Posts Tagged ‘Redistricting’

How the GOP locked in control of Congress

October 12, 2016

Democrats stand an excellent chance of keeping control of the White House and a reasonable chance of regaining a majority in the Senate, but it’s a foregone conclusion that Republicans will retain control of the House of Representatives not only for the next two years, but for the next 10 years or more..

That’s because of a successful plan, code-named REDSTATE, that Republican operatives implemented starting in 2010.  By targeting money at key state legislative races, they ensured Republican control of state legislatures in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida.

rat666c-838x621Then they used Big Data to draw legislative and congressional districts in such a way as to guarantee Republican majorities, even when Democrats won a majority of the state’s popular votes.

David Daley described this in his book, Rat-F**ked: How the Democrats Won the Presidency But Lost America.   I haven’t read the book, but I’ve read an excerpt and interviews, to which I link below.

Gerrymandering goes back to the early days of the Republic, and has been used by Democrats and Republicans.  What’s new about REDSTATE is the use of Big Date—detailed demographic information and computer analysis—to make gerrymandering more precise and impregnable than ever was possible before.

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How redistricting foils majority rule

April 1, 2013

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

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The game of gerrymandering

January 16, 2013

Democratic congressional candidates nationwide got a million more votes in 2012 than the Republican candidates did, but the Republicans have a 238 to 201 majority in the House of Representatives.  Conservative and right-wing organizations focused on state legislatures, and gerrymandered district boundaries to give the advantage to Republicans.

Some of the techniques are shown in the video:

  • Cracking.  If a community votes for the other party, break it up among many congressional or legislative districts so they are a minority in every one.
  • Packing.  If your supporters are geographically scattered, extend and distort the district boundaries to gather them in.
  • Bleaching.  If members of a minority group vote for the other party, gerrymander them out of your district.
  • Hijacking or kidnaping.  Change the district boundary to separate the other party’s candidate from her neighbors and require her to seek votes in a distant community.

Gerrymandering is used by both parties, and it is wrong no matter who does it.  But at the present moment in history, it is the Republicans who need it to retain national power.

Click on the following links for more information.

House Seats vs. Popular Vote by ProPublica.

The Hidden Hands in Redistricting by ProPublica.

How Dark Money Helped the Republicans Hold the House and Hurt Voters by ProPublica.