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Posted by on Feb 15, 2013 in At TMV | 8 comments

New Republic Challenges View On Redistricting And GOP

An interesting article in New Republic (hardly a right wing rag) challenges the view that GOP redistricting is responsible for their retaining control of the House.

The basic thrust of the article is that Democratic voters tend to be concentrated in urban areas while Republicans are more spread out in rural areas. The result is 85% D districts in the cities and 55% R districts in the country.

It is well worth reading.

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  • clarkma5

    I think it’s a really important point to make, not to sign off on the ridiculous gerrymandered districts that we have today, snaking through different corridors and towns to pick up safe majorities, but that even if we return to a more sane looking, geographically cohesive, and culturally sensitive set of district lines we’re not about to suddenly introduce a majority of competitive districts into the electoral system. The US is just too politically divided along those geographical and cultural lines that we would draw new districts in.

    Which is a big part of why open primaries is probably a more important electoral reform goal than independent districts is, though I support both.

  • slamfu

    Gerrymandering is such a blatant attempt at manipulating the system and undermining voters I can’t believe its legal.

  • PATRICK EDABURN, Assistant Editor

    I that gerrymandering is wrong. Living in California I’ve seen the Democrats rig things for decades.

    Funny thing is that many who now object to it had no problem when that happened.

  • SteveK

    Democrats rigging things for decades?

    Well, here’s an overview of the results of the last three California Congressional Redistricting:

    1992: Court ordered districts
    The 1990 census gave California seven additional congressional seats. Attempts by the legislature to draw up new districts were unsuccessful, as three different plans drawn up by the Democratic-controlled Legislature were vetoed by Republican governor Pete Wilson. In September 1991 the California Supreme Court took jurisdiction over the redistricting process to break the stalemate. Districts were drawn up by a panel of retired judges.
    2002: Bipartisan gerrymandering
    After the 2000 census, the California State Legislature was obliged to complete redistricting for House of Representatives districts as well as California State Assembly and California State Senate districts. It was mutually decided by legislators that the status quo in terms of balance of power would be preserved – a so-called Incumbent Protection Plan. A bipartisan gerrymandering effort was done, and districts were configured in such a way that they were dominated by one or the other party, with few districts that could be considered competitive.
    2012: Citizens Redistricting Commission
    Proposition 11, a California ballot proposition known as the Voters FIRST Act, was approved by the voters on November 4, 2008. It removed from the California Legislature the responsibility for drawing the state’s congressional districts, and gave the responsibility instead to a 14 member Citizens Commission. It also required that the districts drawn up (1) comply with the federal Voting Rights Act; (2) make districts contiguous; (3) respect, to the extent possible, the integrity of cities, counties, neighborhoods and “communities of interest”; and (4) to the extent possible, make districts compact. Several of these terms are not defined in law.

    Until three years ago I’d lived in California for 50+ years and I can not see how the California Redistricting process can be seen as “the Democrats [rigging] things for decades”.

  • dduck

    My district spans parts of Chinatown to northern Astoria and crosses the East River. Hmmm.

  • slamfu

    I’ve always had an issue with gerrymandering regardless of party, and I think that is true of the general public as well.

  • PATRICK EDABURN, Assistant Editor

    I was referencing the prior decades, most notably the 1980’s when Burton rigged things like mad

  • bookworm914

    I don’t think this is new or noteworthy, and in correctly identifying the point it misses the point. There is a gerrymander in effect between urban and rural districts, which is that the population of urban districts vastly exceeds the population of rural districts.
    If someone wants to semantically argue that the name for that isn’t “gerrymander”, that argument is irrelevant. Substitute the phrase “distortion of voting patterns”.

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