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View Diary: Gerrymandering, Electoral College by Congressional district, and the 17th Amendment. (100 comments)

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  •  Redistricting (3+ / 0-)
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    Deejay Lyn, tle, IreGyre

    IA does have a great system; however, IA is one of the most rural states and its much harder to implement a fair system in a state with urban centers (whether or VRA requirements apply).

    In states with urban centers, we can either put the entire urban area in one district, or split the urban area into multiple districts (eg, a radial map). The former is geographical compact but unfair to the urban party since you most likely have the urban district going 80-20 one way, and the remaining districts going 55-45 the other way even if the state is a 50-50 split. The latter is more likely to represent the state fairly but violates the geographic compactness principles that are in typical guidelines for independent commissions.

    I personally like multi-seat districts, but that only applies to larger states and has its own set of problems.

    •  California managed to draw a nice map (0+ / 0-)

      and it's hardly a rural state. Their system is probably good for most urban states. For states that are highly competitive on the Presidential level (no redder than NC, no bluer than MN), I'm a fan of affirmative competition mandates to minimize the number of safe seats.

      Male, 22, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02. "You're damn right we're making a difference!" - Senator-Elect Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison)

      by fearlessfred14 on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 09:03:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  True, (0+ / 0-)

        But do you think some of the competitiveness in California is also a result of the Top Two Primary system?

        •  I don't think that's most of it (0+ / 0-)

          Top Two has its own benefits IMHO, and might somewhat increase competition by encouraging moderate challengers like Bloomfield, Maldo, and Peters, but even with traditional primaries those districts would be competitive (maybe not Waxman's district, but certainly Bilbray's and Capps'). Under the old map, McNerney's district would be the only competitive district whatever the primary system. The others would just be too blue or too red.

          Male, 22, -4.75/-6.92, born and raised TN-05, now WI-02. "You're damn right we're making a difference!" - Senator-Elect Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison)

          by fearlessfred14 on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 02:30:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  CA (0+ / 0-)

        CA, although not rural,  is actually a terrible example of an urban state. Most people would claim that LA and SF are CA's two urban centers - at least they are the only 2 places which have characteristics that are culturally like cities. However, SF is not even the biggest city in the bay area, population-wise, and there is much sprawl both inside and outside the triangle formed by the 3 bay area cities. Meanwhile LA is more a collection of suburban sprawl extending for miles, than a city. The rural areas of CA are also higher density than in typical rural states, due to a combination of bedroom communities and high-density immigrant labor housing.

        There aren't many states like CA (and the few are in VRA states). More common among urban states is an urban area  surrounded by a donut of outer-ring suburbs and exurbs, with the rest of the state being rural.  See Portland, Seattle, Denver, SLC, Minneapolis, Omaha,  Chicago, StLouis/KC, Pitt/Phil, NYC, Boston, etc.

    •  I agree... (1+ / 0-)
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      I think MMP is the best possible solution, but I'm not exactly sure how you implement that on the congressional level. I think you'd have to increase the size of congress. Also, MMP has the affect of making government less stable since it would be unlikely one party would control a majority of seats.

      On a separate note, the VRA redistricting requirements does more damage to the democratic party than it does to benefit them. It was a great way to get minority politicians elected during the 60s, 70s, and 80s, but all it does is stall any further progress.

      •  MMP in the US (0+ / 0-)

        I think it can be done in states with more than 8 or so districts (maybe even 6 or 7). For example, consider a state with 10 districts and the following demographics (a pretty common occurrence):
          30%  Urban core (including inner-ring suburbs)
          50%  Suburbs and exurbs
          20%  Rural
        Then, you create a 3-seat circular urban district, a 5-seat suburban donut district (or 3+2) and a 2-seat rural district.

        In practice, this might mean that in a 50-50 state, you would end up with 2-3 urban liberal Ds, 1-3 suburban blue dogs, and 0-1 rural Ds that could be either populist or conservative, for a total of 3-7 Ds.

        Of course, individual states would have to tailor it to their circumstances (eg, a state whose rural population is split between farmer and ranchers may choose to not combine then, and a state with a major 2nd smaller city may have a single seat district for that city and its suburbs).

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