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House D cands won 51% of vote, took 46% of seats. In 40 yrs, only 1 other time, 96, did maj party get House minority http://t.co/...
@jonathanweisman via Tweet Button

Here's a look at some of the most gerrymandered Republican states:

The GOP got outright House majorities despite statewide losses in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin, roughly getting twice as many seats as their statewide vote would suggest. The Democrats didn't manage that anywhere in the few states where they control the full redistricting process:

Democrats squeezed out modest advantages, particularly compared to the Republican gerrymandering efforts above. Meanwhile, non-partisan efforts produced the most equitable results:

Republicans lost the House vote yet managed a significant House majority. Given demographic changes, it's increasingly difficult for Republicans to win absent 1) calamitously low Democratic turnout, like 2010, or 2) rigging the system to provide systemic advantages. Democrats need to work toward eliminating both of those.

In case you are wondering, the very same gerrymandering that created those Republican-heavy districts also created heavily gerrymandered state legislative districts. So we've got quite the hole to dig out of.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:18 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (184+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terjeanderson, jennyp, pat of butter in a sea of grits, tle, indycam, Glenn Magus Harvey, SneakySnu, Dobber, puakev, TomP, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, blue aardvark, Brahman Colorado, politik, HeyMikey, Druid800, Sandy on Signal, poopdogcomedy, Siri, Glen The Plumber, mconvente, luckydog, S F Hippie, J M F, jbob, surfbird007, growingMajorityMN, jgnyc, Sandino, ask, Railfan, gizmo59, shortgirl, Deep Texan, Shockwave, OllieGarkey, democracy is coming, subtropolis, bleeding blue, middleagedhousewife, GrumpyOldGeek, Jim R, eXtina, JDWolverton, NormAl1792, john07801, petulans, kirbybruno, oldmanriver, Liberal Capitalist, cyncynical, Puddytat, decisivemoment, majcmb1, Alma, jck, brook, triv33, nova602, Greasy Grant, winsock, GeorgeXVIII, AUBoy2007, kurious, Bluesee, bryduck, FWIW, Floande, ericlewis0, KnotIookin, Hedwig, mayim, jnhobbs, ConfusedSkyes, Loudoun County Dem, shaggies2009, daddybunny, WheninRome, Ed in Montana, Renee, dotsright, kerflooey, Simplify, tgypsy, ColoTim, Ebby, Grandma Susie, rmabelis, antooo, SCFrog, raptavio, Laughing Vergil, LillithMc, gloriana, wu ming, doroma, jakedog42, mightymouse, anodnhajo, GayHillbilly, MikePhoenix, renbear, DvCM, trumpeter, annieli, BeninSC, WoodlandsPerson, George3, MartyM, wasatch, Wreck Smurfy, Statusquomustgo, multilee, camlbacker, DBunn, stevenaxelrod, muddy boots, peachcreek, ItsSimpleSimon, Frank Palmer, nomandates, Andrew F Cockburn, boudi08, krwada, sebastianguy99, pvlb, gof, bontemps2012, NBBooks, SilentBrook, a2nite, Sychotic1, 2thanks, turn blue, absdoggy, anastasia p, sgary, Illinois IRV, Lawrence, Ice Blue, madgranny, enemy of the people, Thinking Fella, SouthernLiberalinMD, Angie in WA State, Mistral Wind, MySobriquet, SeaTurtle, mcgee85, scamperdo, 88kathy, Skennet Boch, toom, Involuntary Exile, tofumagoo, roses, wild hair, Zinman, matt2525, leonard145b, sawgrass727, bythesea, eeff, Marjmar, Nowhere Man, RumsfeldResign, David54, bear83, devtob, BYw, createpeace, Tailspinterry, Texnance, Tennessee Dave, Jeff Y, Larsstephens, Lefty Coaster, Justin93, Bob Friend, Smoh, kevin k, Cederico, LilithGardener, SadieSue
    •  Agreed. But maybe, thanks to Tom Delay, it doesn't (51+ / 0-)

      have to be. He set the precedent for redistricting in the middle of the census cycle and got the Supreme Court to say it's legal. I say we make a priority of taking over some state legislatures and governorships in 2013 and 2014 and do it ourselves. I say Democrats in Colorado and Minnesota should do it now. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

      •  It can't be done in Colorado (17+ / 0-)

        The state courts have ruled that mid-decade redistricting violates the state Constitution. In doing so, they invalidated a remap passed by a GOP trifecta in 2003-04.

        37, MD-8 (MD-6 after 2012) resident, NOVA raised, Euro/Anglophile Democrat

        by Mike in MD on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:41:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm pretty sure the US Constitution trumps (4+ / 0-)

          a mere state constitution.

          Do it anyway, and make the state courts say no.

          •  But only prohibitions (4+ / 0-)

            When the USC says that you can't do something, then the state constitution is irrelvant.

            When the state constitution says that you can't do something, that governs the state. The Supreme Court merely said that the USC doesn't prohibit it.
             

            •  Citizen's Redistricting Commissions (6+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pelagicray, nolagrl, roadbear, bear83, BYw, kevin k

              Wherever possible, referendums to create Citizens Redistricting Commissions or systems like Iowa's ought to be promoted vigorously:

              (from Wikipedia)
              "The Iowa Legislative Services Agency uses computer software to generate a proposed redistricting map, disregarding all factors except population. Although the legislature must still approve the final maps, this process has not been contentious in the past. According to Ed Cook, senior legal analyst with the Legislative Services Agency, "The thing that makes us unique to most states is basically we don't take into account any political information."

              For congressional redistricting, the Iowa Code does not permit redistricting maps to split counties. For state-level redistricting, counties and cities should be split as little as possible. Greater leeway is given in splitting larger counties and cities. State law also mandates that all districts are drawn within one percent of their ideal population. Under the 2010 Census, ideal congressional districts for Iowa would contain 761,589 residents..."

              Approaches like these make for less polarized elections, more actual middle ground between candidates, and in California at least, representatives who actually reflect the demographic makeup.

              "Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards." ~Soren Kierkegaard

              by Beastly Fool on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:03:04 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Taking redistricting out of the hands (4+ / 0-)

                of politicians is a formidable problem, but one that will happen when voters demand it. How to get both liberals and conservatives outraged by how their votes are distorted by gerrymandering is the key issue.

                They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations ... (2Timothy 4:4-5, New International Vsn.)

                by Two cents from Derwood on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:07:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  It depends on each state's laws. (12+ / 0-)

        The Constitution doesn't bar mid-decade  redistricting, but each state's constitution or statutes may.

      •  It would backfire in Minnesota (8+ / 0-)

        There are some regions of the country where gaming the system like this is a cultural taboo, and Minnesota is definitely at the core of one of them.

        Besides, a large chunk of the problem in Minnesota is candidates and ticket-splitting, which aren't easy to handle in districting.  Both the Paulsen district (3) and the Kline district (2) are Obama-voting districts, yet with Republican congressmen that aren't getting serious challenges or anyone making a serious case for a challenge.  

        As things stand now in Minnesota there's only one solid Republican seat -- unfortunately, Michelle Bachmann's -- and one other seat where only a conservative Democrat can win (Peterson's; even as effective a campaigner as Wellstone couldn't quite carry this district).  Districts 2 and 3 ought to be considered opportunities for Democratic growth, not barriers to it, and Paulsen and Kline are almost as right-wing as Bachmann -- they certainly aren't moderates in the Frenzel or Ramstad mode.

        •  Good point (0+ / 0-)

          Obviously, you know the state better than I do, but I do know a little bit about the good government tradition in Minnesota and Wisconsin (although Wisconsin is not so rosy right now), and I can see how that might backfire.

        •  The numbers in these states were already "gamed" (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ryepower12, bear83

          Getting fairer redistricting would have yielded a bunch more Dem reps in Congress...

          “Parties do not lead revolutions. They follow them. And then only when forced to.” Joe Bageant

          by tgypsy on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:58:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Its a simple equation in MN (0+ / 0-)

          If you cheat you lose.....(See Wendell Anderson for a prime example of a political flameout.)

          The DFL's biggest problem is its split from the Indepenence party. (I have often written that these two parties are a prime example of a can't live with/without marriage.)

          If anything the DFL should propose and push fusion voting through the legislature. (Along with statewide IRV)

           

        •  Everyone likes to think their states are different (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not sure I buy it.

          Democrats can just simply explain that, as seen in Texas, this stuff is done now,  find a few fake republicans who think it's a swell idea, and talk enough baloney to make it go over well enough.

          The key would be to get the ball rolling now, so it's forgotten by the time the next election rolls around by all except the Republicans who now have vastly different districts.

          The 'vastly different' being the key -- even if they aren't anymore or less conservative, it's much easier to run a newcomer against an incumbent when that incumbent is working with a completely new district.

        •  I think we can take Bachmann. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Beastly Fool

          Seriously.

          There are some things that are unforgivable. Your willingness to play political games while people suffer and die is one of them--Onomastic

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:02:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  We can win without going back to the redistricting (7+ / 0-)

        well.  The districts the the Republicans created depend on low turnout on our side.  Crank up turnout, and we can win.

        •  But we had high turnout on our side this year (4+ / 0-)

          Certainly higher than we will have in an off-year.

        •  Um, no, we can't (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bear83, Bob Friend

          The turnout was cranked up to the max and we still got smoked this time around.

          Maybe ten years from now, after populations have shifted enough, we'll have a chance to win back the House... but otherwise, we have absolutely, positively no shot, short of the Republicans becoming the whigs, and as much as we all fantasize about it, that's not going to happen.

          And I've got more news for you: redistricting will only get worse for us next time around, if we don't do this now, because the people who vote on redistricting in most states get voted in office on low-turnout years.

          ---------

          Why is it that Democrats always bring a (plastic toy) knife to a NRA-sponsored machine gun shoot out of a fight?

          I get that so many of us have delicate sensibilities and care more about playing by abstract rules they create up themselves in their own sphere of what they consider is 'fair' than, say, you know... winning.

          The Supreme Court said states can redistrict pretty much whenever it wants.

          Those are the rules, fair as defined by the "refs."

          Let's play by them, and not by the rules of the wimpiest spoiled brat on the block who cries because all the  kids 'wouldn't play with him' because he wasn't willing to play by their rules, which allowed contact.

          Don't think any Republican state would think twice about redistricting if they thought they'd get some advantage from it. My guess is they already had the majorities in most of these states to max out their efforts, but should they think for even a second they can do better in the future... they will.

          Let's beat them to the punch.

          •  Why not go the Non-Partisan way? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Beastly Fool, Miggles, bear83

            California in my opinion did it smart by making the redistricting Non-Partisan. Why don't we simply make a drive to get every state to adopt that into its constitution?

            That districts are to be drawn by a non-partisan advisory board? The results might not be quite as good for Ds as partisan redistricting but it's still proven quite effective (Dem supermajority for the first time since the Tax revolt) and best of all it preserves our legacy of being fair-minded first.

            Winning is certainly important, but we must not forget that the means make the end. In more than a few cases, losing is preferable to winning by underhanded means.

            •  Yet another plastic toy knife. (0+ / 0-)

              I don't want to be "better" than them, I want to win. We deserve to have a democratic gerrymander in Cali, but we gave that away one year.

              And probably, (surmising, don't really know) it was a public initiative backed by heavy R-sourced money that caused CA to go with a commission and take away our chances for a democratic gerrymander.

              •  We weren't going to have a Democratic gerrymander (0+ / 0-)

                California Dems were so focused on incumbent protection that they never would have gone for a Democratic gerrymander.  They drew the lines in such a way that even "non-partisan" redistricting was a net plus for us.  

                There was never going to be a Democratic gerrymander in CA.  

          •  But note that 2020 is a presidential election year (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            happymisanthropy, bear83, Justin93

            The Repubs may have benefited from a low turn out in 2010, but 2020 is a presidential election year, so our turn out should be  high enough to give us a chance at taking governorships & other critical state offices.

            "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them." -- Pres. Obama (1/20/2009)

            by zizi on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:02:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wrong. (0+ / 0-)

              Most governorships are now elected in off years. We may have a shot to win some legislative seats in '20, but it will be hard due to the current gerrymanders. Given that we will have so many states with republican legislatures, we will have to win back a lot of governorships in 2018 in order to force neutral, compromise maps after 2020.

              Unless we figure out how to create heavy turnout for a mid-term election, absent an unpopular war, that will be a tall order. Republican governance is likely to be with us at all but the presidential and (sometimes at the) senate level for most or all of the rest of my life.

              Steep price being paid for all the people who stayed home in 2010.

              •  The GOP is making themselves toxic though.. (0+ / 0-)

                They keep getting more and more extreme, to the point where even gerrymandering may not be enough to keep them in office.  In fact, gerrymandered districts actually contribute to this extremism.  

                That plus demographic changes suggests to me we have a shot of retaking the House long before 2020.  A lot of the gerrymandering could turn out to be a dummymander by the end of the decade.  

                What I think happens is we take back small majorities by the latter half of the decade.  Then in 2020 redistricting removes a lot of the built in Republican advantage and they go to being a small minority for at least a decade.  

        •  no, we do need to pay attention to this. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Beastly Fool

          There are some things that are unforgivable. Your willingness to play political games while people suffer and die is one of them--Onomastic

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:03:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Dems and Independents (0+ / 0-)

          sat on their butts in 2010 and we had poor turnout and whenever that happens the "scumbags" win.  It really cost us big and shame on us, it would be Speaker Pelosi again to work with Majority Leader Reid and President Obama.  We must never, ever take mid term elections so lightly and we need to mobalize to retake the governorships and state legislatures again in pivotal states or at least have enough members so that RePugs don't have super majorities to force crap, radical, Right Wing, Tea Bagger bullshit through.  Either it's a country run by the people's duly elected representatives or one run by an Oligarchy og the rich and entitled such as the Koch boys.

      •  Nearly impossible in Ohio (17+ / 0-)

        We might be able to take back the Governor's seat, but the GOP has tightly gerrymandered all the state house and senate districts.

        The best bet here may be trying again for a ballot initiative that puts legislative reapportionment power in the hands of a non-political entity.

        Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

        by Betty Pinson on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:52:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Beat Husted in '14 and push for another initiative (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Beastly Fool, madhaus
          •  Getting too old for that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Beastly Fool

            The younguns are going to have to step up and get the job done.

            Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

            by Betty Pinson on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:34:31 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Why wait for 2014? (0+ / 0-)

            I'm hoping it joins marriage equality on the 2013 ballot, and that proponents start to educate people sooner. The marriage equality group has been working toward this since January.

            Jon Husted is a dick.

            by anastasia p on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 03:24:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  We'll continue to put the initiative on the ballot (7+ / 0-)

          until it passes. In Ohio, legislative gerrymandering is even more tilted that congressional gerrymandering. And the way things are going there's no "might" about taking the governor's seat or even sweeping ALL the statewide offices right down to treasurer Josh "The Empty Suit" Mandel.

          Jon Husted is a dick.

          by anastasia p on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 03:23:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I like that idea. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Beastly Fool

          You could get lots of indies on board with that, I bet.

          There are some things that are unforgivable. Your willingness to play political games while people suffer and die is one of them--Onomastic

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:04:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What about a referendum on one man one vote (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SouthernLiberalinMD

            Nobody mentions that case anymore but the Warren Court effectively did away with rural run states by requiring largely equal districts.  That gives your urban population more clout which as a dem is what you want.
            I did voiting rights cases myself and I worked with experts to get relatively equal districts.  
            Take a look at your districts and see if there isn't a lot of urban population concentrated in one district and less population in another.  If the original case isn't any good any more, then managing a referendum on the creation of districts of equal population may be the way to go.

            WE must hang together or we will all hang separately. B.Franklin

            by ruthhmiller on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:32:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  interesting idea! (0+ / 0-)

              I guess this is why it's helpful to know history/have an institutional memory.

              Thanks, Ruth--this sounds like it could really work.

              There are some things that are unforgivable. Your willingness to play political games while people suffer and die is one of them--Onomastic

              by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:45:47 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Taken into account using current maps (0+ / 0-)

              There's something like a +/-5% margin in each district which will pass judicial scrutiny on unevenly drawn district grounds.

              Modern GIS software makes it easy to make districts just inside this margin of error so they don't trigger legal review.

    •  Wasn't bad timing - was planned (39+ / 0-)

      Republicans knew exactly what they were doing and Democrats were unprepared.

      We'll suffer the rest of the decade as a result and damn well better be better prepared come the 2020 elections.

      "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

      by Andrew C White on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:41:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Too many of those involved in 2008 just walked (11+ / 0-)

        away and figured their job was done, and figured that the GOP was a dying party. Others just stayed home and pouted because Obama didn't change the world overnight.

        That's what I saw in lots of folks in my area. Some of them popped back into this past election, but others just disappeared. That magic of 2008 disappeared for them, I guess.

        The struggle is ongoing, the GOP knows this. That's why we can't rest...ever.

        •  What you saw was the norm. (6+ / 0-)

          Presidential election years always outdraw off years. And this has always (well, since 1994, at least) benefited the Republicans.

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:13:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It was not "the norm" in Virginia's 2009 election. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bryduck

            It was worse. To show another claiming it was just the normal off year fall off I crunched some numbers. An extract (links to SBE data in the linked reply):

            2005    1025942    Kaine
            2006    1175606    Webb
            2008    1959532    Obama
            2009    818950    Deeds
            2010    911116    Democrats for Congress

            If my quick little spreadsheet is right that puts the total Democratic vote for the Governor that would determine majority status on ever election board in the state and the coattails for every statehouse race for reapportionment for the next decade at 359,279.2 votes under the average of all those years and 1,140,582 under Obama's vote the previous year.

            So damn right too many people celebrated victory in 2008 and did not stand and hold that victory fully in Virginia's redistricting critical 2009 statewide/legislative race.

            Yeah, as so many here like to say now, elections do have consequences.

            Cuccinelli, not fondly known as the Cooch, or Kook, positioned for the governor's race next year. A TP/GOP sweep of state offices and both houses of the legislature. The "retirement" of some damn fine Democrats even here in NOVA. A lot of good safe Republican CDs with the blues well concentrated in tight little packs.

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

            by pelagicray on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:40:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  How does this invalidate my point? (0+ / 0-)

              From your table there, I see the highest total was for the 2008 election year, as was my main point. All the others--non-Presidential years--are lower. What you don't show (which might invalidate my other claim about how Rs always benefit) are the votes for the R candidates. Did they do better in off years, percentage-wise?
              In Virginia, to be sure, 2009 was a worse-than-usual off year--seemingly, since we don't have the R vote totals. The more interesting total to me, though, is 2010, which indeed shows a lower total than 2006, the only other comparable year here. But couldn't that be attributed to the lack of a riveting Senatorial race that year also?

              "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

              by bryduck on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 03:44:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Addendum: forgive my laziness; I did not do (0+ / 0-)

              all the click-throughs or calculations. I am not challenging your analysis of Virginia in your prior post.
              I stand by my original and simple point, though. Off years are simply not as well-attended as Pres. years. Is it possible we under-under-performed in 2010? Sure. But the reality is that we have to expect under-performing from our constituents, and as I believe you note in your prior post, do something to counteract it.

              "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

              by bryduck on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 03:50:59 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Not true in Ohio (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          a2nite

          No one "figured their job was done." Democratic women activists were disgusted and walked away over the party's treatment of women and especially its slating of an anti-choice radical for secretary of state. It wasn't about "magic," it was about women tired of being dissed all the time and figuring they didn't owe Ted Strickland anything since it was his pal that was the anti-choice activist he foisted on the party.

          Jon Husted is a dick.

          by anastasia p on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 03:26:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I hate this narraative (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            a2nite, Andrew C White

            Van Jones started it, and it's just not true. There was a ton of progressive work done, both in lobbying Congress and in working elections, after 2008.

            what happened in the 2010 elections and what happened legislatively were not the fault of the activist base.

            There are some things that are unforgivable. Your willingness to play political games while people suffer and die is one of them--Onomastic

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:06:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly (6+ / 0-)

        It was planned so they could take over state houses and gerrymander to their hearts content.  The tens of millions of dollars that flooded into even state house elections was a tip off of things to come.

        There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

        by Puddytat on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:45:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, they exploited our weakness (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Andrew C White, Lawrence

        After the 2008 election and the return of control to DC, the whole thing just fell in the GOP's lap.  They were very lucky.

        Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

        by Betty Pinson on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:53:40 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  2020 is a step. (4+ / 0-)

        But we need to make at least incremental gains in '14, '16, and '18.

        With a lot of the base becoming extinct, there is a ground swell of new Dems coming along.  We need to nurture those.  It must be a continuing thing - not just when needed.

        I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

        by trumpeter on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:29:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The gerrymandering is such that (0+ / 0-)

        we may not even have a chance in the 2020 elections.

        We should pursue -- in every state we can, that Republicans control -- nonpartisan redistricting.

        But in the meantime, in states that we have the majorities, we should fight fire with fire, and redistrict midstream if we can increase our majorities.

        That will be key to making sure we have a shot in 2020 to be in the position to create favorable -- or even fair -- districts.

        •  I beg to differ (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Andrew C White

          The demographics are always changing what may be  a safe R seat today, could be a swing district by the end of the decade.

          Many of the legislatures we won back in 2006 were gerrymandered by Republicans, and still won despite that.

          The GOP will need to keep redrawing lines to stay relavant in some states.

          Our focus should be push a non-partisan redistricting this time around, that only way I can see some of the R gerrymanders get wiped out this decade.

          24, gay Atari Democrat CA-41

          by lordpet8 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 02:57:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Gerrymandering can't really get much worse (1+ / 0-)

          The GOP has pretty much exhausted the ability to gerrymander to their advantage.  There are limits to how many vote sinks you can make.  

          Any close districts can easily flip with only minor demographic changes.  And the GOP is doing themselves no favor by becoming so extreme.  They easily could shoot themselves in the foot and lose the majority from 2014 onwards, and post 2020 they'll basically be history barring another debacle like 2010.  

      •  Absolutely right. (0+ / 0-)

        There are some things that are unforgivable. Your willingness to play political games while people suffer and die is one of them--Onomastic

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:05:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  GOP banks on people not paying attention (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, ahumbleopinion, pelagicray

        With media obsession with the presidential horse race every four years, you'd think the national media didn't care the states even existed but for the Senators and Representatives with colorful enough personas to light up the cameras on Sunday mornings - even they seem stuck on issues having to do with their party capturing or holding the White House.

        Meanwhile, apart from this myopia, the billionaire R-etrogressives are camping out with the likes of Rove and Ailes and strategizing how to use their lobbying orgs to roll back democratic legislation and voter rights laws, gerrymandering and the like, plotting how they're going to pick up seats at the state and local levels, and in the House and Senate in the off year elections when most voters (which includes most democrats) tend not to pay so much attention.

        Another part of it is to make politics itself nasty and unappealing, so all fair weather friends of the dems remain disinclined to investigate what's goin' on, so they can do as much of their dirty work in secret - see the pattern here?

        And when possible, they also sneak in their preferred referendums in the off-cycle elections with the most innocuous wordings and the least fanfare possible - and their own party get out the vote effort as below the radar as it can be.  It's of a piece, the whole effort, a conspiracy of distraction and stealth which has lost its true compass and doesn't really understand what it means to anyone but themselves when they say they're proud to be American.

        They just don't understand, because they believe their own definitions are the only right ones...

        "Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards." ~Soren Kierkegaard

        by Beastly Fool on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:28:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Going along with the GOP agenda isn't being (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happymisanthropy

        unprepared.

        Sorry  that framingg just rigs false. Who wasn't telling them to stop trying to act like GOP lite?

    •  Although, I think GOP had control of (4+ / 0-)

      the 2000 redistricting in many key states anyway. MI, PA, and OH.

    •  Maybe folks should have thought about that (2+ / 0-)

      when they decided that rushing to the middle before the mid terms and not focusing on jobs was a great idea...

      "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

      by justmy2 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 02:37:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  there are still thinking people on the Hill (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FishOutofWater

        who think that 2010 was the people's response to the democratic party moving to far to the left.

        apparently Lakoff is right and you can't beat a frame with facts.

        There are some things that are unforgivable. Your willingness to play political games while people suffer and die is one of them--Onomastic

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:07:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  my guess is that wasn't an accident. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy

      There are some things that are unforgivable. Your willingness to play political games while people suffer and die is one of them--Onomastic

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:01:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not awful timing, awful effort (0+ / 0-)

      I admire the President very much but his failure to wage a midterm election based on selling the Affordable Care Act to the people who will benefit from it was political malpractice.  It cost us at least 15 seats in 2010 and most of those losses are going to last for a decade because of the redistricting.

      "Unrestricted immigration is a dangerous thing -- look at what happened to the Iroquois." Garrison Keillor

      by Spider Stumbled on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 06:28:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, there were people screaming about this fact (0+ / 0-)

      and how important the 2010 elections were, and they weren't listened to.
      I'm still pissed off.
      God damn it!
      Hopefully the Dem/progressive hemisphere learned its lesson, because the "slow learners" are going to be getting an earful next time.

      We need to make big gains in the states in 2014 and prepare ourselves for what comes after that.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:32:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  One thing unaccounted for (7+ / 0-)

    Does this take into account that some seats may have been unopposed? In my very red district the only candidates on the ballot for Congress were the guaranteed victor Republican and a Libertarian. That means 100% of the votes in this analysis went to him, even though, had a Democrat been on the ballot, the result might have been more like 60-40%.

    It's not as simple as adding up the number of votes each party's candidates received.

  •  kos, Democrats did NOT control (19+ / 0-)

    the redistricting process in NYS.  First of all, the legislature was divided between the GOP Senate and the Democratic Assembly.  They could not agree on Congressional redistricting, so it was done by the courts.

    Ultimately, the only thing that matters with respect to preserving choice is who will be nominating the next Supreme Court Justices.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:25:01 AM PST

  •  With the crap from that Virginia legislator (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark, J M F, ARS

    regarding allocation of electoral college votes by Congressional district, I'm leaning more strongly to
    1) state constitutional amendments mandating winner-take-all allocations, with strong criminal penalties and constitutional nullification of any (gerrymandered) Congressional district.  Allocation based on vote percentages would also be OK.
    2) multi-member Congressional districts with ranked-choice voting.

    The second option would pretty much negate the need for the first, but, one step at a time.

    I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

    by tle on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:27:18 AM PST

    •  I don't like winner take all (4+ / 0-)

      But by CD is even worse. I would prefer either a national popular vote or doing states proportionally or a combination of proportional/winner take all like they do in the Democratic primaries.

    •  Better solutions (0+ / 0-)

      1. For the electoral vote, laws allocating electoral vote allocation to the winner of the popular vote nationally, along with a provision that it doesn't take effect unless states with 270 EVs have passed it.  This is an end run around a constitutional amendment to get rid of the electoral college.

      2. I favor ranked-choice voting but not in some states and not others.  This one has to happen by constitutional amendment so all states do it.  A good starting point is ranked choice voting for state legislatures (where the same dynamic is at work); this is a lot more doable and ultimately breaks up some of the congressional gerrymandering and creates a state level environment conducive to getting an amendment ratified.

      •  Good luck with that. (0+ / 0-)
        This one has to happen by constitutional amendment so all states do it.
        I think that's highly unlikely, especially with all those gerrymandered states.  However, in Florida, where I am, a state amendment can be passed, and we'd be in a position to immediately make the elected bodies more representative.  And whether the state amendment passes is not dependent on overcoming the existing gerrymandering - only on breaching the 60% threshold, which is hard enough.

        I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

        by tle on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:42:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Will you post more re how to dig ? Please ? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark, Druid800, grover
    quite the hole to dig out of.

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:31:06 AM PST

    •  50 state strategy + OFA approach (14+ / 0-)

      My thought is all elections from here forward need to be fought on a CD by CD basis...all of them.  Combine that with using all the tools OFA developed (yea, and the mailing list) as well as the organizing strategy.   Nothing can be taken for granted.  Other than advertising, a lot of that stuff can be done relatively inexpensively saving the ad $ for those races that then are shown to have some vulnerability.

      Gerrymandering is a fact...can't be undone for another decade...ignore it, fight for every seat.

      •  Let's start by merging OFA w/ DNC (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bluehawk

        There's no point in having to separate organizations, the money, resources and personnel should be merged together.  Otherwise its expensive and a duplication of effort.  

        Democratic Leaders must be very clear they stand with the working class of our country. Democrats must hold the line in demanding that deficit reduction is done fairly -- not on the backs of the elderly, the sick, children and the poor.

        by Betty Pinson on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:56:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  what we really need is a wave election (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terjeanderson

      that can push us back into the majority in many of these legislatures. The problem with waves is that you don't want them to happen too early. You'd rather have them close to census year. Becuase you've dems trying to hold onto seats that were drawn to elect Republican. So all need is neutral or even mildly R favorable year to start losing those seats again.

      The GOP got to lock in most of its gains by having the majorities during the census year. So they go back draw safe seats for all their vulnerable members.

      Otherways to get out would be to have 50 state strategy. We need to be out their registering voters and changing the electorate. Build up the party base, get involved with party apparatus. Volunteer on campaigns, phone bank, knock doors, etc.

      24, gay Atari Democrat CA-41

      by lordpet8 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:25:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We also need people to vote straight Dem ... (4+ / 0-)

        all the way down the ticket.

        Too many people only vote the top and then fail to continue. In Missouri, they Republican lege elimated straight ticket voting just for that reason. If you think the Congressional gerrymander is bad, the State Legislature one is far worse.

        This is why the Dems have every statewide seat but three (1 Senator and the Auditor, who were both elected in 2010 plus the Lt. Gov., who is popular in St. Louis for some unknown reason) but yet are facing veto-proof Republican majorities in the State House and Senate for the next term.

        Right To Work is coming to Missouri soon, and it's the gerrymander that's doing it.

        •  Indeed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GayHillbilly

          It amazes that we held on to all our statewide seats this year, included an open secretary of state position( as we ran awesome canidate)

          The big issue we have my state of CA isn't so much people ticket splitting, but people undervoting. This why Republicans did so well San Diego for so long. Democratic Presidents would easily carry the city but those voters wouldn't vote for candidates down the ticket (they'd just left it blank on their ballots). That's finally starting to change thankfully. Obama won San Diego county again breaking 50%. The last Democrat to do that before was FDR in 1944! Democrats held onto their city council majority. won the mayors race, a county supervisor seat, and a  congressional seat!

          24, gay Atari Democrat CA-41

          by lordpet8 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:31:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  It can't be too early. (0+ / 0-)

        Remember that redistricting is not limited to only census years.  I'd rather see multi-member districts with ranked-choice voting (the ranked-choice voting should act to facilitate minority representation), but better redistricting of single-member districts, than a continuation of the current infuriating anti-democratic distortions.

        I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

        by tle on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:48:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I wonder what it would look like (15+ / 0-)

    if every state adopted California's new system of a bipartisan panel (actually multi-partisan since there are also 'decline to state' seats on the panel) of citizens who drew our lines this year.

    The system was devised by the Republicans who put it to the ballot as a way to take away the line-drawing from the Democratically controlled legislature. However, it resulted in actually more Democratic seats than our legislature was able to put forward.

    I guess that doesn't say much for our Democratic representatives who should have managed to draw themselves a few more seats, but in any case it has worked very well here. They drew some fair lines that put similar and contiguous areas together. And the end result has been good for the state.

    •  That's one of the few things AZ does right (10+ / 0-)

      Despite Gov. Brewer's pathetic attempts to block the commission, it ended up producing pretty fair districts.

      To believe that markets determine value is to believe that milk comes from plastic bottles. Bromley (1985)

      by sneakers563 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:38:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It might be because (9+ / 0-)

      some dems were drawing to protect their own districts in the old system, whereas in a state rapidly shifting democratic, having less partisan seats - more competitive seats - actually gave the dems an advantage.

    •  iowa uses an impartial computer program (3+ / 0-)

      there are ways to do this right.  just not the political will.

      Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die…”

      by jlms qkw on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:55:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are right. There are multiple ways to (0+ / 0-)

        redistrict fairly. Any of us here could come with a way to do it. The problem is that you can't get there from here.

        Those who wrote the Constitution did a good job in many respects, but they let us down by not foreseeing the gerrymander problem.

        The only hope I can see is that the judiciary becomes more proactive, and develops judicial guidelines for redistricting. This could be justified on 14th amendment grounds--equal protection.

        It is no secret that gerrymandering takes place. It is no secret that its purpose is to render the votes of many citizens ineffective. Why shouldn't federal courts take judicial notice of these obvious facts? If we are looking for a way out of this dilemma, I think that the courts are our best hope.

        Brown V Board of Education is a good example. "Separate but equal" was the cover story of the segregationists, but the courts finally took notice of the obvious fact that "separate" was not, and could never be, "equal".

        In similar fashion, the courts could invalidate any state system that puts redistricting in the hands of a partisan body.

        Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

        by Tim DeLaney on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 10:11:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Would be fair (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tim DeLaney

      I would really like to see this. Could this be legislated by Congress? I don't know. Maybe some of you legal scholars could comment. Could Congress pass a law establishing uniform redistricting standards across all states? From my layman's perspective, this would seem to be in line with the 14th Amendment.

      And really, how about a comprehensive package of election standards: redistricting, voter registration, voter access (incl. early and by mail) and vote counting? If we consider our country a nation, all citizens should have equal "protection" ....

      Daves Redistricting: 50 states + DC & PR w/ 2010 data. 46 states + DC w/ election data.

      by dgb on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 02:18:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, Congress could not pass such a law. (0+ / 0-)

        The reason is obvious. The very people who benefit from gerrymandering would have to vote to abolish it. This would violate the First Principle of all politicians: Get reelected.

        As I argue upthread, our best hope lies with the judiciary. And, of course, you are right to cite the 14th amendment.

        Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

        by Tim DeLaney on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 10:23:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  And this is where the 50 state strategy (19+ / 0-)

    becomes most important.

    If Democrats consistently invested in the party building and organizing activities in all 50 states they might not win that many more House seats or EV's then they would otherwise but they would be prepared and have organizations in place to win state legislative contests and be competitive for control of state and other local governing bodies.

    I don't think it was by any mistake or random luck that the Republicans were most energized and victorious in 2010. We spent 2006 and 2008 gaining the sort of control our policies and numbers ought to reflect but they pushed hard to win in 2010 in order to be positioned to control the redistricting process and keep themselves relevant for the next decade. Theysucceeded and we'll have the fight for the entire decade to reverse that strategic loss.

    In 2016 and 2018 we'll probably achieve again what we did in 2006 and 2008 but if we don't make sure to win in 2020 we'll see this same damn thing happen all over again and Republicans will remain vastly more powerful then their support within the nation actually reflects.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:31:59 AM PST

  •  North Carolina offers the prime lesson. (8+ / 0-)

    A state that is now screwed for who-knows-how-many years because of the recent gerrymander.  I lost my Rep. Brad Miller because of it.  

    My only hope is that Miller runs for Senate against that nothing of a senator whose name I can never even bother to remember.  And I'm not talking about Kay Hagan.

  •  Florida Democratic Party (5+ / 0-)

    Is in bad shape re: state and local races.  I know several people who worked for the state party and left in frustration to work in congressional races. A friend of mine ran for a seat in the state legislature and the Florida Democratic Party told him it would not support his race b/c it had made a deal with the republican party to stay out of that race, in exchange for the republican party staying out of another race.  I know this is just anecdotal evidence but the democrats haven't been in power in Tallahassee since the 1990s.  In the last decade, the Florida republican party has done serious damage to Florida law.

    It's not easy being a Floridian: PS I'm a lawYER now; no longer a lawSTUDENT.

    by lawstudent922 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:33:38 AM PST

  •  Can we get a full list of 50 states, with (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, trumpeter, Lawrence, Beastly Fool

    the status of each of their legislative/executive bodies' party control, which ones matter to redistricting, what kind of redistricting board is used (if any), and their %D in the house and %Obama?

    ...well, after the Pres-by-CD thing is finished, at least.

  •  Let's go to ballot slates rather than districts (4+ / 0-)

    Colorado has 7 seats, so Democrats put forward 7 candidates, Republicans put forward 7 candidates, Greens and Libertarians and Raving Monster Loony parties put forward 7 candidates.

    Voters vote for the party slate of their choice.

    Parties "buy" seats in order of the most votes. For example, if 2.1 M votes are cast, buying a seat costs 2.1M/7 = 300,000 votes.

    If Democrats get 1.0M votes, Republicans get 0.9M votes, Libertarians get 100,000 votes, and the other parties split the last 100,000, it looks like this:
    Seat 1: D. 1.0M-300,000 leaves 700,000
    Seat 2: R. 900,000 - 300,000 leaves 600,000.
    Seat 3: D. 700,000 - 300,000 leaves 400,000.
    Seat 4: R. 600,000 - 300,000 leaves 300,000.
    Seat 5: D. 400,000 - 300,000 leaves 100,000.
    Seat 6: R. 300,000 - 300,000 leaves 0.
    Seat 7: D or L, depending on who had slightly more or less.

    This gives third parties a real chance at getting at least one seat, and eliminates gerrymandering entirely.

    Oh, and increase the number of members of Congress by a factor of 10 or so. That guarantees third parties will get some seats.

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:35:11 AM PST

  •  Republicans & Majority-Minority Districts (13+ / 0-)

    Under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, violation of Section 2 (42 U.S.C. 1973) of the act occurs when "any state or local government [uses] election processes that are not equally open to minority voters, or that give minority voters less opportunity than other voters to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice to public office." A remedy to this is Majority-Minority districts, in which the district lines are drawn in a way to ensure the majority of residents are racial or ethnic minorities.

    So, for example, this is Corrine Brown's 3rd congressional district in Florida which snakes over 100 miles from north to south.


    African-Americans are around a quarter of North Carolina's population, but before the early '90s there wasn't a single minority in the congressional delegation. That changed when Mel Watt & others were elected in 1992. Watt's 12th Congressional district in North Carolina is a Majority-Minority district created after the 1990 census. This is its latest form.


    However, in order to achieve these districts, you have to gerrymander them by packing African-Americans and other minority voters into one or just a few districts. The result of this is to make all of the other districts around the Majority-Minority district "Whiter" & more conservative, by taking away a group of people who tend to vote for Democrats.

    CNN's Jeffrey Toobin had an article in The New Yorker back in 2003, discussing how Republicans seized on these districts in order to create a structural advantage.

    Republicans recognized the value of concentrating black voters, who are reliable Democrats, in single districts, which are known in voting-rights parlance as “majority-minority.” As Gerald Hebert, a Democratic redistricting operative and former Justice Department lawyer, puts it, “What you had was the Republicans who were in charge for every redistricting cycle at the Justice Department—’81, ’91, ’01. And there was a kind of thinking in the eighties and in the early nineties that if you could create a majority-minority district anywhere in the state, regardless of how it looked and what its impact was on surrounding districts, then you simply had to do it. What ended up happening was that they went out of their way to divide and conquer the Democrats.” The real story of the Republican congressional landslide of 1994, many redistricting experts believe, is the disappearance of white Democratic congressmen, whose black constituents were largely absorbed into majority-minority districts.
    •  That's a big part of this story (7+ / 0-)

      It's amazing to me that Markos could write a diary about the disproportion between Democratic votes and Democratic House members, highlighting several CRA-covered states, without acknowledging the importance of the CRA.  Maximizing African-American representation in Congress and Maximizing Democratic representation are plainly at cross-purposes.  I am comfortable with the decision we have made as a country  to favor the first over the second, but it was a decision with consequences.

      You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

      by Rich in PA on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:39:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would rec both comments 10 times if (0+ / 0-)

        I could.

        To Goldman Sachs in according to their desires, From us in accordance with the IRS.

        by Bluehawk on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 02:09:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think it's that many seats (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rich in PA

        I don't have the numbers, so it would be interesting to see actual numbers, but Majority-Minority by itself does not cause the Republicans to gain many seats. It's true that some gerrymandering is necessary to meet the VRA requirements, but 60-65% majority-minority is enough to meet that requirement. In how many districts is minority representation much higher? And in how many are liberal white areas packed with minorities to get 80% or more Dem votes in one district?

        Take California, for example. There we just had the most non-partisan redistricting anywhere (except maybe Iowa), but a key requirement was to keep communities of interest together. Ethnicity is a key community of interest and of course they had to adhere to the federal law. I think California did a great and fair job and was reasonably in line with overall voting in the state as Kos points out.

        On the flip side is Pennsylvania. 13-5 R Congresspersons. PA is about 80% White (10% Black, 6% Latino). So, it's not VRA's fault they got that many seats; it's gerrymandering.

        Daves Redistricting: 50 states + DC & PR w/ 2010 data. 46 states + DC w/ election data.

        by dgb on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 02:36:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  They've drawn similar districts in Texas with the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rimjob, a2nite

      emphasis on isolating minorities in a few districts, especially latinos.

      That's a big reason for them being able to hang on to such an inordinate amount of power there.  The demographic clock is ticking against them, though.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 03:57:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wassermann's latest House numbers (7+ / 0-)

    D: 59,269,023
    R: 58,114,071
    O: 3,403,706

    D: 49.07%
    R: 48.11%
    O: 2.82%

    Dem Margin: +1,154,952

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:40:01 AM PST

  •  Gerrymandering isn't the whole story (16+ / 0-)

    It is a very important contributor, but it doesn't totally explain the differential.

    Another big factor is the concentration of Democratic voters in urban and minority communities. It is not uncommon for some of these districts to vote 80%+ Democratic (and the Voting Rights Act encourages creation of these more heavily Democratic districts to facilitate election of African-American and Latino representatives).

    Republican voters tend to be somewhat more efficiently distributed - while there are a few areas (parts of Utah, Idaho, Oklahoma, etc) that run up similarly one-sided Republican margins, they are numerically far less significant than the Democratic vote concentrations.

    There is no question that Republicans use this concentration of Democrats to minimize Democratic representation.

    But it is also true that, unless we move to a system of proportional representation (ain't gonna happen), the overwhelming Democratic margins coming out of urban concentrations produce a built-in Republican advantage in terms of distribution of seats (although that advantage doesn't come close to fully explaining the differential in seats coming out of this election).

    My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world - Jack Layton

    by terjeanderson on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:40:10 AM PST

    •  Every state is allotted a minimum of one (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark, a2nite

      representative. For Republicans, this means there are 5 seats that are just plain old statewide races in very red states.

      •  7 statewide seats (4+ / 0-)

        5 currently send Republicans to the House (Alaska, Montana, ND, SD, and Wyoming).

        2 currently send Democrats - Delaware and Vermont.

        But these statewide seats don't really throw off the redistricting calculations very much.

        Nationally, House districts have an average of about 647,000 people.

        3 of these 7 seats have more people than that - 1 Democratic seat (Delaware with 897k) and 2 Republican (Montana with 902k and SD with 754 k).

        4 of the 7 seats have populations below the average - including 3 Republican-held seats (ND at 642k, Alaska @ 626k, and Wyoming at 563k), and 1 Democratic (Vermont @ 608K).

        The practice of ensuring each state has at least one Representative gives the Republicans a seat advantage of at the very most 1 or possibly 2 seats over a purely population-based distribution model. It is certainly far less important than the dynamics of voting patterns and district map-making in states with multiple members.

        My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world - Jack Layton

        by terjeanderson on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:48:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      terjeanderson, skibum59

      While gerrymandering was of course an issue, nonpartisan maps in Kentucky, Tennessee,  and Missouri wouldn't have netted us any more seats this year.  You'd need to divide the Democratic urban bases up to make more Democratic seats, and that's something you can only do with a gerrymander.  I'm not sure that gerrymandering cost us any seats in Wisconsin either.  Yeah, Ribble and Duffy got better seats, but they also won by wide margins.  

      Pennsylvania, Ohio, and North Carolina were the devastating states for us.  Michigan, Indiana, Georgia, and Virginia probably cost us only one seat a piece.  Texas and Florida are black boxes - we have no way of telling how good they could have been, given the Republicans decided to triage and throw us some districts.  But insofar as we gained seats in both states, they weren't net losses.  

    •  True. And I'd take it a (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SpamNunn, Miggles, terjeanderson

      step further -- gerrymandering was NOT a big factor. It was a distant third to incumbency advantage and the geographic dispersion/concentration you describe. The Monkey Cage (poli sci blog) has had excellent coverage of this issue.

      Grew a mustache and a mullet / Got a job at Chick-Fil-A

      by cardinal on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:27:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Because these districts are so heavily (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miggles, terjeanderson, a2nite

    manipulated, splitting the state's electoral votes by district is a bad idea.

  •  I strongly believe this is our biggest threat (4+ / 0-)

    If we don't do anything about gerrymandering, and in particular if the 2020 election goes like the 2010 one did we're going to be underdogs for years to come, and the rethugs will control the House and most state legislatures, ramming through union killing laws and basically stacking the decks even further in their favor.

    I think we need a concerted effort in every heavily gerrymandered state filing lawsuits about the unconstitutionality of the gerrymandered districts.

    Atheism is a religion like Abstinence is a sexual position. - Bill Maher, 2/3/2012

    by sleipner on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:54:20 AM PST

    •  firstly 2010 will never really be like 2020 (9+ / 0-)

      Because the big difference is that it will be a presidential year,  so Democratic turnout will not be as horrendously bad as it was during 2010 (that's what really hurt is many states)

      Also giving R's the house could put them in a terrible position. With them thinking "hey we can the house being crazy conservative, anti-gay, anti-immigration, etc.", they will never moderate. This in turn would make them less electable at the state and national level. Making harder senate races and the presidency.

      Also demographics are continuing change mostly in our favor. I mean look at Arizona, it voted pretty handily for romney but democrats (without a D gerrymander, they had a non partisan map)  actually will have a majority in the house delegation, the 2nd time in almost over 50 years!

      My homestate of California can probably squeeze out another 3-4 seats as the decade goes on.

      24, gay Atari Democrat CA-41

      by lordpet8 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:11:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  <--in CA too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lordpet8

        Good points all, part of the reason the rethugs are winning is they have no compunctions or scruples about doing anything and everything to win, even if it is blatantly wrong or evil.  Dems tend to be nicer and more respectful of the rule of law and government, so we don't massively gerrymander like they do (usually).  

        I hadn't thought about 2020 being a prez year, good point!  Course it will be a 2nd term election, which isn't usually as high a turnout as a 1st term, but hopefully Hillary Clinton's or Elizabeth Warren's popularity pull us through ;)

        I think the biggest problem is that the rethugs are systematically dismembering unions, the only major financial player opposing them almost everywhere, so unless Citizen's United goes down we'll be outspent 20 or 30 to 1 instead of the 5 to 1 it's at now...

        Atheism is a religion like Abstinence is a sexual position. - Bill Maher, 2/3/2012

        by sleipner on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:56:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think your take on Citizens United is wrong, ie. (0+ / 0-)

          it was a reaction to the fact that internet fundraising changed the game in politics in such a fundamental way, starting in 2006 and especially 2008.  The manner in which grassroots fundraising had such an impact in 2008 scared the devil out of the Republicans, so their captive Supreme Court let Citizens United spring to life via their ruling.

          The Unions still are a big player, but direct grass-roots fundraising is playing an ever greater role.  The Republicans are probably trying to figure out a way to shut that down, as well.

          Citizens United sucks, but we won't be outspent 20 or 30 to 1.

          "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

          by Lawrence on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:05:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Gerrymandering can be fixed with Sup CT Decision (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    decembersue, JohnB47, Lawrence

    I remember Kennedy stating that he'd like to retire in 3 years, and that was 2 years ago. If we can get a liberal justice on the court, a case can be brought dealing with this and overturn Vieth v. Jubelirer.

    The other option is putting a non-partisan redistricting commission on state ballots. I know it didn't work in Ohio, but I still think it can be done.

    •  well since the constitution gives (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tobendaro, trumpeter, dgb, a2nite

      state legislatures the power to draw congressional boundaries without any requirement as to how they draw them--meaning gerrymandering is not prohibited by the constitution--I don't believe it is possible for the Supreme Court to find the practice unconstitutional across the 50 states.

      The solution I'm afraid is to change this state of affairs on a state by state basis.

      "People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

      by michael1104 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:24:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't we just have to figure out a way to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JohnB47, a2nite

      measure it rigorously?  Wasn't the decision that they couldn't figure out a good way to determine gerrymanderedness?

    •  not with this supreme court (0+ / 0-)

      let's hope G. holds on and Obama chooses some good Justices.

      There are some things that are unforgivable. Your willingness to play political games while people suffer and die is one of them--Onomastic

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:16:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The govt we see now we will see til end of decade (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse

    Dems holding President and Senate and Reps holding house thanks to gerrymandering.  The disaster of 2010 basically set these in place for the decade.  The impact of the huge teabagger, old white racist vote that came out in force in 2010 basically sealed this inplace for the decade.  It was the worst year ever to suffer these heavy losses.

  •  Gerrymandering is what the other party does. n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Liberal Capitalist, trumpeter, dgb

    Romney is George W. Bush without brains.

    by thestructureguy on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:01:19 AM PST

    •  CA shows what happens with honest districts (4+ / 0-)

      I appreciate the snark in your comment, structureguy.

      In CA, they did away with safe seats and the Republicans are now unable to prevent a supermajority in either house of the Legislature.

      Without safe seats, the GOP extremism would be exacting an even higher price than it did in the general election.

      •  the old CA maps were not a good measure (0+ / 0-)

        of how Democratic the state had become, hence why we did so well.

        Had the Dems taken an agressive gerrymander of the state it would be the GOP touting for an independent redistricting committee (and not the other way around). Still I'm glad to have the new maps.

        24, gay Atari Democrat CA-41

        by lordpet8 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 03:19:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is a very deep hole indeed n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "Nach dem Spiel ist vor dem Spiel." -Sepp Herberger

    by surfbird007 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:02:45 AM PST

  •  Thanks for highlighting this Kos (5+ / 0-)

    I have previously written about this in great deal here: http://www.dailykos.com/... and am planning on updating that diary when election results are complete.  If anyone wants to take a look at my pre-election analysis i've provided hypothetical maps for all the partisan-drawn states.

    In short though, my current estimate is that gerrymandering cost us around 21 to 26 seats on top of our actual 201 that we won.

    The Dkos community needs to "Wake the Fuck Up!" over this issue (to paraphrase Samuel L. Jackson).  Right now the most important thing we could do is organize petition signatures in Michigan where we could place a constitutional amendment on the ballot and gain 2-3 seats and Ohio where we could get 4-5 seats.  Ohio had a very underfunded effort this year, but with funding from the net roots this would be a slam dunk. Gerrymandering is not electorally popular when people are educated about it.

    NC-06/NC-04; -9.00, -8.41; progress through pragmatism

    by sawolf on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:10:39 AM PST

  •  Blowback for the GOP (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GayHillbilly, a2nite

    The NYT today mentioned that they had gerrymandered so well that many GOP Rep.s were politically insulated from the will of anything but most concentrated republicans, and are thus unlikely to be moved by Democratic robocalls or pleas from their own leadership for compromise. When we jump the fiscal curb, the GOP will be blamed.

  •  We have to do a better job at the state-level (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kirbybruno, Do Something, pelagicray

    Gerrymandering is just one of the reasons why.

  •  thing is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming

    The crash of the real estate market froze a lot of people into place.  There's a lot of pent-up migration desire.  People want to move to where the jobs are, but they're often stuck in their houses.

    When the real estate market begins to pick up again we could see some population shifts, and with that demographic shifts and party ID shifts.  I don't know how it might play out, but my gut tells me it could be dramatic.

    •  GW will produce the same effect. (0+ / 0-)

      Migration.  Should begin soon.  A few more monster storms with insurance companies saying you are on your own and the Great Tide Northward will begin in earnest.

      Everyone! Arms akimbo!

      by tobendaro on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:31:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Epic Democratic Malpractice Leading to 2010 (5+ / 0-)

    will be hurting us for years. Dog help this country if they do it again.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:15:22 AM PST

    •  not everywhere (0+ / 0-)

      the GOP 2010 came and went through CA, and Republicans actually lost seats.

      By 2012 Dems took 2/3rds control of the legislature for the first time since the 1880s and now the GOP is no longer relavant party in the state.

      Both parties achieved trifecta in many of the states this cycle, which really shows how polarized we have become as a country.

      24, gay Atari Democrat CA-41

      by lordpet8 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 03:21:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gerrymandering cements the political polarization (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Liberal Capitalist, a2nite

    America is already so polarized that DC may become useless.

    No wonder the Republican Congress is quite willing to go off the cliff.  They live in a different country, literally.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:17:49 AM PST

  •  How do you create non-partisan district lines? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kirbybruno, Liberal Capitalist, dgb

    Somehow you have to take into the account the political leanings of the population, right?

    People, not corporations. Democracy, not totalitarian capitalism. gottavote.org

    by democracy is coming on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:18:54 AM PST

  •  Michigan needs an 83-county strategy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, happymisanthropy

    It needs to start NOW. We've suffered too much from our unfairly Republican dominated Legislature already.

    The people of Michigan will have no say over their fate until we turn out enough of the scoundrels to put some fear into the rest.

    Right now, they think they can do anything they want, and they're not wrong. But it won't last if we stand up for our rights and start putting up strong candidates in every district. Even in the ones where we can't win, we need to make them fight to hold on, because when there's a strong opposition back in the home district, lawmakers are forced to moderate their positions.

    One of the Republicans who crossed over to vote against the Right-to-Work law last Thursday was Tory Rocca of Sterling Heights. Sterling Heights is a labor stronghold (several auto plants located there), so even though they have a Republican representative in the state House, he didn't dare vote for a bill that would enrage his constituency.

    We can win more seats if we work at it, but even in the districts we don't win, a strong showing translates into leverage.

    Time to stop sleepwalking in Michigan. They did what they wanted. Now it's time to MAKE THEM PAY.

    Wealth doesn't trickle down -- it rises up.

    by elsaf on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:19:14 AM PST

    •  Use the initiative process in Michigan (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elsaf, happymisanthropy

      There is a lot of talk today about using the initiative process in Michigan to overturn the right-to-work law the GOP passed.  Given the difficulty of getting an initiative on the ballot, the time would be better spent passing something that addresses the gerrymandering and called for immediate re-districting.  The next legislature would then fix this law and any others the GOP manages to pass.  The problem with the initiative process to address laws is that new ones can just be passed.  Fix the legislature instead.

      The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones! - John Maynard Keynes

      by Do Something on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:10:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It always amazes me that the Dems (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence

    are always on the short stick for this. Twice now have we won the popular vote for the house but still remained a minority.

    Even the crazy D-friendly maps we had in 1972 and 1982 still pale in comparison.

    Republicans back then were just as frustrated. Reagan probably was scratching his head at how his home state of California was won by him with 57.51% of vote and yet Democrats took 62% of the house seats!

    Though I guess back then voters were more inclined ticket split than they are now. Meaning there were tons of Democrats in districts that Reagan won. Today it's not the case infact, thanks to the new maps and polarization of the electorate, there are only very few Republicans in districts carried by Obama.

    24, gay Atari Democrat CA-41

    by lordpet8 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:19:33 AM PST

  •  Whitehouse.gov Petition (0+ / 0-)

    Only one day left and a long way to go, but we got a lot of Kossaks:

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/...

  •  In the first table the "% D" simply (0+ / 0-)

    puts into percentage form the number of seats the dems won - IOW it just repeats the data from the previous column.

    It would have been much more informative if insted of that, the percentage of votes the house rep candidates had achieved would have been given on a state by state basis.

  •  +we have to keep a spotlight on this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    the repubs win by cheating and stealing. They are holding onto this 'majority' in the House in these fiscal negotiations for dear life

    ALEC is largely responsible

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:26:23 AM PST

  •  Ugh, this again? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miggles

    It doesn't matter how many times you say it -- the data show that gerrymandering simply was NOT a big factor in the votes/seats discrepancy.

    See here, here, and especially here.

    Grew a mustache and a mullet / Got a job at Chick-Fil-A

    by cardinal on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:30:47 AM PST

    •  Not convincing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bluemeanies

      These show that there's some auto-gerrymandering, due to the asymmetrical distribution, with D's highly concentrated. There's also some leftover extra gerrymandering from previous rounds. And, as they concede, there was some extra bias added in the last redistricting. So yeah, that last component wasn't the whole story, but it did make things significantly worse.

      Michael Weissman UID 197542

      by docmidwest on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:20:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gerrymandering one of key problems in our (0+ / 0-)

    democracy. If we could solve this, tea party members for instance, would less likely to win as only centrist candidates would appeal to the center of more balanced districts. This reform is one of the most important to reestablish a functional democracy, a democracy people can believe in.

  •  There should be 2,500 members of the House. (0+ / 0-)

    The average House member in 1786 was much closer to his constiuents than those today.  Big money would be spread much more thinly.  Politicians would tend to be more populist.

    There is in the nature of things an unchangeable relation between rash counsels and feeble execution. -- Daniel Webster 1812

    by SimplyLeft on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:33:03 AM PST

  •  Where people live by racial and ethnic association (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    As congressional districts are geographic where different racial and ethnic groups live is fundamental to an analysis of share of House seats going to Democrats Vs share of voters in a state voting for Democrats.

    Nationally, African American and Hispanic populations strongly disproportionally live in communities with high concentrations of African American and Hispanic residents.  At the same time African Americans and Hispanics vote for Democrats by overwhelming margins.  The result is that these communities elect Democrats by far greater overwhelming margins than Republicans win in white communities.

    So the effects the diary discusses will occur whenever congressional districts are to be drawn to represent communities along racial/ethnic groupings.   Certainly, "majority minority" districting reduces the number of elected Democrats.

    So aside from "majority minority" districts, the gerrymandering effect is much small than the data suggests.  

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:34:23 AM PST

  •  a simple law stating that (0+ / 0-)

    the % congressional seats cannot divert more by ~3-5% from the popular vote in any State would fix this. In German for this reason, you have a ~50/50% mix of directly elected candidates and proportionally according to % of parties in the popular vote. This also allows third parties. Many small parties like in some countries are blocked by a 5% threshold.

  •  I don't know why Kos stopped there. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    charliehall2

    There are more to look at:

    South Carolina D 14.3% Obama 44%
    Lousiana D 16.7% Obama 40.6%
    Missouri D 25% Obama 44.3%

    The biggest head-desk (Democrats fully in charge):

    Arkansas D 0% Obama 36.9%

    But I think Kos is forgetting one that doesn't exactly fit his narrative:

    Massachusetts D 100% Obama 60.8% (making it the biggest discrepancy with any state with more than 5 districts).

    NY-14, DC-AL (College), Former SSPer and incredibly distraught Mets fan.

    by nycyoungin on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:43:30 AM PST

  •  we need to take people out of the decisions (0+ / 0-)

    What we need to do is have a formula based on population and population densities that automatically creates districts. Something like this...

    Give 5 seats in a state, the top four most populous towns would be made a district, adding the surrounding areas until the desired population is reached. The fifth district would be made up of the left over rural areas and small towns.

    This way it is just math and can't be used for political advantage. There are people who study stuff like this in anthropology and urban development

  •  You don't have Utah on your most gerrymandered (0+ / 0-)

    list, but surely we are.  You should see how sliced and diced my district is!
    http://www.standard.net/...

    Corporations are driven by the bottom line, not by concerns for health, safety or the environment. This is why we need government regulations.

    by the dogs sockpuppet on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:07:14 PM PST

  •  The parties cooperate in this effort to create (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Americantrueandblue

    safe districts.   Don't blame only the Republicans.   It's not like they do this in a vacuum, and the Democrats are getting rolled.  

    This happens here in NJ, too.   In NJ, each party gets to propose a map.  Whoever has the more reasonable map carries the day with the "neutral" they both selected.  

    The Democrats eviscerated the Republicans in our Assembly redistricting.   They carved up Republican strongholds and kept solid urban districts pretty much intact.  However, they got their asses handed to them in the Congressional redistricting by overreaching.  

    At the end of the day, you still have to carry the toss up districts, which are few in number after the incumbents protect their seats.   Stop pretending they can only win those by accident or by cheating.  That's just silly.  

    Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

    by SpamNunn on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:26:31 PM PST

  •  And then there's the "gerrymandering" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    of the United States Senate.

    That one doesn't even meet the "one person, one vote" principle. Intentionally, of course, but still.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:45:42 PM PST

  •  All those who sat on their hands... (5+ / 0-)

    ...in 2010 to "teach the Democrats a lesson" (looking at YOU, Ed Schultz), taught them a lesson all right. Thanks for the utterly foreseeable consequences of "if you don't give me a pony RIGHT NOW I'll saw off this branch we're both sitting on!" I'm still pissed at every last one of those principled abstainers (especially as a newly minted citizen who has been trying to make up for lost time).

    You vote, you get the government you want. You don't vote, you get the government you deserve.

    Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?

    by UncleDavid on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:45:58 PM PST

  •  The differences between actual and equitable (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence

    distribution in the states in the first table would have yielded ~27 additional Dem seats in Congress. It's such a shame that the Tea Party wave happened just in time to affect redistricting...

    “Parties do not lead revolutions. They follow them. And then only when forced to.” Joe Bageant

    by tgypsy on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:55:50 PM PST

  •  this might lead to overreach (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, happymisanthropy

    which in turn could weaken what strongholds they have left

    It all turns on making them own what they do...

  •  Time to end gerrymandering on both sides (0+ / 0-)

    I am guessing that Democrats would come out ahead more times than not if districts were drawn based on geographic and political (cities, counties, etc.) boundaries.  In any case it would be generally better for our democracy and make the House more reflective of the diversity of the country if this practice ended.   It would be near impossible to get this changed by the state legislatures because they will work towards protecting their own seats and interests.  So the solution needs to be by voter initiatives where available.  A good place to start would be Michigan.  Spend effort there fixing  the gerrymandering and let the resulting legislature fix the right-to-work mess.  Otherwise we will spend all our time in these states trying to undo the laws passed by the GOP, only to have new ones replace them.  The root of the problem is the gerrymandering.  Fix that and the rest will fall into place.

    The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones! - John Maynard Keynes

    by Do Something on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:02:57 PM PST

  •  Tennessee (0+ / 0-)

    I've always said that Tennessee is one of those states that is not represented correctly. This proves me correct.

    Sigh, at least I live in one of those 2 seats...

    Born in TN-05 and Live in TN-05, Went to college in TN-09 and TN-06, Married in IA-02.

    by zakandsantos on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:24:42 PM PST

  •  We saw the result today in Lansing ... direct n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence
  •  Redistrict as soon as we have the chance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Do Something

    Republicans in Texas set the precedent that it's okay to redistrict two years after the last time redistricting took place.

    There are several state legislaturees in which democrats won majorities, and either have or won the governor's office.

    With how badly Republicans have gerrymandered where they could, and the precedent they've already set, we should take this opportunity to redistrict where we can, so we can build up our own "systemic" advantages.

    Maybe, just maybe, it would get the Republicans interested in nonpartisan redistricting going forward, if we demonstrated that we're willing and capable of playing by the same rules they do when it comes to that process.

  •  Majorities should increase. (0+ / 0-)

    If there were fair districting, the party getting the majority of the votes would get a greater majority of the seats.

    Just consider one-seat states. In those, obviously, the party getting a majority gets 100% of the seats.

  •  Move 5% of the White Male Republican vote (0+ / 0-)

    over to Democrats and none of this will matter.

    Learn to poach.

  •  We're screwed in OH; the Rs fixed it in 2000 & '10 (0+ / 0-)

    Too many people voted for the evil Rs in 2010; we didn't vote; now we are all screwed.

    All we can do is vote out the evil bastards in '14. They occupy everthing.

    (R's) take those tired memes and shove 'em, Denise Velez Oliver, 11/7/2012.

    by a2nite on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 03:09:29 PM PST

  •  2010, looks worse and worse (3+ / 0-)

    in the rear view mirror.  We knew we'd sustained a huge loss, but turns out "huge" doesn't cover the territory.  The GOP just suffered a huge loss in the presidential election.  What we Democrats suffer from our 2010 lost seems more catastrophic to me---a cabal of republican governors who are on target to strike a death blow to unions, and they're doing it, gerrymandered maps it will take us years to dig out of, maps that see to it that we lose, even when we win.

    I read this morning here that the right to work bill in Michigan includes an attachment that makes it illegal to repeal it!  If this is true, it means even with a friendlier legislature, the courts will have to be involved right up to the top, so it's a double duty fight.

    And all this being done in a lame duck session, by legislators just voted out.  And they're getting away with it, like they did in Wisconsin.

    This is ALL traceable to the Democrats poor showing at the polls in 2010.  God, I hope our party has finally learned something---the incredible importance of mid terms, and that we will NOT be doing  a repeat of 2010, no matter how pissed off we are.    

    "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

    by StellaRay on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 03:16:29 PM PST

    •  There's no "lesson" about the importance of (0+ / 0-)

      midterms.  The President's party always loses seats in midterms, and on average the losses are fairly big -- the exceptions being 1934 and 2002.

      •  We didn't just lose seats (0+ / 0-)

        we lost 12 governors and the house, and barely hung on to the senate. Time was turnovers like this were not as dangerous as they are with today's GOP.  Look at the work of the republican governors since 2010 and the most obstructionist congress in history.

        Democrats have a lousy turn out record in the mid terms and that has got to change if we want other things to change.

        "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

        by StellaRay on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 07:32:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Get redistricting commissions on the ballet (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy

    statewide initiatives where it's possible.

    -1.63/ -1.49 "Speaking truth to power" (with snark of course)!

    by dopper0189 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 03:47:00 PM PST

  •  Serious shenanigans in Alaska also. Legislature (0+ / 0-)

    is controlled by oil/gas/mineral/social conservatives.

    That being said, we do have some bright fresh faces in the House--Jonathon Kreiss-Tomkins from SE, and Harriet Drummond and Geran Tarr, from Anchorage.

    We got 'em on quality, anyway.

  •  and let's not forget (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, happymisanthropy

    how conservative Dems have just handed the state senates of both NY and WA back to the Repubs by caucusing with them.

    A third problem.

    There are some things that are unforgivable. Your willingness to play political games while people suffer and die is one of them--Onomastic

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:01:19 PM PST

  •  This is their firewall. It sucks. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    charliehall2

    But we  have to work on turnout and organization.  The Obama databse would help in 2014.  We shouldn't have to reinvent the wheel.

  •  Thanks for writing about this, Kos. (0+ / 0-)

    The MSM is, of course, being criminally negligent in covering this issue.

    All Republicans seem to be good at nowadays is cheating and lying.  It's disgusting.

    Tipped and recced.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:18:26 PM PST

  •  Silver, sliver of a lining? (0+ / 0-)

    If you gerrymander too far, you run the risk of toppling the whole thing.  In other words, Dems might narrowly win super-majorities someday if we can pull a few more percent.

    The symbol for the Republican party shouldn't be an elephant -- it should be a unicorn.

    by Deadicated Marxist on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:55:01 PM PST

  •  it can only get better (0+ / 0-)

    most of those states don't have supermajorities and a dem governor in 2018 should be able to destroy most of these maps.

    RRH expat (known as AquarianLeft). Also known as freepcrusher on leip atlas forum

    by demographicarmageddon on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 06:10:26 PM PST

  •  New York was a nonpartisan redistricting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, LtPowers

    First, the legislature is divided so no one party controlled the process. And since the parties couldn't agree on a redistricting plan for Congress (after drawing incumbent protection gerrymanders for themselves), the courts drew the congressional district lines, producing an unusually clean map with districts that aren't that all misshapen. You should move New York to the nonpartisan list.

  •  Another problem with districting (0+ / 0-)

    is that D voters tend to be concentrated in urban areas. Look at the political maps for NY, PA, OH, and IL for example. There is just no way you can reasonably spread all the D votes from NYC, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Chicago all over the state .

  •  Net -20 Seats (0+ / 0-)

    I just did some quick math based on the numbers above.  If the number of seats won by the Democrats equaled the President's share of the vote,  rounding down the number in each state, they would have gained 26 seats in that first bunch of states.  Using the same techniques for Republicans, they would have gotten 2 more seats in IL and 4 in NY.  That is a net of 20 seats lost, enough to make Nancy Pelosi speaker and to not even have to negotiate a fiscal compromise.

    "Unrestricted immigration is a dangerous thing -- look at what happened to the Iroquois." Garrison Keillor

    by Spider Stumbled on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 06:26:19 PM PST

  •  I sincerely wish... (0+ / 0-)

    I could print out this diary and stuff it down John Kass' throat...along with some charred beer can chicken.

    Chicago Tribune readers may know what I'm getting at.

    "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

    by Marjmar on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 06:28:02 PM PST

  •  Why Can't the Courts Fix This (0+ / 0-)

    There must be a constitutional argument against this ballant misrepresentation in the courts.

    PBO is doing a competent job, but he needs to be more liberal.

    by jimgilliamv2 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 06:33:25 PM PST

  •  I hate gerrymandering (0+ / 0-)

    the map here in MD is a joke

    PLEASE donate to a global children's PEACE project: Chalk 4 Peace

    by RumsfeldResign on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:09:05 PM PST

  •  I think an important point is missed in comparing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob

    Republican-gerrymandered states like Michigan and Pennsylvania to Democratic-controlled states like New York and Illinois.

    The real demonstration of gerrymandering's effect is shown in those states where one party won a majority (or nearly a majority) of the Congressional votes in the state, yet received a small minority of the Congressional seats. MI and PA are in this category, for certain. Gerrymandering is really about the only way to explain the discrepancy.

    In states where one party receives a significant majority of the Congressional vote and an even greater share of Congressional seats, statistics may be sufficient to explain the discrepancy.* If we assume, for example, that NY voted for Congressional candidates at about the same rate that they voted for Obama, then getting 77.8% of the Congressional seats with only 62.4% of the vote doesn't show gerrymandering. If anything, it shows the Democrats being very fair to the Republicans in NY.

    Consider the Electoral College. In 1984, a year of one of the biggest landslides in recent memory, Ronald Reagan received 58.8% of the vote to Walter Mondale's 40.6%. Yet Reagan was awarded 97.6% of the Electoral votes (525 to Mondale's 13.)

    Since it would be silly to suggest that the states were gerrymandered to achieve that result, I think we can conclude from this and other Presidential election results that a rising tide does lift all boats: A small increase in the winning candidate's popular vote share can lead to a large increase in that candidate's Electoral College share.

    In other words, Mondale's national popular vote share in 1984 was significantly larger than the Republicans received in the NY Congressional elections this year. Yet the Republicans received 22% of NY's Congressional seats to Mondale's paltry 2.4% of the Electoral votes. In fact, it's my guess that a random geographic allocation of NY's Congressional districts wouldn't have given NY's Republicans a greater share of the seats.


    *I'm not a statistician, so I can't back this argument up with numbers, but I'd bet that someone can.

    Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

    by Nowhere Man on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:27:48 PM PST

  •  North Carolina is wrong (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob

    I checked my figures again and think your chart is incorrect in terms of North Carolina.  We actually got 50.59 percent of the vote not 48 as your chart states.  Here is where I got the figures.

    http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/...

  •  a perfect job for an independent federal agency (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob

    to do national redistricting design: USGS or even better: NGIA since they'll know where we all are any way, whether its's via GPS in our phones or our cars

    yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:35:00 PM PST

  •  PA wants to change the EC allocation (0+ / 0-)

    to be by Congressional district.

    Perfect timing, now that gerrymandering gives them a 13 seat advantage.

  •  In NY, a judge drew the Congressional lines (0+ / 0-)

    They were pretty fair, yet four out of six 2010 teabagger freshman won.

    Turnout in off years is important, as the lack of Dem turnout in 2010, and its gerrymander effect, shows.

    Hopefully, national Dems now recognize that, and will go all out in 2014.

    A public option for health insurance is a national priority.

    by devtob on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:25:18 PM PST

  •  Interesting Kos, but this would be a LOT more... (0+ / 0-)

    useful and more valid as a study if you were actually looking at the votes that the House candidates got; NOT what Obama polled in each state. What Obama polled may be a fine proxy for that, but it also might not. And there might be some interesting variances by state.

    What did the actual votes for US House of Representatives tally out to by state and did they show the same discrepancies?

    "A liberal is a man or a woman or a child who looks forward to a better day, a more tranquil night, and a bright, infinite future." – Leonard Bernstein

    by frisco on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:31:19 PM PST

  •  thinking aloud (0+ / 0-)

    Are there legal/constitutional arguments to be made along the lines of taxation without representation?

    Gerrymandering effectively disenfranchises sizable segments of the population.  How can a state justify its taxation power when its representatives aren't representative?

  •  Michigan apathy (0+ / 0-)

    The issue of why Michigan retired auto workers voted against their own interest in 10 (or didn't bother to vote at all) and installed a totally GOP legislature is extremely complex, but the vast amount of money poured into the state by the Kochs has to be acknowledged. You have to believe that this fiasco is a "consolation prize" to the Kochs and Adelson for losing the election last month.

    And part of the blame has to go to the Democrats in Michigan, who refused to participate in the recall effort (allegedly because a deal had been cut to avoid the sort of legislation passed yesterday.) Michigan Democrats have not only been apathetic but inbred and uncreative in selecting candidates. It requires real creativity to get an Al Franken or Ashley Judd who can capture the imagination of low information voters.

    It also requires civics education. That's right below logical reasoning in the Tea Party curriculum. Knowing the state election right after the census is key requires a little book learnin'

  •  hmm, has kos heard of a split ticket? Rhetorical. (0+ / 0-)

    Generically in Ohio congressional house races, Republicans had a +250k advantage in 2012.

    So many Obama voters voted for a Rep congressman.

    Simple arithmetic.

    btw, I'm an Ohio liberal independent and voted a straight Dem ticket ...

    When you find yourself in the majority, it's time to pause and reflect! ~ Mark Twain

    by shiloh on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 10:10:14 AM PST

  •  Proportional Results (0+ / 0-)

    Some of this distortion isn't due to gerrymandering but is unavoidable because the states themselves distort things.

    I was curious what the "ideal" outcome if everyone were represented fairly would be, so I calculated the following:

    1) I took each state's population from the 2010 census and divided it by the number of districts in each state.  This tells me how many citizens each district ought to represent.  It ranges from 527,624 (each of Rhode Island's districts) to 994,416 (Montana's lone district).

    2) I multiplied this number by the proportion of votes each party and "other" got according to the New York Times (I assigned the party that "won" uncontested districts 100% of the district population. In races where the second-place candidate belonged to the same party as the winner, I lumped all the votes that the winner didn't get into the "other" category regardless of party").  This is the "population share" of each party in the districts.

    3) I added the population share up across all districts.  This eliminates all gerrymandering and state effects by collecting stray voters from various districts and lumping them together.  It also eliminates distortions caused by ineligible voters (too young, prisoners, non-citizens who responded to the census).  If anyone knows where I can find data on the number of citizens eligible to vote by district or state please let me know.

    The results:

    Democratic population share:  151,222,097 (48.9%)
    Republican population share:  146,763,859 (47.5%)
    "Other" population share:  11,197,506 (3.6%)

    That means that for a "fair" representation, we ought to have 212.75 Democrats, 206.5 Republicans, and 15.75 "Others" in the House.  That's 11.75 more Democrats, 27.5 fewer Republicans, and 15.75 more "Others" than we actually have.

    •  Caveats (0+ / 0-)

      Lumping those "Others" together is, of course, wrong.  Many of them were losers in incumbent vs. incumbent races in California.  Some of them were third parties.  Some of them were Mickey Mouse.

      Furthermore, if we had an actual system of proportional representation nationally, the campaigns would look so different that it almost certainly wouldn't come out like this at all.

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