
Demographics: 22/37/38/2
Prez ’08: 77-22 Obama

This district includes most of Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Miramar, Miami Gardens, Country Club, and Opa-Locka. Even if Sobel lived here, she’d probably run in the 34th, leaving this district for Braynon. He, of course, would be completely safe. SAFE D.

District 36 (orange): Dwight Bullard (D-Miami)
Demographics: 11/44/42/1
Prez ’08: 84-15 Obama

Bullard loses his gerrymandered district, and with it Hendry County and Perrine, and gets a nice compact district, including the northern half of Miami, most of North Miami and North Miami Beach, and a bunch of mostly-black unincorporated areas. This is the bluest district on this map. SAFE D.

District 37 (dodger blue): Gwen Margolis (D-Miami Beach), Miguel Díaz de la Portilla (R-Coral Gables)
Demographics: 32/3/62/2
Prez ’08: 53-46 Obama

The only Democratic incumbent who is really screwed under this map is Gwen Margolis. There’s simply no room for a non-Hispanic white state senator in Miami-Dade anymore. This district probably voted 55-56 percent for Obama in 2012, since Miami Beach and Coral Gables stayed flat while Miami itself swung massively to the left. It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Margolis could both win the primary and defeat Díaz de la Portilla in the general, but I’d feel much more comfortable if the Democrat here was Hispanic. I’d say LEAN D for Margolis vs. Díaz de la Portilla, but LIKELY D if either the Democrat was Hispanic or the Republican was someone else.

District 38 (medium aquamarine): Open seat? Maybe Anitere Flores (R-Miami)?
Demographics: 23/9/65/2
Prez ’08: 53-46 Obama

This district encompasses the Florida Keys as well as Homestead, Leisure City, The Hammocks, Doral, and Fountainbleau. This district swung strongly toward the Democrats in 2012, and Obama probably got 58-59 percent here. Anitere Flores might run here, since there is some overlap with her current district, and she apparently lives in Miami despite her not representing any of Miami. There have got to be some strong Hispanic Democrats here who could win this, LIKELY D.

District 39 (moccasin): René García (R-Hialeah)
Demographics: 6/1/93/1
Prez ’08: 66-33 McCain

This district includes Hialeah, Miami Lakes, and the most Republican areas west of Miami. This district is a Republican vote sink, and even though it swung heavily to the Dems in 2012, it still probably voted around 60 percent for Romney. García lives here and would definitely run here. The best-case scenario for the Dems would be if the two other Republican incumbents also ran here, since the more Republicans who run here, the fewer who can run in the three light-blue districts that surround this one. SAFE R.

District 40 (firebrick): Anitere Flores (R-Miami)?
Demographics: 19/10/67/2
Prez ’08: 54-45 Obama

This district takes in some middle-ring suburbs such as Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, Kendall, and Kendale Lakes. It swung toward Obama in 2012, but not as much as the 38th did; it probably voted about 57 percent for Obama. This district is yet another option for Anitere Flores, and it is also a possibility for Miguel Díaz de la Portilla as well. A Hispanic Democrat would probably win here, though. LIKELY D.

So, in total, that is:
13 SAFE R (1,2,5,12,13,14,15,22,23,26,27,29,39)
1 LIKELY R (17)
3 LEAN R (6,21,28)
3 TOSSUP (7,19,20)
2 LEAN D (25,37)
4 LIKELY D (9,11,38,40)
14 SAFE D (3,4,8,10,16,18,24,30,31,32,33,34,35,36)

Thus, with this map, Democrats would be able to win a steady majority of seats in any year better than 2010. In addition, many of the more marginal seats are trending Democratic, so the Dems’ chances of winning those would improve over time. And all this is possible while still following the Fair Districts Amendment.

Part 2: State House of Representatives

My map of the Florida House of Representatives also favors the Democrats while still following the FDA. Since there are 120 districts, I will not discuss each individually; instead I will look at the regions, counties, and metropolitan areas of the state, and use those to organize this part of the diary.

Here is a map of the entire state:

StRep dis whole state

Here is a map of the Panhandle:

StRep dis panhandle

I create a new Democratic-leaning district in Pensacola that is 30 percent African-American. I also create a new Democratic district in the Tallahassee area by putting the most African-American areas of Tallahassee with Wakulla, and then having a district entirely in Leon just north of that, which allows for the creation of a mostly-rural district (the 7th) stretching from Marianna to Lake City. This district voted 51-48 for Obama in 2008, but is more Democratic downballot.

Here is a map of the Jacksonville area:

StRep dis Jax NE

Here I drew another Democratic district in Jacksonville, making three in total. The new one is blue and is 31 percent African-American. All three are safe for Dems. I also drew a Democratic district entirely in Alachua that split Gainesville in half, and then the other half of Gainesville goes with Putnam County. Both are around 56 percent Democratic. There’s also a new winnable district that connects St. Augustine with Flagler County, and then adds Holly Hill in Volusia County. That district probably narrowly voted for Romney.

Here is a map of the Orlando area and the north-central part of the state:

StRep Orlando n-cen

I drew two Democratic districts in Volusia, one based in Daytona Beach and the other based in Deltona, and the remainder of the county is a Republican district. Marion County is just the right population for two districts, and so I drew a 50-50 district and a strongly Republican district. Lake County is also just the right population for two districts, but both are Republican since trying to make one Democratic would have required some substantial gerrymandering.

Seminole plus Orange is just the right population for ten districts. I drew a Democratic-leaning one based in Sanford, a Republican one that is arguably the most gerrymandered district on this map, and then the other eight districts all are mostly or entirely in Orange County and all are solidly Democratic.

On the Gulf Coast, I tried to draw a winnable district in Hernando County, and what I came up with voted for McCain by 600 votes. It might be winnable in a wave year. I also kept the current design of the Pasco County districts, trying to solidify the Democrats’ hold on the westernmost one.

Here is a map of the Tampa area and south-central Florida:

StRep tampa-polk-scen

In Pinellas County, I tried to draw four districts that would at least lean Democratic, and then one solidly Republican district and one pink district for Carl Zimmerman. In Hillsborough, I portioned out the heavily Democratic areas to a bunch of districts to spread the wealth around. My least favorite district on this map is the 59th (the red one in NW Hillsborough) since it includes a bunch of light-blue areas which are outvoted by some solidly-red areas. However, the solidly-red areas were too big to be sunk with bluer areas, and I didn’t want to cross county lines, so I basically had to draw that district. There are currently only three Democratic state representatives in Hillsborough; this map would increase that to five.

Manatee County is just the right population for two districts, so I drew a light-blue one and a dark-red one. Sarasota excluding North Port is also just the right population for two districts, so again I drew one Democratic district and one Republican district. Highlands and Okeechobee have almost enough people for a district, so I added on some Republican areas of St. Lucie to those two counties.

I had some fun with Polk County. The orange and maroon districts are Democratic-leaning, as are both of the Osceola districts, while the rest of the districts in Polk are solidly Republican. In Brevard, I drew a Democratic district that connects Palm Bay with Cocoa and Rockledge. The other Brevard districts are all solidly Republican.

Here is a map of southwestern Florida:

StRep sw fl

This region is currently represented entirely by Republicans, but I drew one marginal district and one solidly-Democratic district. The marginal district contains North Port and Port Charlotte; it voted for Obama by about 800 votes in 2008 and narrowly for Romney in 2012. The remainder of Charlotte goes with Hardee, DeSoto, and Glades to form a new district. Collier County has just the right population for two districts if you take out Immokalee, however Collier is too red to draw any Democratic districts. Maybe, once more Hispanics start voting there, it will be possible, but not now.

Lee County is just the right population for four districts, and all four districts on the current map are represented by Republicans. However, it is quite easy to draw a Democratic district by combining Lehigh Acres and Fort Myers; this district (District 72, blue on my map) voted 59-40 for Obama in 2008 and thus should be safe for Dems. The other three districts in Lee are all safely Republican.

Here is a map of the St. Lucie, Martin, and Palm Beach Counties:

StRep st lucie palm beach

In St. Lucie County, I created a more solidly-Democratic district based in Port St. Lucie. I also drew a majority-minority district (the 82nd, light green on my map) in the Florida Heartland that includes Immokalee, Hendry County, the Belle Glade area, Indiantown, and Fort Pierce. It is over a third African-American and voted 2-1 for Obama in 2008. The rest of St. Lucie and Martin Counties are in Republican districts.

In Palm Beach County, I made the Republican district in the northern part of the county much more Democratic by adding Lake Park and Riviera Beach. The rest of the districts in Palm Beach County are all solidly Democratic, and three of them are less than 60 percent white (one is less than 50 percent white). Unsurprisingly, I eliminated Bill Hager’s district, which now voted 59-41 for Obama in 2008 and includes the downtowns of Boynton Beach and Delray Beach. Only one district on my map includes parts of both Palm Beach and Broward.

Here is a map of Broward and Miami-Dade Counties:

StRep broward m-d

First, I eliminated George Moraitis by splitting his district in half along the Pompano Beach/Fort Lauderdale line, and made both new districts solidly Democratic. There are still three African-American-opportunity districts in north-central Broward, and I tried to keep as many cities intact as possible when drawing them. The southern part of Broward has a Weston/Davie district, a Hollywood/Cooper City district, a Pembroke Pines/Southwest Ranches district, and then three districts that go into Miami-Dade. Two are black-opportunity districts and one is the Miami Beach district.

In Miami-Dade, I tried to take as much advantage as possible of the Dems’ rapidly increasing fortunes with Hispanics there. I drew a Miami Beach district, six African-American-opportunity districts, four ultra-Hispanic Republican vote sinks, and the remainder of the districts are designed to elect (probably Hispanic) Democrats. I used my knowledge of how the areas shifted from 2008 to 2012 in order to make the Democratic districts as secure as possible. Most probably voted about 59-60 percent for Obama in 2012. District 108 (Doral, Fountainbleau) actually voted for McCain by seven points, but that area swung to the Dems so much in 2012 that that margin was probably almost reversed. Even if the Republicans do win any of the Democratic-designed districts in Miami-Dade, the whole area is moving out from under them very quickly, and by the end of the decade we’d probably hold them all.

I’m not going to rate every single state House district here. However, there are only 44 safely Republican districts here out of 120, and just over 60 districts that I would consider to be safe Democratic. Thus, it would take a year at least as bad as 2010, if not worse, for the Democrats to lose the state House of Representatives.

As I have demonstrated, it is still possible to gerrymander Florida’s state legislative districts even with the Fair Districts Amendment. Thus, if Floridians really want their state’s redistricting to be nonpartisan, they need to go further and take the power of the pen out of the hands of the state legislature. Until then, no reasonable person should expect gerrymandering to end in Florida.

I hope you enjoyed reading, and I welcome any questions, comments, or ideas on how to draw a better law-abiding gerrymander of Florida!


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  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

    by ProudNewEnglander on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:00:05 AM PDT

  •  Somewhat intertesting, you made your point. (0+ / 0-)

    Gerrymandering is still not just possible, but the reality. An "independent' commission might help, but who chooses the commissioners?

    •  Iowa has a Legislative Service Agency (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ypochris, Englishlefty

      that draws the maps and disregards all factors other than population. These people are (I believe) nonpartisan experts who know what they are doing, as opposed to in California, whose redistricting commission was full of clueless people who were easily swayed by outside groups.

      The Iowa Legislative Service Agency does research and analysis for the Iowa Legislature. It's as if congressional redistricting was done by the CBO.

      (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

      by ProudNewEnglander on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:33:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I really like the nature of Iowa's commission but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Hate how with the constitutional requirement of no split counties and lowest possible deviation the current congressional map slices the state like a square pizza. It's totally possible to split no counties, stay within a federally acceptable 1% deviation, yet preserve a more urban Des Moines + Ames seat and a rural western Iowa district running the entire wester border, which I think makes for more logical CoI and has the effect of making Steve King safe and IA-03 Obama+9. The legislative maps seem fine though since they can't avoid but splitting more counties.

        Have you drawn alternative California maps? I thought the process and outcome there were fine, but I also can't map California without selecting just a single county at a time because my computer is 5 years old so I'm not as familiar with it.

        Nice work on Florida though, they really need one more amendment to set up an independent commission.

        •  Not alternate nonpartisan maps (0+ / 0-)

          but I've drawn a clean Democratic gerrymander of California in the mold of the Florida style. The key is what to do with Kings County, that heavily-Republican county in the Central Valley that's always in Hispanic districts and keeping them Republican. Kings County is why Andy Vidak and David Valadao were elected. But it's required to be in a majority-Hispanic district, so I found an interesting place to put it.

          I don't have much time to write diaries about my California maps, but I can show them to you if you'd like.

          (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

          by ProudNewEnglander on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 10:03:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  A political act (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I agree with your conclusions, but I don't necassarily agree its a bad thing.

    To try and conclude that drawing political districts is anything other than a political act is hard to believe.  (The people who would be qualified to draw the lines of an extrenal group would have to have political backgrounds anyway to understand the problem.)  That being said the rules in FL are now listed.  If you follow the rules, the party in power using the rules to their best advatage seems fair.

    I am a statistician, not a magician although we are easily confused. I guess that explains why people keep trying to tie me in chains and place me under water.

    by Edge PA on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 07:21:16 AM PDT

    •  There's some logic to that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Edge PA

      but then you must have no problem with Florida's current maps.

      Now personally, I don't really think that the FL Senate map follows the Fair Districts Amendment. Arthenia Joyner's and Dwight Bullard's districts are, I believe, unconstitutional gerrymanders. And the Fair Districts Amendment allows for the odious Clay/Alachua district that destroys any chance of Gainesville getting representation in the state senate.

      So I'm no fan of Florida's current rules, even though they do make redistricting more interesting, particularly to us hypothetical redistricters.

      (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

      by ProudNewEnglander on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 07:30:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think the current maps are illegal (0+ / 0-)

        But if I understand the rules (I don't live in FL, just what I have learned here at DKOS with diaries like this) then these maps are legal gerrymanders.

        I am a statistician, not a magician although we are easily confused. I guess that explains why people keep trying to tie me in chains and place me under water.

        by Edge PA on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:15:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There are ways to minimise the politics (0+ / 0-)

      In Britain the practice is to have a non-partisan commission draw the lines (non-partisan in the sense that anybody with any political involvement in the past decade is barred from sitting on it), which takes evidence from all groups, including political parties. But the only evidence it can consider is of community ties, not of partisanship.

      The systems aren't directly comparable (British civil society is rather less politicised, we elect fewer officials for historic reasons, we're not as bothered about population or electorate equality and use larger building blocks than American precincts, to name a few of the biggest differences) but it is possible to reduce the level of hackery involved.

      That said, there's really no good reason to depoliticise the process state by state, because all it means is losing an advantage in any state you control whilst continuing to face an uphill struggle where you aren't in control.

  •  Not much of a Democratic gerrymander if (0+ / 0-)

    it depends on us winning such marginal districts just to get to 50-50.

    We no longer ask if a man has integrity, but if he has talent. - Rousseau, Discourse on the arts and sciences

    by James Allen on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 07:24:47 AM PDT

    •  Actually, Dems would only have to (0+ / 0-)

      win the light-blue state senate districts to get a majority. They wouldn't have to win any of the purple districts, many of which are trending Democratic.

      And remember, I was trying to follow the FDA at the same time. If I didn't have to do that, I could have made several of the districts more secure.

      If not for the FDA, I would have 1) added Port Charlotte to the 28th and removed some red areas of Sarasota County, thus moving that district from Lean R to Tossup, and 2) put the red areas of St. Lucie County in the 26th and added Cocoa and Rockledge to the 25th. And those are just two examples.

      And the state House map has 60 seats that I would call safe Democratic, so Dems would be pretty invulnerable there.

      (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

      by ProudNewEnglander on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 07:38:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  you are characterizing pretty marginal (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        districts as "light blue".

        We no longer ask if a man has integrity, but if he has talent. - Rousseau, Discourse on the arts and sciences

        by James Allen on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 07:39:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which districts are you thinking of? (0+ / 0-)

          I thought I was being relatively conservative with my ratings.

          (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

          by ProudNewEnglander on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 07:42:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think a 57% Obama district without (0+ / 0-)

            a strong incumbent is necessarily a "Likely Dem" seat, and I don't think a 55% or weaker Obama district without a strong incumbent is necessarily a "Lean Dem" seat, if we're talking 2008 numbers. I think your ratings are too friendly to us. I mean here we have a house district where Obama got over 58% in 2008 and Republicans have always had it.

            We no longer ask if a man has integrity, but if he has talent. - Rousseau, Discourse on the arts and sciences

            by James Allen on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 08:45:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I definitely disagree (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GoUBears, Stephen Wolf

              I looked at the legislative district maps of Florida, and, excluding the Cuban districts in Miami-Dade that the Dems stupidly left unchallenged in 2012, the most Democratic district in Florida that is held by a Republican is HD-67 in Pinellas County, which voted 52.8% two-party for Obama. That district is represented by Ed Hooper, who is a strong, relatively moderate incumbent (but still got only 53%). There are only four other Obama/Republican House districts (and one Obama/Republican Senate district) outside of Miami-Dade, and all voted less than 52% for Obama, and none of the Republicans in those districts got over 55% in 2012 unless they were unopposed.

              Every district in Florida that voted 57%+ for Obama elected a Democrat, almost all by wide margins. Every district in Florida outside of Miami-Dade that voted 55%+ for Obama elected a Democrat, and for most of those it wasn't particularly close. Generally state legislative Dems underperformed Obama by only one or two points, so even if a district voted 55% for Obama in 2008 and then dropped to 53% for Obama in 2012 (and many places in Florida didn't drop that much), the Dem would still likely get at least 51-52% for a win. Thus, I feel that my ratings are justified given the previous election results and swings.

              (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

              by ProudNewEnglander on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 09:06:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  you may be right (0+ / 0-)

                but if we didn't have good candidate recruitment, and definitely when inevitably a strong Republican year occurred, I don't think this would be completely solid. I do think 2012 was a pretty neutral year, but I don't think we should expect every year to follow it closely.

                We no longer ask if a man has integrity, but if he has talent. - Rousseau, Discourse on the arts and sciences

                by James Allen on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 01:12:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  No black-majority district? (0+ / 0-)

    Any district with over 40% African-American VAP outside Alabama ought to elect a black Democrat, but my understanding was that jurisprudence still required it to be 50% to count. Could you make 36 and 32 (or 35 for that matter) A-A majority, and if you did that what would be the impact?

    For that matter, could it be argued that your district 39 is a racial gerrymander? I suppose it would depend how much of the Cuban population is corralled there relative to the rest of the Hispanic population.

    •  Drawing a majority-AA district (0+ / 0-)

      entirely in Broward is not possible unless some pretty crazy (and FDA-violating) lines are used. As for the two based in Miami-Dade, if one was over 50% black then the other would run the risk of not electing an African-American. Having both be about 40% black is the best way to ensure that both districts will elect African-Americans. As I see it, the options are to have one district with a 100% chance and the other with a 50% chance of electing an African-American, or both districts with a 90% chance of electing an African-American. I'll take the latter.

      As for district 39, the only way that it would be a racial gerrymander is if the surrounding districts weren't also majority-Hispanic. However, three of the surrounding districts are over 60% Hispanic (and the other two surrounding districts are the African-American ones). The three districts with Hispanic percentages in the mid-60s should easily be able to elect Hispanics. Thus, while district 39 could be described as a partisan gerrymander, it's not a racial gerrymander.

      (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

      by ProudNewEnglander on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 06:53:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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