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StrangeSox

The New Front in the Gerrymandering Wars: Democracy vs. Math

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Good article from the NYT looking at an upcoming potentially landmark SCOTUS case regarding gerrymandering. The article really looks into how badly the deck got stacked in Wisconsin and expands to the problem nationwide from there.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/29/magazine...-math.html?_r=0

 

This was one of the reasons I was most looking forward to a liberal replacement for Scalia. Part of the reason our politics is so broken is that politicians choose their voters and are ultimately not particularly accountable. We'll see if the legal arguments in this case are enough to get Kennedy on board with the 4 liberals or not.

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The fact that elected officials get to determine the size/shape future districts that will be electing them is ridiculous. At least some states have independent commissions of non elected officials.

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QUOTE (LittleHurt05 @ Aug 29, 2017 -> 02:00 PM)
The fact that elected officials get to determine the size/shape future districts that will be electing them is ridiculous. At least some states have independent commissions of non elected officials.

Of course, you may also find some partisan bias in the states run that way.

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Sam Levine

@srl

Breaking news: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said the state's congressional map was so partisan it violated the state's constitution. Map is blocked for 2018 and they want it redrawn ahead of the primary.

 

Profoundly consequential win against partisan gerrymandering

 

12:35 PM - Jan 22, 2018

61 61 Replies 1,768 1,768 Retweets 4,177 4,177 likes

 

This relies on state law, so SCOTUS probably won't get involved.

 

 

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QUOTE (StrangeSox @ Jan 22, 2018 -> 03:03 PM)
This relies on state law, so SCOTUS probably won't get involved.

 

Itd be almost impossible for SCOTUS to get involved as the State Supreme Court is the highest court that interprets its own state laws. It can happen, but its rare.

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The New Yorker dives into this debate... I am glad to see someone else acknowledge population distribution as a factor.

 

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-commen...=social_twitter

 

(Although, because Democrats are increasingly clustered in cities, there is a limit to how much they can be helped by constraints on partisan gerrymandering; even with fairer lines, Democrats will continue to win urban districts overwhelmingly and struggle elsewhere.)

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538 took a look at gerrymandering along different lines:

 

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/redistricting-maps/

 

There’s a lot of complaining about gerrymandering, but what should districts look like? We went back to the drawing board and drew a set of alternative congressional maps for the entire country. Each map has a different goal: One is designed to encourage competitive elections, for example, and another to maximize the number of majority-minority districts. See how changes to district boundaries could radically alter the partisan and racial makeup of the U.S. House — without a single voter moving or switching parties.

 

We project that the House would be 251-184 Democratic if Democrats gerrymandered every state, but 264-172 Republican if Republicans gerrymandered every one. So it makes a huge difference!

Another interesting finding: maps that are maximally compact (minimize geographic distance) tend to be somewhat Republican leaning, because of Democrats' concentration in urban areas.

 

So population density is a factor, but overall it's a pretty minor one. Several seats either way, but definitely doesn't account for the majority.

Edited by StrangeSox

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QUOTE (StrangeSox @ Jan 25, 2018 -> 08:45 AM)
538 took a look at gerrymandering along different lines:

 

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/redistricting-maps/

 

 

 

 

 

 

So population density is a factor, but overall it's a pretty minor one. Several seats either way, but definitely doesn't account for the majority.

 

Wait, 13 seats is minor? Come on.

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In a body of 435, yeah? That's a 3% difference.

 

If population density was a major factor, you wouldn't see a maximally gerrymandered Democratic edge of 251 seats. It remains a factor, and it's hugely important in the Senate, but in the House it's dwarfed by other factors.

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QUOTE (Soxbadger @ Jan 22, 2018 -> 03:06 PM)
Itd be almost impossible for SCOTUS to get involved as the State Supreme Court is the highest court that interprets its own state laws. It can happen, but its rare.

 

don't need SCOTUS to get involved if the President Pro Tem of the Penn. Senate just tells the court he'll ignore their ruling.

 

https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default...26.18-Order.pdf

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QUOTE (StrangeSox @ Jan 31, 2018 -> 02:55 PM)
don't need SCOTUS to get involved if the President Pro Tem of the Penn. Senate just tells the court he'll ignore their ruling.

 

https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default...26.18-Order.pdf

 

Well see how that goes, if I was the SC Id put him in contempt of court and issue a warrant, then subpoena the records myself.

 

 

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SCOTUS declined to hear the case, thankfully. So if the GOP state senators keep refusing to follow court orders, what happens next? Any way for the state SC to actually force a new map in before the elections?

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QUOTE (StrangeSox @ Feb 5, 2018 -> 12:40 PM)
SCOTUS declined to hear the case, thankfully. So if the GOP state senators keep refusing to follow court orders, what happens next? Any way for the state SC to actually force a new map in before the elections?

 

Penn SC said theyd make their own map. And Judges can sign warrants, so my guess is that the Republican's will begrudgingly figure it out before people with handcuffs come to their house.

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QUOTE (Balta1701 @ Feb 5, 2018 -> 09:28 PM)
Pennsylvania Republicans have launched an effort to impeach the 5 state Supreme Court justices that voted to overturn their Gerrymander. Thanks to the Gerrymander they have the 2/3 majority necessary to successfully impeach them if they vote together.

 

Sen. Toomey says that impeaching the state Supreme Court justices is a "conversation that has to happen."

 

The court ultimately rejected the Republicans' replacement plan that was no better than the original and imposed their own districts drafted by independent experts.

 

There's a very strong authoritarian bent throughout the GOP these days.

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NC GOP up to more antidemocratic measures

 

 

 

I'd expect more of this across the country as the GOP struggles to win in fair elections.

 

e:

 

Edited by StrangeSox

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2 hours ago, StrangeSox said:

 

 

love our good democracy where you can routinely win legislative majorities with a minority vote share

So do you support reforming Illinois' mapping process?  I personally wish the whole country could develop a uniform way of creating district maps among the states, but that's probably wishful thinking.

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3 hours ago, StrangeSox said:

 

Wow. looking at the map you can really see the party divides. Urban center Democrats, everywhere else Republican.

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21 minutes ago, StrangeSox said:

"where people live, Democrat, gigantic open areas with more cows than people, Republican"

Yep. Although you should qualify it also by "where too many  people live on top of one another, Democrat, gigantic open areas where one can roam, enjoy life and know all their neighbors, Republican.

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An illustration of just how empty most of the country really is (when you take a bunch of cross-country flights to California, you really do see a whole heck of a lot of nothing out there)

 

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