The U.S. Congress without gerrymandering

1242px-113th_US_Congress_House_districts_color.svg

Double click to enlarge.

The map above shows U.S. congressional districts as they are today.

The map below shows U.S. congressional districts as they might be using a computer-generated algorithm to make the districts compact.

gerrymandering_compact

Double click to enlarge.

There are other criteria that could be added, which is maximum feasible respect for existing county and city boundaries.

Any neutral drawing of boundaries will give some advantage to Republicans and to us white people, because Republicans and whites are more spread out while Democrats and minority groups tend to be concentrated in cities.

That means that in a particular state, Democrats could have a majority of the whole state’s vote, but Republicans have a majority in more congressional districts than Democrats do.

I don’t see any good answer to this.  A neutral formula such as the one above would be less one-sided than what we have now.

Once you start to deviate from a neutral formula, you have the present situation, which are districts intentionally drawn to elect or exclude certain individuals or to benefit a certain political party.

LINKS

What America would look like without “gerrymandering” by Christopher Ingraham for The Washington Post.

List of United States congressional districts on Wikipedia.  Detailed maps of congressional districts in each state.

Tags: , ,

2 Responses to “The U.S. Congress without gerrymandering”

  1. Chris Morton Says:

    I was wondering if you’d thought about breaking down what Congress would look like without any Gerrymandering of districts? How it would affect the no. of congressmen from each party, plus how it would affect the overall political landscape of America?

    Like

  2. philebersole Says:

    I don’t have the time, energy or ambition to look up the Democratic / Republican voter registrations in all the hypothetical districts, but my guess is that the result of a non-gerrymandered Congress would be as follows:

    1. Since incumbents would no longer be protected by gerrymandering, there would be a higher turnover of congressional seats and greater alternation between Democrats and Republicans.

    2. Since districts would no longer be configured to favor a particular voting group (such as black people or conservatives), congressional candidates would try to appeal to a broad range of voters.

    3. Since gerrymandering in the present era mainly favors Republicans, Democratis would gain some advantage. Even so, Republicans and conservatives would have some slight advantage even if districts were drawn on a non-partisan basis.

    This is because Republicans and conservatives are distributed more “efficiently.” Democrats and progressives tend to run up large majorities in concentrated urban areas, while Republicans and conservatives tend to run up smaller majorities in broad suburban and rural areas.

    This is just how things are and, as a self-described progressive, I do not complain of this. In the past, Democrats and progressives have been strongest in rural areas, and these is no law of nature that says they can’t be so again.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: