Click for full size graphic


HUGE Bloomberg article on Gerrymandering: “Still, it’s rare for one party to win more House seats while securing fewer votes than the other party. The last time it happened before 2012 was in 1996, when Democrats won the nationwide House vote by 43.6 million to 43.4 million as Republicans held their majority and Bill Clinton was re-elected president, according to the House Clerk’s office.”

Discuss . . .



Category: Digital Media, Think Tank

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

24 Responses to “Open Thread: Gerrymandering Foils Majority”

  1. willid3 says:

    so politicians are picking their voters as opposed to voters picking their representatives?

  2. Gerrymandering is just unethical. It is a way to circumvent the will of the majority. I believe that Congressional districts should be drawn with each district as near to be a square shape as is feasible.

  3. RW says:

    The US Senate was the nation’s concession to federalism — the notion that each state had a say regardless of its population — but by that very token the House of Representatives must be the voice of the populace and when gerrymandering stifles that voice it must be considered intrinsically unconstitutional; contrary to original intent and contrary to democratic principles.

  4. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    Gerrymandering allows the parties in power at the state level to affect the outcomes of federal elections with an outsized weight.

    Gerrymandering is, imo, unethical regardless of which party is doing it. Gerrymandering goes against the will of those who vote.

    Now the Republicans are looking to use gerrymandering in the allocation of votes in the Electoral College. Some articles have opined that Mitt Romney would have won the 2012 election if the Republican Plan for gerrymandering had been in effect.

    In fact, if every state awarded its electoral votes by congressional district, it’s likely that Mitt Romney would have won the 2012 presidential election despite losing the popular vote by nearly four percentage points. (According to Fix projections and data from Daily Kos Elections, Romney won at least 227 congressional districts and 24 states, giving him 275 electoral votes — more than the 270 he needed.)

    It seems odd that the Republicans, who seem to be concerned about voter fraud, want to enact policies that actively try to reduce the will of the majority of the voters.

  5. K Marquard says:

    It doesn’t just happen at the state level. In the City of St Louis where I live take a look at the 5th, 3rd, 6th and 19th wards. They gerrymandered the 5th and 3rd wards like that to make sure that the incumbent aldermen (who are favorable to a particular RE developer) held their seats. I would love to see the city Democratic Party charged under the RICO statutes one day for this and other acts.

  6. Fred C Dobbs says:

    Fred C Dobbs

    Boo Hoo! Who cares? It has been going on a long time, all parties using it, and no one does anything about it! Check out the Rome Republic, England, Massachusetts etc. Everybody did or does it. Does it cause worse or better laws to be passed? Does it cost anyone any money? Next.

    • sailorman says:

      It does cause laws to be passed that don’t reflect the majority of the populace view’s. If a politician can’t lose an election due to gerrymandering, than the representative has no incentive to care about the desires of the majority or to compromise and that has contributed to the gridlock in congress.

      The gridlock clearly costs us all a lot of money.

  7. msaroff says:

    The 2010 electoral debacle is the cause of this.

    It set up state legislatures and governors to do this.

    I blame Obama, who consciously demoralized his base in 2009-2010 for this, but YMMV.

  8. parsec says:

    On Election Night Fox News ruefully displayed the vast stretches of red on the congressional map implying that the true will of the people was being thwarted by the federal returns. But the Republicans have created a Dominion of Empty Space.

  9. subscriptionblocker says:

    “Gerrymandering Foils Majority”

    Yes it does. And it damages the party which “wins” – while laying the seeds for future blowback and destruction.

    This state (Texas) was always “colorful” – but I can’t remember a time when it’s politics was more self destructive and shallow. Unfortunately, when things turn (and they will) … we would be foolish to expect improvement. “The other bunch” has just as many crazies.

    That’s what gerrymandering does. It preserves careers which should have been swiftly extinguished.

    Think :

  10. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    In light of the widespread and obvious criminality and malfeasance permeating our entire social and political fabric — including the AG openly admitting that the JD was powerless over our TBTF banks, war crimes, tax scofflaws (if, that is there were any tax laws to scoff at, in the first place), massive fraud involving the RE/banking/finance industries, SC Justices openly nursing conflicts of interest, complicity of the deregulated press in advancing political/industrial propaganda, and the blatant and overt subversion of our Constitution (our chief executive claiming the right to murder citizens without any pretense of trial, for example) — compounded by an electorate too ignorant to separate intellect from emotion, a major political party openly and proudly hell-bent on the dismantlement of those parts of the government bureaucracy that do function effectively while threatening to destroy the reasonable and socially beneficial safety nets established to protect the the majority of the citizenry (with both political parties complicit in supporting the legislative capture of entire departments of our government by corporate interests), gerrymandering looks like nothing more than a booger, by comparison.

    Sorry for the run on, but y’all get my point.

  11. VennData says:

    Fred “Clarence Darrow” Dobbs,

    The “Everybody does it” so it’s OK. Your mom every get into that realm of sophistry with you Fred? Good argument. You on the debate team?

  12. Frilton Miedman says:

    I laugh, thinking of all the times hearing Republicans appealing to Tea Party angst, rambling on against “big government” while touting their belief in “Liberty” and “Freedom”.

    Meanwhile doing everything in their power behind the scenes to invoke minority rule, rig the vote and in the case of Michigan, removing elected officials from office & replacing them with unelected government.

    Libertarians have been caucusing with the wrong party.

  13. slowkarma says:

    I suspect that if gerrymandering were somehow minimized, the most immediate notable effect would be that there’d be almost no blacks in Congress…

  14. Hugh says:

    Gerrymandering has been used to ensure that minority candidates are elected; this affects the Democrats more than the Republicans.

    Abandoning gerrymandering might decrease the number of minorities in Congress.

  15. romerjt says:

    Surprised no one has offered a little history . . .
    “The term gerrymandering is derived from Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814), the governor of Massachusetts from 1810 to 1812. In 1812, Governor Gerry signed a bill into law that redistricted his state to overwhelmingly benefit his party”. “One of the congressional districts was shaped very strangely and, as the story goes, one Federalist remarked that the district looked like a salamander. No, said another Federalist, it’s a gerrymander. The Boston Weekly Messenger brought the term gerrymander into common usage when it subsequently printed an editorial cartoon that showed the district in question with a monster’s head, arms, and tail and named the creature a gerrymander.”

  16. jlj says:

    It would be nice if we just followed the constitution here, Article 1. Section 2. “The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; “

  17. scottinnj says:

    We need to call these things by their proper name. “Gerrymandering” sounds too cute or antiseptic. A better word for the minority subverting the will of the majority is “coup d’état”.

  18. NeilD says:

    Nate Silver had a nice article that touched on this. No doubt gerrymandering does not help. At the same time, however, Silver found that polarization rose even when controlling for gerrymandering in 2012. He also pointed to the propensity of voters to self-sort because of their political identities. Thus, Democrats tend to concentrate in the cities. while Republicans in rural areas.

  19. postpartisandepression says:

    Gerrymandering is unethical and unconstitutional and it does great harm. If we were to fix that one thing and require districts that were geographically intact (square is good) ,based on communities of interest ie rural vs suburban vs city since interests are different we would be 80% of the way to restoring our democracy.

    if we were to limit the campaign season to some reasonable length, throw out citizens united, and publicly fund campaigns as well as require equal air time as a public service on TV for candidates then we would fix the rest. This is not rocket science people. It has a simple well studied solution- that we can’t make those changes speaks to the failure of all of us.

  20. Fred C Dobbs says:

    VennData is right. It is a silly argument. But, what I meant to say was, I think we expect too much from government, sometimes. In this case, we expect government to accurately and exactly prorate representation in every election. This assumes it can be done, and I very much doubt it can be done accurately and exactly. The voter roles are stale, not up to date, and probably contain numerous errors. The cost of exactitude is probably enormous when compared with the benefit. An army of temporary searchers would, at taxpayer expense, have to go door-to-door, searching basements and out-buildings and work places getting everyone to prove who they are and are eligible to vote (something Congress has refused to require to prevent voter fraud) to come up with a temporary accurate count of voters etc. And the next day, it would no longer be accurate for someone died or moved away. A rough approximation will do fine, based on a census taken every 10 years, as all but a very, very few elections have been decided by less than one per cent. So a few murderers are not convicted and a few innocent are found guilty. We can’t expect exactitude out of others, we can only expect them to try, and balance cost v. benefit.

    • WhipTail says:

      Fred C Dobbs, what is all this about voters? Counting voters and updating voter rolls has no correlation with the census or representation in the House of Representatives. Apportionment, redistricting and gerrymandering of districts is based on the number of resident persons (including non-citizens, children, felons, and the insane who are ineligible to vote), not voters. Members of the House represent people, not voters.

  21. toto says:

    Some Republican legislators now are trying to gerrymander presidential elections by dividing more states’ electoral votes by congressional district winners.

    Republican legislators who want to split state electoral votes in states that have recently voted Democratic in presidential elections, do not want to split electoral votes in states that recently voted Republican in presidential elections.

    Professor Wang points out in the New York Times, “gerrymandering is a major form of disenfranchisement,” with millions of votes effectively diluted or deleted by moving district lines in such a way where one party can win a majority of seats even if the other party wins a majority of votes. “[T]he number of wasted votes [through gerrymandering] dwarfs the likely effect of voter-ID laws,” he surmises.

    Dividing more states’ electoral votes by congressional district winners would magnify the worst features of the Electoral College system.

    If the district approach were used nationally, it would be less fair and less accurately reflect the will of the people than the current system. In 2004, Bush won 50.7% of the popular vote, but 59% of the districts. Although Bush lost the national popular vote in 2000, he won 55% of the country’s congressional districts.

    The district approach would not provide incentive for presidential candidates to campaign in a particular state or focus the candidates’ attention to issues of concern to the state. With the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all laws (whether applied to either districts or states), candidates have no reason to campaign in districts or states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind. Nationwide, there are now only 35 “battleground” districts that were competitive in the 2012 presidential election. With the present deplorable 48 state-level winner-take-all system, 80% of the states (including California and Texas) are ignored in presidential elections; however, 92% of the nation’s congressional districts would be ignored if a district-level winner-take-all system were used nationally.

    Awarding electoral votes by congressional district could result in third party candidates winning electoral votes that would deny either major party candidate the necessary majority vote of electors and throw the process into Congress to decide.

    Because there are generally more close votes on district levels than states as whole, district elections increase the opportunity for error. The larger the voting base, the less opportunity there is for an especially close vote.

    Also, a second-place candidate could still win the White House without winning the national popular vote.

    A national popular vote is the way to make every person’s vote equal and matter to their candidate because it guarantees that the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states and DC becomes President.

  22. The US clearly has the most corrupt electoral system in the G-20. Besides gerrymandering, Congressmen freely admit spending 40% of their working week on fundraising activities. Obama … even worse.

    Their mismanagement of the country’s fiscal affairs is plain to see via the genuine economy. When one strips away the influence of the massive trillion dollar federal deficits from Real GDP, TRIX finds Structural GDP is -5.2% and has avg’d -8.6% since it entered a Structural Greater Recession in March 2007.

    structural & real gdp outlook charts: