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View Diary: Did Gerrymandering Cost Dems the House? A 34-State Look at Alternative Nonpartisan Maps Suggests Yes (161 comments)

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  •  "what can we do about it?" The shortcut (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alumbrados

    In 2012, 42% of eligible voters didn't bother to show up.

    Why was that?

    A USA today poll, interviewing entitled voters who did not expect to vote, and why, says:

    They're too busy. They aren't excited about either candidate. Their vote doesn't really matter. And nothing ever gets done, anyway.
    Moreover:
    people who are eligible to vote but aren't likely to do so finds that these stay-at-home Americans back Obama's re-election over Republican Mitt Romney by more than 2-1.
    So, if all had voted instead of the Dems getting 31 votes of 100, the Rs 27, Dems would have gotten around 60 of 100, and crushed Rs.

    The question resolves not around which legislative levers to pull, but in getting people who have a stake to turn out and vote their natural inclination.

    That means, giving them something they want. What do 72% of Americans want? Jobs. Majorities of Republicans (56%), Independents (76%) and Democrats (91%) want a Federal Jobs Stimulus to create more than a million jobs.

    Talk about low-hanging fruit. 56% of Republcans!!! wanting a Federal Jobs Stimulus. Why this isn't the highest priority, shouted from the rooftops by Democratic Leadership 24/7... whatever that reason is, that's why we have a Republican House. Gerrymandering helps them; Democratic unwillingness to represent the will, and needs, of the people hands it over to them for free.


    Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

    by Jim P on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 03:25:27 PM PDT

    •  I should caution you though that (7+ / 0-)

      the statistical significance of non-voters is going to be horrendously low as for one they only conducted 1 poll and Suffolk University is not a good pollster. They stopped polling Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida prior to the election because 'Romney has them locked up' I kid you not.

      That being said, your general idea is certainly in the right ballpark as we've seen poll after poll after poll where Democrats do worst with likely voters, better with the wider registered voters, and best with all adults (in the poll). What that implies when dozens of polls find it is that non-voters are heavily Dem. So yes, that is the low hanging fruit in terms of getting new voters. But the whole point of that part of my diary was that the voters themselves don't matter. It's where the vote that does and if they're packed into Republican districts then it's irrelevant. We could spend <$10 million changing Ohio's lines and elect 5 new Democrats to congress. That's certainly a better bang for the buck than actual campaigns, sadly.

      •  This is so true (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stephen Wolf, elwior

        And I think we need to market this independent commission plan better to big Democratic donors so they can fund initiatives like the one in Ohio which had insufficient funding.

        Turning out voters does not work unless they are in the right districts. All the strategy and messaging and funding could be put into the right candidate but if they are in a district that is too Republican and does not have enough Democratic votes, our efforts just will not work and we cannot rely on every House district to nominate an Akin style Republican.

        For more election analysis and redistricting maps, check out my blog http://racesandredistricting.blogspot.com/ CA-2 (former CA-6) College in CA-37. Go Trojans!!

        by Alibguy on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 03:50:28 PM PDT

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        •  The highest unemployment and poverty (0+ / 0-)

          levels are in Red States. Whatever the gerrymandering, people will abandon their previous identifications if the choice is a do-nothing Republican and a Democrat looking to get them past living on food stamps, I'd think.

          I seriously doubt that, today, there's enough districts in the US composed exclusively of the well-off to keep giving Repubs majorities in every one. But they need a reason to abandon their previous loyalty.


          Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

          by Jim P on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 04:32:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sadly they won't though (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Englishlefty

            and I'll give you an example that is truly deplorable.

            Consider, for example, the Black Belt of the Deep South; that region stretching from roughly the Mississippi Delta up through northeastern South Carolina/Southeastern NC. It's one of the poorest regions in the country among both blacks (predictably) and whites, yet the whites there vote about 90-10 Republican in Louisiana through Alabama and 75-25 Republican through Georgia to North Carolina. This is despite the fact that they'd almost all gain from Democrats' economic policies. This is despite the fact that the choice is do-nothing Republicans and a Democrat looking to get them past living on food stamps. Republicans just play to their racism and that gets them so mad they vote against their own interests. Now obviously this isn't every white voter in that region, but the point still stands. This is a very poor region yet the whites are hyper-Republican.

            So it isn't just a matter of people overcoming gerrymandering because then it wouldn't be an issue! Obviously this is a problem that needs another solution than non-partisan redistricting but that's part of my point. We can't begin to help these people when they won't help themselves if we can't help ourselves.

            Think about this in broader terms. There aren't enough voters who are in the 1% to help the 1% repeatedly, yet the 1% makes out like bandits solely because there are a huge proportion of voters who vote Republican consistently and don't care. So clearly they don't need a reason not to abandon their loyalty.

            Thankfully those folks aren't close to a majority, but they get a majority of districts because they draw the lines and pack us into fewer districts. That is why we need electoral and redistricting reform.

            •  Well, still not convinced. Not that it's (0+ / 0-)

              an either/or situation, both angles, getting the non-voter to vote; redistricting need doing. But you don't get a chance for the second, if you don't get the first. Or at least I don't see how.

              Again, there's districts which go overwhelmingly for Republicans, but then how many just squeak by? And higher turnout... I think that's a wildcard we can play.


              Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

              by Jim P on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 05:37:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Issue 2's loss in Ohio (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Englishlefty

          was about way more than "underfunding." The GOP threw every dirty trick in the book at it, so much so that our 6-1 Republican state Supreme Court tossed out the first ballot language rigged up by the Republicans because it was untruthful. Their subsequent language was merely misleading. They saved untruthful for the campaign.

          In addition, the "underfunding" was relative to the glut of money on the other side from special interests who wanted to protect their investment in the politicians they owned.

          The GOP was frantic to hang onto their gerrymander because people in Ohio do not support their policies, now that the Tea Party has their nuts in a vise.

          Jon Husted is a dick.

          by anastasia p on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 04:36:25 PM PDT

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      •  First, thanks for this incredibly well (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior

        thought out, and presented essay.

        The 42% non-voting is in line with the last few elections (excepting 2008, when people were hungry for change.) And of course, mid-term elections have even lower turnout.

        Even the goal of changing the districts, which can't happen by 2014 anyway, isn't going to see Democratic victories without a genuine and convincing demonstration by the Party that they mean to provide the Federal Jobs Program, the "Restored New Deal" as it were, which the people overwhelmingly want.

        In either case (2014 or long-term redistricting), we have to give voters an incentive to both, come out when they usually wouldn't, and then to pick the Democrat in the race.

        I don't really see there's any concern in the Leadership with either the lack of jobs, the need to stop the overseas bleed of them, or any interest in the fact that half the population is now either in poverty or a month lay-off from it. And that situation has been growing steadily worse since Jan 2009, absent the short-term bump of the under-funded stimulus and the census-taking hires.

        Absent that, we'll see ever-decreasing turnout, as neither Party seems motivated to do the obvious and give voters what they need.

        Still, great essay you have here. Thanks for all the hard work you put into it.


        Actual Democrats is the surest, quickest. route to More Democrats

        by Jim P on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 04:28:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Those are also the voters (0+ / 0-)

      least likely to vote downticket.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 04:31:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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