How redistricting foils majority rule

The first two charts below show how Republicans used redistricting to tilt election results in Michigan.

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The two charts are in an excellent series of articles by Bloomberg News on how gerrymandering enables Republicans to win a majority of House of Representatives seats even in states where they get a minority of the votes.   The concluding article proposed a solution, a non-partisan commission to draw election districts, as was done in California under Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Click on the following links to read the articles.

Republicans Foil What Majority Wants By Gerrymandering

Republicans Win Congress as Democrats Get Most Votes

California Nonpartisan Districting Ousts Life Incumbents

The “Republican Plan” is a proposal to allocate Presidential electoral votes by congressional district (plus two at-large votes according to statewide votes).   The chart below shows how that would probably affect the results.

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The Republican advantage isn’t due entirely to gerrymandering.  Even if districts were drawn in a reasonable, geographically compact manner, Republicans would still have some advantage because, as political writer Thomas Edsall puts it, they are distributed more “efficiently.”  Democrats get huge majorities in a few city districts, while Republicans get smaller majorities in a larger number of suburban and rural districts.   But where redistricting is nonpartisan, the Congressional results align fairly well on average with the vote totals.

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And of course in states where Democrats are in the majority, they, too, gerrymander congressional districts.

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It is not that one party is all good and the other is all bad.  It is that, at present, Republicans are in a better position to gain an advantage by gerrymandering.

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Hat tip to Barry Ritholtz of The Big Picture for the Bloomberg links.

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3 Responses to “How redistricting foils majority rule”

  1. Chico Says:

    Reblogged this on The Deliberate Observer.

    Like

  2. Robert Nielsen Says:

    Thanks for collecting all the facts and graphs in one place. It shows the full scale of the gerrymandering.

    Like

  3. Bill elwell Says:

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention. As I wrote you earlier, this gerrymandering is destroying the idea of a representative government.

    Like

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